ST. MARYS – Midwest Electric is planning $5.6 million in investments in power reliability and electric operations in 2020.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the cooperative is not planning an electric rate increase this year, which would mark 10 years since its last rate change.
Primary components of the 2020 work plan include:
Continuing the multiyear installation of a supervisory control and data acquisition system, which will reduce the length of major outages by using automation to remotely and quickly transfer load (or “backfeed”) from one source to another. Currently, a main feeder outage could last three hours or more. After distribution automation, an outage could last 15 minutes. The goal is to eventually make this switching capability available system-wide to 17 substations and metering points. In 2020, the project will continue in Rockford, Jonestown and Spencerville areas, as well as Cridersville substation.
A budgeted 15 miles of single-phase line rebuilding in the Chickasaw, Kossuth, Lake and Noble substation and metering point areas and the budgeted rebuilding of 2.5 miles of transmission line connecting the Marathon and Macedon substations. These involve replacing old copper lines with higher-strength aluminum and replacing poles where needed.
Underground line rebuilds are budgeted in Meadowbrook subdivision (Cridersville), Beverly Hills subdivision (Wapakoneta) and Southmoor Shores subdivision (St. Marys).
Pole testing in the Chickasaw metering point area. All 33,000 of Midwest Electric’s poles are tested on a 10-year cycle for sturdiness and reliability. Typically, less than 1 percent fail the test, and those are replaced.
Tree trimming in the Noble, Jonestown, Rockford, Spencerville, Macedon, Sharpsburg, St. Henry, Coldwater and Chickasaw substation areas. Tree pruning is performed on a five-year cycle throughout the co-op’s 1,522 miles of power line. Trees and branches are a primary cause of power outages and blinking lights.
Buying new equipment, which includes a 50-foot digger derrick truck and 41-foot bucket truck, transformers, line reclosers, regulators and poles.
“Our engineering staff does an impressive job of planning for the future growth and power reliability needs of our members, and the operations crews are dedicated to restoring power safely and efficiently,” CEO Matt Berry said. “Best yet, we’ve been able to do this – and return millions in patronage cash back to our members – without raising electric rates for the past 10 years. Our last rate change was August 2010.”
Based in St. Marys, Midwest Electric is the not-for-profit, customer-owned electric cooperative serving 11,000 homes, farms and businesses in Allen, Auglaize, Mercer, Van Wert, Shelby, Putnam and Darke counties. To learn more, visit www.midwestrec.com.
For updates on construction throughout the year, follow Midwest Electric on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
For more information, call Midwest Electric’s office at 800-962-3830.