Western states ponder regional grid as renewables grow

As temperatures on the West Coast soared into the triple digits in early September, power demand threatened to reach record levels — and utilities braced for grid problems.

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) warned of potential blackouts. Idaho Power Co., already hobbled by a pair of generator outages, prepared to cut power to some customers in Boise. Utilities in the desert Southwest expected surging demand to strain their grids.

But no major blackouts occurred during the multiday heat wave. The Pacific Northwest sent much-needed power to California, which in turn was able to send electricity to Boise. And desert states didn’t see dire conditions, allowing them to send power to California.

Duane Banks set to retire

Russell Electric Utility Director Duane Banks has announced his intent to retire on December 1st, after a 32-year career with the City of Russell. Duane marked his 24th year with the Electric Utility this year.

Beloit seeks Power Plant Operator 1/Mechanic

Operator 1/Mechanic

The City of Beloit Power Plant, Beloit KS, is accepting applications for a Full Time Power Plant Operator I/Mechanic. This position works directly for the Power Plant Superintendent. Duties will include, but not limited to, providing necessary skills, knowledge and workmanship needed to do related work for proper equipment maintenance, city vehicle maintenance and the operation of the Power Plant electric generation. To make correct application and use of all materials and equipment furnished to provide efficient, reliable service to the consumer in the operation and maintenance of the Power Plant electric generation system.

Kiowa seeks Journeyman and Apprentice Lineman

Journeyman Lineman: Perform journey level work in the construction, maintenance, and
repair of overhead electric power, underground electric power, transmission, distribution, and
related facilities. High school diploma with an additional Four years of experience as an
apprentice lineman or any combination of relevant education and experience. Submit an
employment application or cover letter and resume to Sam Demel at cityadmin@kiowaks.org.

Will electric vehicles kill the gas station?

WELLINGTON, Colo. — In the farthest Denver suburbs, just off Interstate 25 stands a gas station called Kum & Go that doesn’t look like a battle zone. But it is.

One clue is in plain sight as you look around during the boring few minutes it takes to top off your tank. Plopped in the corner of the lot like an afterthought are four vertical red slabs.

They’re electric vehicle charging stations, capable of reviving an EV and its battery in about half an hour. It is no exaggeration to say they could be the most disruptive thing ever to confront that century-old fixture of the American roadside: the gas station. As more Americans drive their shiny new electric vehicles onto the highway and wonder where to go when the battery nears empty, charging stations are the agents of a revolutionary fill-up — not of gallons but kilowatts, not five-minute “stops” but half-hour “experiences” that could completely transform the tenor of the road trip.

Mike Shook receives Gilbert E. Hanson Award

Mike began his career in March 1985 performing maintenance at the Coffeyville municipal light & power plant. He progressed within the department serving in the roles of Utility Operator/Lab Technician, Assistant Shift Operator and Control Room Operator/Shift Supervisor. In March 2008, he briefly left to explore an opportunity with PPL Montana, LLC. He returned to the City in March 2009 and in January 2010, he was promoted to Superintendent of Electric Operations and promoted again in August 2011 to the Deputy Director of Electric Utilities.

On April 1, 2018, he was named as Director of the Electric Utilities while also being named Interim City Manager. He served the community in that role until a new city manager was hired in October 2018. Returning to his role as Director, he continues to improve operations and is a champion for municipally owned power and the advantages it has for local communities.  On April 16, 2020, Mike was named Director of Electric Services/Assistant City Manager.

Jonathan Mitchell receives Max Embree Award

Jonathan Mitchell receives Max Embree Award

Jonathan was born in Alaska and graduated from Junction City High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in public administration, both from Kansas State University. He has served as City Manager for the City since early 2009, having previously served as City Administrator in Ellsworth. During his tenure, he has helped the city navigate significant financial challenges, maintaining service levels while restructuring debt, aligning workforce, and growing the local economy.  He has played a key role in attracting new development, securing grants from agencies for key infrastructure and creating a capital improvement and municipal equipment plan. He also upgraded the city’s metering technology, created three community improvement districts, revamped the city webpage, and recodified local regulations.

Kent Pottorf awarded Dedicated Commitment to Service Award

Kent Pottorf awarded the Dedicated Commitment to Service Award

Kent worked in the cable communications industry in Holly, Colorado, before venturing to Garden City in 1979. He worked as an Electrical Department Serviceman, responsible for meter installation, reading, and calibrations. During that time, he enrolled in the apprentice lineman program with the city and completed all necessary instructional bookwork in eight months, which typically is a 48-month process. This eventually led him to be a Journeyman Lineman, Foreman, and Electrical Operations Manager overseeing all distribution, metering, SCADA, and generation systems.

Jessica Presler wins Ron Huxman Award

Jessica Presler wins Ron Huxman Award

This recipient was born and lived in California through most of her school years.  During her high school years, her family moved to Kansas to be near her grandmother.  After graduating from Concordia High School, she began pursuing her desire to become a dentist.  After several years of school, she decided starting a family was more important.  Jamestown was the beneficiary of that decision as she became the city clerk.

Earl Findley awarded the Mike Gilliland Award

Earl Findley officially started working for the city as a paid employee in March 2018 after working for the city as a contractor for over 40 years. His family started E.V. Cathodic Protection Service many years ago and he has worked on gas systems for most small communities in Kansas. His wealth of knowledge has been extremely beneficial to the city. He spent many years doing leak surveys, regulator reliefs and almost everything related to steel pipe. He is invested in public safety, manages gas trainings and certifications, and keeps necessary paperwork and mandated forms and manuals in order.