Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Power Commission updated on new power provider

 

November 29, 2018



Plans to switch over to a new power provider were discussed at the meeting of the Moose Lake Power Commission on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Jessica Darling of AEP, the company that will be supplying power to the Moose Lake Power service area beginning Jan. 1, and Mike Kumm, consultant, met with the commissioners to explain the process.

“AEP is the largest municipal power provider in the United States,” said Darling. “If you want to provide power generated by wind, solar or hydro, we can help you with those resources.”

A new generator has been installed in the power plant at Moose Lake Power, and, added to the other generators, it brings the capacity to generate electricity to 8 megawatts.

“You are in an amazing position with your generating capacity,” Darling added. “The energy rate is where you’ll see significant savings. You call also sell generated capacity on the market.”

“You can support your own system,” added Kumm. “Because you own your own system, you don’t have to go out and buy power. Your wholesale costs should be lower.”

Darling told the commissioners that AEP has been working on the change of providers which will take place on Jan. 1.

“We have been working on it since June,” she said. “There will be no paperwork on Jan. 1. You are locked into one rate. When the system peaks, it would be possible your generator can kick in to offset the peak depending on economics. Your transmission costs have not been determined for 2019."

Commissioner Curt Yort asked if there would be any noticeable change once AEP starts to provide power to the power company’s service area on Jan. 1, such as a blink in power.

“You won’t notice any difference,” Darling replied.

The power has been provided by Great River Energy, and an Interconnect Agreement that is in place needs to be updated, Kumm told the commissioners. The GRE transmission lines in place will be used to bring power from AEP.

“You have had an agreement since 1994,” said Kumm. “A few things have changed. Dennis Bethel, a consultant on this, has been hired to find the needed changes.”

Harlan Schmeling added that the policy of the commission is to spend up to $10,000 without board approval. He added that if the cost charged by Bethel is above that amount, it will be brought to the commission for approval.

“I’m looking forward this happening,” said Yort. “We have been working on this for a long time.”

The new metering system was discussed.

The meters have been ordered but antennas to collect and send the signals sent by the meters to the power plant need to be installed.

The commissioners discussed a fast charger for charging electric vehicles.

Schmeling presented a proposal from ZEF systems for a 50 kw Level 3 Fast Charger and an option for a Level 2 Smart Charger. ZEF is the company that provided the fast charger at Doc’s near Sturgeon Lake, he added.

The total cost for the Level 3 Fast Charger was $63,879, and the cost of the Level 2 Smart Charger was $18,258. Each would be able to charge two vehicles at a time, according to the information on the proposal. The estimated costs would include installation.

The commissioners are considering two sites for the chargers, the lot between East West Realty and the municipal liquor store, and in a parking area for the Munger trail behind Art’s Café.

Consensus was to research the municipal parking lot.

There was also discussion about a website for Moose Lake Power.

Katie Bloom, the assistant city clerk, who was present at the meeting, suggested that the Moose Lake Power could have a page on the city’s website.

“We are planning on redoing the city’s website,” she said. “I can add a page for Moose Lake Power. I can give the power company staff access to their page,”

Commissioner Keith Carlson pointed out that combing the power company’s page with the city’s website would reduce duplication of that service.

The proposal was approved.

In other business, the commissioners approved the 2019 budget.

The next meeting of the Moose Lake Power commission will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. at the power plant.

 

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