Local News

Electric Department Continues Work on Upgrades

powerThe City of Russell Electric Department is very busy starting to put into place a few upgrades and updates to the city's power grid that were recently approved by the Russell City Council.

Electric Utilities Director Duane Banks says his department is currently in the bidding process to begin to purchase the parts to install a 34.5 kV power loop around the city, which will connect the two Sunflower Electric lines that feed Russell from the south and north, increasing system reliability. Banks says it's still not totally clear how long installation will take and how it will happen.

"We're hoping to be a little more aggressive than just saying it could be 18 months to two years," said Banks. "We're hoping to get a little more aggressive and at least do it in phases where we can activate part of it and just continue building towards completing the loop."

Banks said the loop, when complete, will increase power grid reliability and create redundancy within the system decreasing the possibility of power outages in the future.

Banks also recently commented on the progress his department is making in preparations to replace and repair city generators to bring them into compliance for a new EPA emissions standard titled RICE NESHAP that will go into effect next year.

"Right now, what the city is doing is putting out a request for proposals from engineering services to come in and actually look at the generation, look at new generation options, and give us a lot closer numbers to what the real cost would be to put in new generation or to convert the units to make them RICE NESHAP compliant," Banks said.

It has been the Council's stance that both repairing of some current city generators, but also complete replacement of some generation would be the best way to become compliant, increase efficiency and avoid paying too much.

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