Electric Department - General Info
In 1947, the citizens of Beatrice voted to acquire the Consumers Public Power lines in the City of Beatrice. The Beatrice City Council appointed the Board of Public Works to consolidate both the Consumers and City owned systems and to operate and manage them as well.
After acquiring the Electric system in Beatrice from Consumers (presently NPPD) the Board of Public Works began by investing a considerable amount of money in upgrading the existing system. These upgrades included: increasing the system distribution voltage from the existing 2,400 volt delta system to 4,160 volt wye system to increase system capacity for future growth, plans for extension of the 34,500 volt transmission system to eventually a complete ring-bus system around the city and an extensive street light program to light the business and residential districts. The Board members were quite aggressive with plans to upgrade and improve the existing system to provide good quality service to the City of Beatrice.
The Electric Department has continually grown, since being acquired from Consumer Public Power and presently the Electric Department owns and maintains eleven substations, which step-down our 34,500 transmission voltage to a usable distribution voltage (either 4,160 or 12,500) for our customers. The Electric Department presently has 98 megawatts of available substation capacity from these eleven substation sites, of these 25 megawatts has been added in the last five years to provide for present as well as future growth. The Board owns and maintains 17.2 miles of Transmission line, which makes up the ring-bus system around the city and supplies power to each of our eleven substation sites.
The Distribution system, which was upgraded to a 4,160 volt wye system in 1954 still exists in some parts of the city. In the late 1970’s the Electric Department began a program to again increase the distribution voltage in some parts of the City to a 12,500 volt wye system. This change would provide for needed capacity due to growth, as well as greatly reduce the amount of line loss on the system. Line Loss is basically the percentage of the Citys’ total bill from our supplier, which is lost between the supplier and the user. The City of Beatrice presently has 2,118 distribution transformers in the system, with a total capacity of 244,122 kva and 194 miles of distribution line throughout the City.
In 1980, the Electric Department started a Load Management System and control the Citys’ load during high usage days, mainly during the summer months. Controllers were placed on central air units throughout the city on a totally volunteer basis and at certain hours of the day when the load was high we would begin turning these central air units off on a rotating basis for 14 minutes out of every hour to control our peak. This was accomplished by installing injectors on our transmission system, which inject a high frequency signal onto the power line, turning off a designated number of central air units. The Board of Public Works has saved a considerable amount of money since 1980 by controlling summer peaks and this system has been received very well by our customers.
The Electric Department also owns and maintains 15 of the 17 traffic signals located in the downtown business district and on the two main highways through town. These traffic signals are tested yearly for proper operation and timing. All of the traffic signals in the downtown area are interconnected with one master controller, which ensures that the timing sequences are maintained.
The Electric Department presently employs nine full time linemen, two electrical technicians, one employee in charge of purchasing, one electrical engineer and an Electric Superintendent. In 1998 a Journeyman Lineman program was started to provide the most up-to-date training available for our Line personnel. Yearly training is provided for all positions in an effort to provide the most up-to-date as well as the best possible service to our customers.