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LE Content Manager 2
LE Content Manager 2
LE Content Manager 2's Blog

MUNI: Municipal Utility



Lakeland Electric is called a “municipal utility” (also known as a “muni”) and that means that, as a customer of Lakeland Electric, you are also an owner of the utility. As a municipal utility, Lakeland Electric measures our success by how much money stays within Lakeland through low rates and contributions to the city budget, unlike a private power utility whose money goes to stockholders across the country and around the world. A “muni” utility is owned by the city it serves. It exists to provide a public service to the citizens, businesses and industries of the community. Service, not profit, is the utility’s ultimate mission.

To show our pride for being a service minded Municipal Utility we have created oval car magnets that read, “MUNI”. These magnets will begin showing up around town, and we are so excited for them to hit the streets. Currently it is just our employees that have the magnets, but our goal is to spread the pride (and magnets) throughout the community.

Throughout the year we will be holding contests for you to win your very own “MUNI” car magnet. If you are interested in winning a magnet, all you have to do is find us at a local event and be able to recite what being a Municipal Utility means/is. Once you do that, the new magnet is yours! We would love to see the magnets all around town, and cannot wait to start giving them away.

If you would like a magnet today, or do not think you will be able to make it to one of the local events you can send you address to Kelly Kautz our Program Coordinator Kelly.Kautz@lakelandelectric.com. She will send out your personal “MUNI” magnet as soon as possible.

If you would like to learn more about us, here is a link to our 2015 Annual Report. Inside you can find a glimpse at our history, our overall mission and where we are headed in the future.


Osprey Protection


Osprey Protection

Where Every Osprey Counts

By Jessica Kurbatov, Lakeland Electric Intern

Lakeland Electric is committed to providing reliable service and sustaining a healthy ecosystem. Because of this commitment we have made continuous efforts for many years to protect the avian community.

Within Lakeland Electric’s service territory, early spring to early summer marks a period of Osprey mating season. With that activity comes nest building. Many times nests are built on top of electric distribution structures. Of all the Lakeland Electric customer outage causes in the fiscal year 2014, 39 percent were caused by animals, out of which Ospreys were 50 percent.

System Operations Engineer Stephen Perkins works on investigating outages, equipment failures, accidents, and improving reliability in areas such as animal protection. Over the years he has been investigating what can be done to protect the Ospreys as well as continuously improve the reliability program.

“Expanded efforts have been put into place in the last few years to monitor, respond and protect Ospreys and other large birds,” says Perkins. “Those efforts include the creation of an email group that is used to report Osprey activity. The recipients of these emails include an employee that tracks the activity, reliability crews that act as first responders, an employee to schedule the work, a line crew specifically assigned to mitigate the activity, and an operations engineer researching present and cutting edge protective devices for future use.”

Ospreys’ wings span from 59” to 71”, which makes them vulnerable to electrocution due to spacing of our 12,470 volt primary power lines, which are 28” between phases for horizontal crossarms and 36” for vertical. It is impractical from a cost standpoint to modify the existing power lines to have spacing wider than the wings of the Ospreys. A lower cost alternative is to protect the Osprey from making contact with an energized conductor or deter them from approaching the energized conductors completely. These two alternatives are what Lakeland Electric and many other utilities are doing. The process is tracked and completed following set guidelines.

“Our process is once we know of a location out there,” says Perkins, “not only do we go out and fix it but we continue to monitor for a few days after the protection is installed to make sure it is working.”

A variety of materials are incorporated for the protection process of Ospreys. A method that has been successful is a piece of PVC pipe that is fixed above a set of cross arms and is loose to rotate. When the Osprey lands on it, the PVC pipe moves and keeps the bird from perching.

Another method has been to drill holes in a PVC pipe where wire is put through, making it impossible for the Osprey to build a nest there. Plastic deterrents have been a safer alternative to use since wires tend to be conductive.

Alternative nesting sites have also been built to fit specifications. Metal dishes, which look like small satellite dishes, are put on top of an alternative structure with a pole nearby, encouraging the Osprey to move its location to the designated platform.

Lakeland Electric crews also know removing old nesting sites is the key in eliminating future hazards. Just tearing the nest down and leaving the sticks at the base of the poll will allow the Osprey to come back, pick the sticks up and put them on top of the poll. Therefore, our crews are instructed that an abandoned nest needs to be completely removed by precise guidelines that will cause an Osprey to have to rebuild a nest completely if it comes back.

Preventing the Osprey from creating problems in the electric system increases the reliability of Lakeland Electric and benefits our customers with working electricity. Assistant General Manager John McMurray oversees the vision of the project with increasing levels of awareness and efforts of avian protection.

“Lakeland Electric wants to protect wildlife from our electrical lines and equipment,” says McMurray. “We consider the reduction in outages a success due to the fact that we are making progress in protecting Ospreys from our lines thus reducing Osprey-caused outages.”

Since October 2014, Lakeland Electric experienced six Osprey-caused feeder outages during the first half of fiscal year 2015 and two during the first half of fiscal year 2016.

Wanting to get the number of outages the average customer receives to one or less, McMurray set a System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) goal of 1.27 for 2015. SAIFI is calculated with the number of customer interruptions divided by the total number of customers served. At the end of 2015, the actual SAIFI was 1.35. The SAIFI goal for 2016 remains at 1.27, and with efforts such as the Osprey Protection Program, the team is well on their way to meeting that goal.


McIntosh Unit 3 Power Plant



McIntosh 3 planned outage coming to an end.

 

· After a planned outage at the McIntosh Unit 3 power plant, Lakeland Electric and the City of Lakeland are happy to announce the plant will begin restart this week. Last month, Lakeland Electric Engineers determined some McIntosh Unit 3 Power Plant electrical equipment perform exactly as they should in a normal operating condition, but do not meet the rating requirements for some of the most extreme emergency electric events, such as power cable failure or severe motor failure.

· A three stage mitigation plan was put into place.

o Immediate Solution: The safety of the workers at the power plant was addressed by first making them aware of the concern as a group and then individually. A new Enhanced Electrical Safety Procedure was created, addressing the concerns related to the equipment. Employees that must work in the vicinity of the equipment were identified and those not required to work in these areas were restricted. Finally, the areas in question were signed with enhanced safety practices signage and areas around the underrated equipment will be cordoned off when performing scheduled maintenance.

o Intermediate Solution: Some of the circuit breakers were replaced due to the close proximity where plant operating personnel work and additional relays were added at a cost of $58,085.98.

o Permanent Solution: A consultant was hired at a cost of $280,000 to develop a long-term solution by Fall 2016.

·         This issue does not impact our customers’ safety and it is anticipated that the expenses will be covered by our normal, projected spending plans.