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Front Page » July 20, 2010 » Emery County News » Commissioners hear Rocky Mountain power updates
Published 1,373 days ago

Commissioners hear Rocky Mountain power updates


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By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

Emery County Commissioners met in their July commission meeting. They heard a quarterly update from Rocky Mountain Power and PacifiCorp. Deb Dull said the company has been putting in a new substation in Green River. It is currently being energized and Green River residents have had to spend short periods of time without power while the transition takes place.

On July 4 there were high winds in Green River which took the power down and also an accident where a truck pulled down cables and poles. These outages were unplanned. The Emery County Sheriff's Office has participated with Green River by notifying residents of when the power outages will take place with the Code Red system. This new substation gives Green River the opportunity to grow their industries and add new industries due to the increased electrical capabilities now available in Green River.

Darrell Cunningham, plant manager for Huntington Plant gave an update on activities at the plant. He said they recently celebrated one year of no lost time injuries and accidents. They celebrated with a dinner.

Beginning Sept. 18 the Unit number one at Huntington Plant will be taken off line and will be down for approximately 61 days. In this period of time they will do a considerable amount of work including work to make the plant more environmentally friendly. A retrofit of the bag house will take place to increase the collection of particulate matter. Low nox burners will be added which will significantly lower emissions.

There will be a turbine upgrade where the rotor will be replaced. Significant improvements with the turbine will allow the plant to produce 17 more megawatts of power without increasing coal or water use. It will make the process more efficient. This is due to advances in turbine design. Large components will be replaced in the boiler as part of the overhaul project. The project is expected to take 61 days and the plant will come back up approximately Nov. 19.

This overhaul will bring in 700 workers at the peak of the outage. The plant is running well now. Cunningham said the Huntington Plant is always open for tours just contact him.

Loren Huntsman is the manager at Hunter Plant. He said the Deer Creek mine is down for maintenance where they will remove their entire long wall and have it rebuilt and reinstalled. It is a lot of work and most of the work is being completed by companies in the two county area.

Hunter Plant has gone two years without a lost time accident. In January or February they will hit a million man hours accident free. A lot of emphasis is placed on safety at the power plants.

Unit two will be taken down in February of 2011 where the bag house will get a retrofit. Many projects will be completed to make the plant more environmentally friendly. Low nox burners will be installed, a boiler will be replaced. The amount of coal burned will be lowered while maintaining production. There will be a turbine upgrade. "It's a fantastic project," said Huntsman. "We will be getting more megawatts out of the plant, but not burning more coal."

Huntsman said there are 225 employees at the Hunter Plant and they are down a few employees who they hope to replace. They expect 700 workers into the county with their overhaul next February as well. The power plants have been actively working with the local irrigation companies on the new sprinkling systems being installed in the county.

Commissioner Gary Kofford said the county appreciates the power plants. They appreciate their work on the sprinkling systems which saves water for both agricultural and industrial needs in the county. The water savings and increased efficiency has helped the farmers increase their yields and bring more fields into production.

Steve Barton said a lightning strike led to a power outage in Cleveland and Elmo on Sunday night and when he called the toll free number the information was there telling when the power would be on again.

The commissioner approved the 2009 audit report which gave the county a clean audit and complemented them on their fiscal management of county funds.

The commissioners opened the bids for scrap metal pick-up at the landfill. The high bid was $128.50 a ton from Sims Steel out of Salt Lake. All metal will be weighed on the land fill scales.

The county will request Rocky Mountain Power remove power from the old poles and reroute the power to the new food bank building. They are also requesting temporary power for construction. The food bank building is going out for bid. There is a site showing on July 26 at 10 a.m. Aug. 10 will be the bid opening in commission meeting and things will proceed from there.

The commission discussed the removal of the home from the airport property. The manufactured home is a 1980, three bedroom home. The home will be advertised for two weeks in the legal section of the paper. The bids must be in by Aug. 9 and opened on Aug. 10 in commission meeting. The home must be moved within 30 days after bid approval. If it isn't moved, then the money paid would revert back to the county. The minimum bid for the home is $5,000.

Commissioner Jeff Horrocks said it will be good to get the home moved because it's time to move forward with other portions of the airport project.

The county approved a proposal from the Department of Workforce Services for worksite learning. If Workforce Services has an individual they need placed for employment and the county has an opening, then Workforce Services will pay their wages. Another program pays a portion of the individual's wages. The agreement is good for one year. The county isn't obligated to pay the individual, but has the option. Commissioner Jeff Horrocks said it is a good program.

The county approved the contract for Val Payne for three months to continue work in the public lands department. Payne has been working with the Bureau of Land Management and the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining on the reclaiming of uranium mines in the San Rafael Swell area. The contract will extend from July 1-Sept. 30. The money for Payne's position wasn't budgeted and is coming from the capital improvements budget where some money was left over from a building which was torn down in Green River.

The county approved a new fee schedule for building permits. Some projects including roofs, basements, decks, garages, siding, reshingle, signs, poles, masonry and walls have been reduced.

Emery County is participating on the Horse Canyon rest area project. A turning lane, deceleration lane and acceleration lane will be added. The passing lane will tie onto the Lila Canyon road west of the rest area. Pit toilets and tables will be placed there and improved parking. The cost of the project is estimated to be $700,000. UDOT has asked Emery County to be involved in the annual maintenance of the rest area. The annual maintenance is $12,000 and Emery County has been asked for 25 percent of that and Carbon County 25 percent with UDOT picking up 50 percent.

Kofford explained it is a popular spot for pulling over and the upgrades to the spot will be well utilized. At the rest area interpretive panels will be installed advertising areas where tourists could visit. Long range plans include a museum at the spot highlighting Range Creek and surrounding areas.

Horrocks said the agreement for a commitment of funding to the rest area should be for five years only at this point. As long as Emery County is allowed to participate with kiosks promoting Emery County then the county will support the rest area with funding. UDOT will be responsible for the maintenance.

Carter Construction was approved for the remodel project at the Emery County Sheriff's Office metal building. The building will include office space, a training and work out room facility, and restrooms. The project will cost $198,000.

Carole Larsen from the Orangeville library has been appointed interim director for the Emery County libraries. RoxAnne Noyes will be the assistant director, they will continue their regular duties as head librarians in Orangeville and Castle Dale as well. The positions will be reevaluated at budget time.

Under commissioner reports, Pitchforth reported the commissioners attended the Utah Association of Counties summer conference which was very productive. The San Rafael Classic Triathlon was held at Huntington Lake state park on July 10. The fair and rodeo are coming up July 28-31 for the rodeo and Aug. 4-7 for the fair. The Castle Valley Pageant runs from July 28-31 and Aug. 3-7.

Horrocks said he met with Castle Country partners tourism board and they have concerns about drops in funding from the state. Some tourism is up in some areas and down in others. He attended meetings on the restaurant tax and two counties upstate want to see that tax removed. Horrocks said they are trying to educate those counties on why the restaurant tax is good and if removed then the revenues will have to be picked up by increased property taxes or lost services. The travel bureau has signed a contract with the radio in Price to provide radio advertising to let the Carbon county people know about the new Aquatics Center, museums and other attractions of Emery County.

Kofford noted the Crandall Canyon Marathon will be on July 31. The triathlon had 160 participants including 37 children. The stock show was held July 5-10 and was well attended. The new arena is very nice for showing the animals. The summer swim team has been to three swim meets going to Price, Richfield and holding a meet at the Emery County Aquatics Center. Swimming lessons are ongoing at the pool. The next commission meeting will be on July 27 at 9 a.m.

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