Hourieh Accepts Superintendent Position at LUB, Recaps Latest Storm Damage

Lamar LIght and Power Plant

The agenda for the June 12, 2012 Lamar Utility Board meeting was pushed back to the next regularly scheduled meeting, June 26. There weren’t sufficient board members available to form a quorum and no action could be taken on the agenda, although there was an informal discussion on some subjects that did not require a board vote. It was noted that during the last executive session conducted by the board, members offered interim Light Plant Superintendent Houssin Hourieh the position full time, which was accepted. A formal press release from the Light Plant will be issued in the near future.

Power was restored to most of the storm-affected areas of Lamar in less than five hours on Saturday, June 2, according to Hourieh. He told the utility board members the high winds hit the plant’s main feeder on Savage Avenue which killed power to most of the southern section of Lamar. One portion of the city, running east and west between 6th and 10th Streets and north and south from Savage Avenue to the south side of the Fort Bent Canal, was without power for close to 18 hours. Approximately 60 customers were the last to have power restored as crews replaced six, fifty foot double circuit poles with steel poles. A small section of Wiley and McClave was without power because of three downed poles. Estimated cost of damage to equipment and materials was $30,000 which is being submitted to the city insurance company.

The board was presented with a 2011 financial audit report prepared for ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority, by CPA Ron Farmer. Operating revenue from sales for 2011 increased 13% over 2010 at $35,365,000. Purchased power costs were up 5.5% at approximately $21,500,000 for the year. Expenses for the Repowering Project were offered to the board, including legal fees of $270,000 for lawsuits in 2011 which exceeded the annual budget, and while employee layoffs brought some savings in salaries and employee costs, capital outlay costs for the project exceeded the budget by approximately $350,000. A positive net asset of approximately $2.4 million was realized in 2011, however, ARPA saw a decrease in cash and cash equivalents of $1,389,000 for the year.

As the Repowering Project has not used any coal in over a year, ARPA leased the coal train cars to Western Fuel for about six weeks. The rail car lease expires in September, 2012 and ARPA plans to rent cars during the months the boiler will be tested. On a similar note, ARPA has hired JK Energy Consulting from Lincoln, NE to prepare a Request for Proposal for long-term power supply negotiations. This agreement will not interfere with the three year agreement for power supply sources that was developed at the beginning of 2012 with Tri State Generation and Transmission.

Lamar Light Plant financial figures for March 2012 show that when compared to 2011, Year-to-Date, retail sale revenues are up approximately $312,636 or 10%, comparing 2012 to 2011. At the same time, overall operating expenses are down 9% resulting in a net income of $610,773 for the year.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEmploymentEnergyLamarPublic SafetyUtilities


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