Electric Distribution Superintendent
The City of Pratt’s Electrical distribution department maintains and operates over 50 miles of distribution lines providing electrical power to 4200 meters in a service area reaching 5 miles north and 8 miles east of the city limits .
The distribution department has 11 employees. The training program used is four categories; each consisting of nine sections that require a pass rate of 80% or better and demonstrates competency of the job knowledge of that section. Each category generally requires one year of study and on the job training. All employees are expected to complete the training program, and at completion the employee receives a journeyman lineman certificate. This journeyman certificate is highly sought-after by large independently owned utilities.
The job of a lineman is a time honored profession. A special type of person is required to go out in the worst of weather conditions to restore much needed power to the citizens. It is the feeling of commitment to the community that makes the job and the hard, dangerous working conditions worthwhile and rewarding. An example of the importance of the distribution linemen is the tornados and Ice storms of the past.
The City of Pratt has been a member of the KMEA mutual aid program since its inception in 2002. Mutual aid is recognized by FEMA as an emergency response group allowing for the time and material consumed to be reimbursed to the City of Pratt from the State and Federal governments.
A rotational two man tree trimming crew keeps trees trimmed out of the main distribution feeders and main secondary feeders to help reduce power outages during storms.
Major improvements have been taking place in 2007 and the first half of 2008. Efficiency programs have been put in place to ensure that all of the power that is purchased by the production department is available to be provided to the cities customers. Metering losses are being studied and plans to eliminate these losses in metering are in process. This loss reduction will help to reduce the amount of money spent on power to as close as possible the amount returned by the cities customer base. Another loss recovery program project has been the installation of capacitor banks in some of the distribution circuits and at the substation areas. These capacitor banks will correct the hidden load component (created by any electric motor) of the energy delivered to the cities customers. With this correction, energy purchased from the transmission grid can be delivered to the city distribution system with as much as a 3% gain in quality (Power Factor) during the summer months when electric motor load (residential and commercial air conditioning) is the highest.
Protective relay upgrades in the west substation and 2.5 mile, 115KVolt transmission line will help ensure the consistency of the cities power reliability in the areas of storm surge protection and production generation protection from transmission line switch recloser (on Southern Pioneers Transmission system) as required by the distributed generation interconnect section of the Southern Pioneer/Pratt interconnection agreement.
The electrical distribution department is continually working to maintain and improve the reliability of the city’s electrical infrastructure as well as looking for ways to keep costs minimal. Providing safe, affordable and reliable power to our citizens is priority.
To learn about the production of electrical power in the City of Pratt, please click here.