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Water and Light commission notes reliability, low rates

WORTHINGTON -- A three-man Water & Light Commission went over reliability reports Monday, looking at both internal figures and those from eReliability Tracker, both of which found Worthington Public Utilities (WPU) has above-average reliability.

WORTHINGTON - A three-man Water & Light Commission went over reliability reports Monday, looking at both internal figures and those from eReliability Tracker, both of which found Worthington Public Utilities (WPU) has above-average reliability.

 

The important metrics are System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) and Customer Average Interruption Duration Index (CAIDI).

 

SAIDI measures the minutes of outage experienced by the average customer during a one-year period. SAIFI measures the number of times during a one-year period that service to the average customer is interrupted, and CAIDI measures the length of the average outage.

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The SAIDI was measured at 17.209, according to eReliability. That’s significantly better than the average for public utilities within the Midwest region, 88.3391 minutes.

 

The SAIFI was measured at 0.4277, beating the Midwest average of 0.7961, and the CAIDI was 40.2373, beating the Midwest average of 153.2071.

 

The SAIDI, SAIFI and CAIDI internal estimates were much lower and come in at 6.012, 0.245 and 24.521, respectively.

 

A SAIFI of 0.245 means loss of power about once every four years, according to WPU General Manager Scott Hain.

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Worthington had one incident of lost transmission service in 2016, when extreme cold caused a static wire to snap five miles north of the city. Power was restored via the crosstown transmission tie line in 60 minutes.

 

Another topic of discussion for the commission Monday were WPU rates.

 

During their last meeting, commissioners read a study from Owatonna Public Utilities that found Worthington had the second lowest commercial and industrial rates and second-lowest residential rates of 14 local energy providers.

 

Commission members weren’t shy to celebrate the utility’s high rankings in recent studies.

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“The survey proved we have a pretty reasonably priced system,” said commissioner Aaron Hagen. “So the headline here is, ‘Reasonably priced, highly efficient, highly reliable.’”

 

In an unrelated discussion, Hain gave an update on the standalone bill that would free up unused state funds to complete the Lewis & Clark connection to Worthington.

 

On March 7, Hain testified in a House hearing on the bill. On March 9, the bill had its language amended to also authorize a total of $110,000 in housing infrastructure bonds.

 

“I didn’t have a problem with getting that attached because it puts some other allies in our corner and it has more of a statewide impact as well,” Hain said.

 

The bill is currently sitting in the House and Senate capital investment committees, through no hearings have been scheduled. Now, Hain and the commissioners just have to wait.

 

“We’ve done all we can,” said commissioner James Elsing.

 

The commission wrapped up by honoring commissioner Elsing as he finished his final meeting.

 

“It’s time,” Elsing said with a smile.

 

Elsing came on to the commission in April 2001 as the city council representative and served until the end of 2004. He returned to the commission as an appointee in April 2008.

 

In total, Elsing served on the commission for more than 12 years. He will be replaced by Deb Weg March 31.

 

“I can certainly say from a management standpoint, I have very much appreciated your participation and your thinking,” Hain said.

 

In other news, the commission:

 

  • Scheduled its strategic planning sessions tentatively for April 25, with April 26 the backup, and May 9, with May 8 as the backup.

 

  • Announced the 52nd annual meeting of Missouri River Energy Services is scheduled for May 10-11 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.
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