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Mayor’s Message

Seems Like Magic

While I continue to advocate for water conservation and wise water stewardship at all levels, power is also a product subject to natural resources that is often taken for granted, and maybe not always understood to the extent it should be.

In 1987 Washington City purchased our power utility from Utah Power to service properties in our municipal boundary north of the Virgin River. Those south of the Virgin River, and some properties near the Landfill, are serviced by Dixie Power. At the time our system was purchased peak load was only 3.7 Megawatts. Last summer the system peak load topped out at 51.6 Megawatts, with total load having grown by 13% each of the last 2 years. Despite this increase Washington City has been able to provide stable, reliable, and affordable power to those in our service area. The credit for this goes to the skilled employees in our Power Department, including our hardworking linemen.  

It seems like magic because there is more than meets the eye that goes into a power utility. Operations include a combination of power sources, transmission lines, and distribution networks that make it happen. So where does our power actually come from?

Washington is a member of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) where, by ownership or contract, much of our wholesale power resources originate. Sources include the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP), the Nebo Power Station, and the Horse Butte and Pleasant Valley wind projects.

The City has various contracts and purchasing options, and even owns and operates a 6 Megawatt Generation Facility. Future projects with signed agreements include Red Mesa and Steel Solar, both coming this year, and a percentage of ownership in a large-scale Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP), anticipated to come on board by 2030. Other potential projects include Enchant, a coal project with carbon capture, and waste heat recovery with the Muddy Creek Project.

To get power from these sources to end users Washington City Power operates and maintains 69 kV transmission lines, 6 distribution substations, and a 12.5kV Distribution System.

Challenges faced include the high growth rate of load demand, finding and keeping affordable wholesale resources, and upward pricing pressure due to retirement of coal and other plants in the West. Simply put, demand is increasing while generation capacity is not being replaced at the same rate it is being retired.

Be assured our Power Department is prepared for the future. In order for you to be prepared for the hot summer months when demand peaks, our power director suggests making sure your HVAC system is in good working order, replacing dirty air filters, using LED bulbs, and setting your thermostat to 76 degrees or more. Additionally he recommends avoiding the use of appliances for laundry and cooking between 4pm and 8pm, which are the peak demand times. Cooking outside on the grill is a great option in Summer.

More information can be found at WashingtonCity.org/power

           

-Kress Staheli

Mayor

kress@washingtoncity.org


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