Operational report shows McPherson BPU is still competitive

By Nick Gosnell
February 09, 2015

McPherson Board of Public Utilities General Manager Tim Maier went over the 2014 operational report at Monday's City Commission meeting.

Sales of electricity were up .28 percent to over 895 million kilowatt hours. Costs per kilowatt hour with capacity and transmission from Westar were up 5.88 percent, up to 4.14 cents per kilowatt hour. A lot of that was caused by transmission cost.

Maier said, "Transmission cost was up 24.6 percent, to $8.14 million. The capacity charge was up 4 percent."

The cost to pay the fuel bill didn't go up that much. It was 2.45 cents, up 1.2 percent.

Though the vast majority of McPherson's power is purchased from Westar, there was a lot more generation this year locally than McPherson would typically do.

Maier said, "We did run a lot more with the new integrated market. The Southwest Power Pool now dispatches all the generation in their region. The region is Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, part of Arkansas, part of Texas, kind of that whole region. The Southwest Power Pool now dispatches all of our machines. Everybody bids in their price and then they actually turn them on and turn them off."

Maier thinks the increased use of the equipment is actually a good thing for the BPU.

He said, "We ran a lot more last year than we had the previous years, about five times as much. We had about sixty starts on one of our machines. Again, big picture, none of them ran over 200 hours. So, it's not like they're running a lot, but we are running them quite a bit more than we used to."

The cost of electricity in McPherson has gone up, but it's gone up everywhere, and so McPherson still has great rates, relatively speaking.

Maier said, "Residential sales were up .7 percent, commercial up 2.3 percent and industrial up .1 percent. Our costs for 2014 on residential, 7.6 cents per kilowatt hour, If you actually look at that, in October 2014, for the State of Kansas, the average cost was 12.2 cents."

Commercial was 8.2 cents, with the Kansas average at 10.1 cents, industrial was at 5.1 cents, with the industrial Kansas average at 7.5.

Maier said, "We still do have very competitive rates, even though we've seen a change. Everybody else has seen the exact same change, just given the structure today."