Kansas Community Switches Power Suppliers, Yielding $3.8 Million Savings

Garden City, Kansas, decided to drop Wheatland Electric Cooperative as its power supplier. When the Cooperative warned Garden City in 2012 of an upcoming six-year, six percent price increase, Garden City shopped around.

According to a report from Public Power Daily, Garden City had bought wholesale power from Wheatland for 30 years. But with a new supplier in 2014, the city cut its average $25 million annual power supply by $3.8 million.

Garden City chose Kansas Municipal Energy Agency, which is a joint action agency. The agency facilitates power marketing deals for its 78 members. For example, Public Power Daily reported that the agency may purchase capacity and energy from local utilities on the spot market and then resell to cities. It also packages and sells the combined excess capacity from several cities.

The deal is flexible and not all-requirements. Garden City is free to shop elsewhere as well and may find power on its own and then bring the deal to KMEA to facilitate. The city then pays KMEA an administrative fee for the work.

KMEA also financed Garden City’s new, 27-MW Jameson Energy Center, which is comprises three, 9-MW natural gas-fired peakers.

"Garden City did not have any backup generation. Now, in the event of a major winter storm or ice condition, the three units have enough capacity to back up the entire community. We could supply the town full power in the winter months. In the summer months, we could not do all of the town, but certainly a portion of it," Mike Muirhead, public utilities director, told Public Power Daily.

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