New Orleans, La., June 19, 2018 —Merl Page, city manager for the City of Wamego, Kansas, received the Larry Hobart Seven Hats Award
at the American Public Power Association’s national conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. This award recognizes managers of small utilities serving fewer than 2,500 meters. These managers have a very small staff and must assume multiple roles. The seven hats they must wear are: planning and design, administration, public relations, field supervision, accounting, human resources, and community leadership. Since 1996 Merl has led planning and design of the electric, water, and wastewater systems as well as many community improvement projects. He is a hands-on manager and keeps a close eye on all city programs. Merl communicates regularly with local citizens and customers on a personal basis, plays an active role in publishing the Wamego city newsletter, and works to make the city’s website useful. He works with
department heads, the city clerk, and the city treasurer on the city budget each year.
He is treasurer for the Wamego Hospital Board and an ambassador for the Wamego
Chamber of Commerce.
Southern Star had an explosion earlier this morning on their pipeline. Scott Robertson, Hesston’s Utility Superintendent, said he was 2.5 miles from the explosion and it shook his truck.
Needless to say, KMGA is getting supply cut due to this event.
It appears that the government is preparing a plan to bailout coal and nuclear power plants at risk of closure. I won’t bore you with the details (you can read them by clicking on the link) but it is somewhat scary thinking about what could happen to the wholesale power markets if this happens. The organized markets and low gas prices have afforded most americans with very affordable electricity for the last several years. If the government moves forward with this bailout it will undoubtedly affect the energy markets and most likely in a negative way. This creates uncertainty that will not sit well with large scale commercial and industrial customers. I’ll be hanging on with all of you to see what happens.
KMU is offering a Distributed Generation (DG) Toolkit Workshop on June 27th.
KMGA continues with the effort of creating a state-wide Operator Qualification (OQ) program that can be adopted by all 53 municipals across Kansas who own their natural gas distribution system. Every operator of a natural gas system is required by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to have an OQ program. The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) audits the OQ programs annually.
KMGA, along with representatives from the Flint Hills Group, have organized 10+ meetings for the municipals to attend. The majority of the 53 Kansas municipals have been represented at these meetings and have contributed in creating a state-wide OQ Program.
During the months of April and May, the KCC hosted five workshops around the state of Kansas. KMGA attended each of these workshops and visited with the cities on “Pooling of Municipal Operator Qualifications”.
Through these efforts city personnel recognize the benefits of municipals working together to achieve the goal of a state-wide OQ program, as well as training together. One of the city superintendents attending the meetings made the comment, “This is the best thing in 20 years that has happened for operators of natural gas systems”. We will continue to host OQ meetings through the remainder of 2018.
David Rosenthal has been with KMEA for 8 years and is retiring at the end of this month. David holds the position of Senior System Operator in our 24 hour operations. We want to Congratulate David and wish him a Happy Retirement.
We thought we would work him a little and ask him some questions so we all could know him a little better before he leaves:
What are you most proud of in your career?
The advancement I have made since becoming NERC Certified back in 1998.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I grew up on a small farm near Humphrey, Nebraska. I applied for a job as a lineman at NPPD in the fall of 1973. I was hired and started working on January 2nd, 1974. I really enjoyed working as a lineman. But in 1984 when the opportunity to advance to the Control Center in Hastings, Nebraska came up, I applied and was accepted. I decided to become NERC Certified after several years. The Certification opened the door of opportunity. Thus I ended up in the KC area. It has been one of our best decisions.
Who is/was the most influential person in your life?
My first boss at NPPD, Line Foreman: Chris Marlatt.
What was your favorite movie growing up?
I didn’t really have a favorite movie at that time. We didn’t go to very many movies. If we did they were usually westerns.
What is your favorite part about working for KMEA?
The responsibility I have of doing the Day-Ahead scheduling.
With what I do on a daily basis I really enjoy seeing the end result. When I can put together the most economical mix of generation for the cities, and they can see the savings on paper, I feel I have done my job to the best of my ability.
What are your retirement plans?
Bev and I hope to travel more. We have put off trips for years. Our health is very good and we both do enjoy traveling. It will be nice to be able to just leave and not affect anyone.
We also plan on spending a lot more time with our family.
We have 2 acres and a pretty good sized garden. We both enjoy gardening.
We both enjoy MLB and plan on attending a lot of games.
Good Luck and you will be missed at KMEA!!
The KMEA Board of Directors will be meeting on May 2 and one of the agenda items will be an election to “opt-out” of Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) jurisdiction. Notice of this election was sent out on April 3. This notice and further information can be accessed with this link: NOTICE!
A January 9, 2018 KCC order ruled that the current state statutes dealing with municipal energy agencies (MEA Act) required full regulation by the KCC over the municipal energy agencies. Despite the fact that these statutes have been in place since the 1970’s, the KCC has rarely, if ever, exercised regulatory authority over KMEA. During the 2018 legislative session, KMU, KPP and KMEA staffs worked diligently to change the statutes to provide the same KCC regulatory oversight that is provided over the rural electric cooperatives.
The Kansas legislature eventually passed Substitute for Senate Bill 323 or “SB 323”. SB 323 became law on March 8, 2018 upon publication in the Kansas Register. SB 323 ended up as a comprehensive bill that addressed 3 areas regarding electric utilities: (1) KCC jurisdiction over municipal energy agencies (i.e., KMEA and KPP); (2) changes to the current electric service territory provisions; and (3) a fix for a dual regulation issue for the electric cooperatives.
On the KCC jurisdiction issue, SB 323 changed provisions of the existing MEA Act to provide a process for KMEA to opt out of full regulation by the KCC that mirrors the language for the electric cooperatives. If an MEA elects to opt out of regulation, KCC would still maintain some limited jurisdiction including service territory, transmission rates to 3rd parties, sales of power for resale to non-members, wire stringing and transmission line siting. The new law provides for a required election of the governing body (Board of Directors) and an affirmative vote of the majority the members voting.
Again, the election will take place during the Board of Directors meeting at 4:30 PM on May 2 during the KMU Conference in Wichita. Please plan to attend to participate in this important election!
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- KMEA Recognizes Anthony Electric ProjectAugust 17, 2018 - 12:02 pm
- Eudora begins Pole TestingJuly 23, 2018 - 1:47 pm
- Merl Page Receives National Award “Larry Hobart Seven Hats Award”June 25, 2018 - 8:26 am
- Southern Star Pipeline ExplosionJune 15, 2018 - 9:00 am
- Coal and Nuke Bailout?June 1, 2018 - 11:47 am
August 21, 2018KMGA Executive Committee MeetingKMU Training Center McPherson, KS
August 23, 2018EMP3 Meeting