The City of Kiowa Electric Department has 2 full-time employees with a combined 40 years of experience. Their primary responsibilities include maintenance, installation and repair of the electrical distribution system, as well as the City’s substation.
Electricity is purchased from Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC) through an energy group, the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency (KMEA) for the sole purpose of providing electricity to the community. The rates charged for this service are intended to be set at a level that will allow for the city to recoup expenses of operating the local utility and to maintain and improve the distribution system.
The electric distribution grid contains 5 circuits, 2 of the circuits provide 14,400/24,900 (“14-4”) primary voltage and 3 circuits provide 24,000 (“4160”) primary voltage. See “2016-2019 Electric Grid Upgrades” below to learn more about the City’s electric projects.
KMEA was formed under Kansas law as a quasi-municipal corporation established as a nonprofit joint action agency made up of electric municipalities. Today, KMEA has more than 70-member cities across the state of Kansas. A city that joins KMEA becomes an owner as well as a member. The City of Kiowa became a member of KMEA in October 2015.
KMEA actively seeks and secures power supply arrangements for member cities’ short-term and long-term needs. With the joint action approach, KMEA members expect to benefit from a larger market presence and from a broader range of supply options from which the cities can choose. The City of Kiowa became a member of KMEA’s Energy Management Project #3 (EMP3). Through electricity supplied by KMEA under the EMP3 project in combination with the City’s owned generation, the City has a reliable and economic source of electricity.
Outages and Emergencies:
Currently the City owns and operates two 2000 Kw generators capable of producing 3500 Kw (3.5 Megawatts). In the event of a power outage, the generators are turned on and the electric grid is disconnected from the transmission line. City Staff then coordinates with the Electric Department crew and WFEC to restore power as quickly as possible.
2016 – 2019 Electric Grid Upgrades:
Beginning in February 2016, the City has embarked on a 3 Phase plan to overhaul the entire electric distribution grid. Each phase will run concurrently until completion.
PHASE 1: The Electric Department has begun converting each of the 5 circuits currently at 4160 primary voltage to 14-400. This will reduce line loss and provide customers with a steadier current. In addition, every 4160 transformer will be removed and replaced with a new non-PCB 14-400 transformer. Upon completion of Phase 1, the City will have replaced nearly 1,100 electric poles, 450 transformers, and will be certified as a PCB-free distribution system. As of June 2018, conversion of Circuits 3, 4, & 5 have been completed.
PHASE 2: To reduce electric waste and become more “green,” the Electric Department has been replacing the high-pressure sodium street lights with energy efficient LED lights. As of June 2018, Phase 2 is approximately 90% complete.
PHASE 3: To improve the power supply during an emergency outage, the City purchased a second 2000 Kw generator. With this purchase, the City will have the ability to produce 3500 Kw of generation. In addition, a control room with an upgraded switchgear will be installed. Phase 3 was completed on August 1, 2017.