Special Edition: Power & Winter Weather

an urgent request to conserve power, trash collection changes, and more

Will Baldwin lose power like everyone else? If so, for how long? And when?

Short answer: Hopefully not at all.

The Baldwin City power plant has been online since 5am this morning, February 15th. It is currently carrying the bulk of the city power load with minimal power generation from coming from outside the city. It is possible that a few Baldwin City customers will see short outages (less than 30 minutes) this afternoon or into the evening, but we do not anticipate the widespread outages power consumers across Kansas are facing. 

We are capable of generating enough power to supply the entire city from our generators at the new power plant plus the old plant downtown. Although we do typically purchase power from the Kansas Municipal Energy Association power pool because it’s cheaper and more efficient, the ability to support our energy needs independent of the energy grid is part of why we maintain a power plant.

If the power pool curtails our power supply, we may need to ramp up our production very quickly to fill the gap. The city’s engines run on diesel and take about 30-45 minutes to get started. Although we’re currently carrying 5/6 of the load, the last 1/6 might take a bit to get online. As a result, a small percentage of our customers may see a brief outage.

Note that City staff is working with Douglas County Emergency Management and Kansas Municipal Energy Association, and we will do everything we can to keep our customers from losing power. Our power plant exists to be used in an emergency like this, and it is functioning exactly as it should. The engines run on diesel which allows us to avoid the natural gas crisis occurring on a regional level to some degree.

Speaking of the natural gas crisis, it is still urgent to conserve as much natural gas as possible. The natural gas shortage is what’s causing the current electric energy crisis. Read more about the stress on utility and natural gas providers in the Disaster Emergency Declaration from the Governor.

So basically, turn the thermostat down a bit, put off the chores for a couple days, snuggle in a pile of blankets, and read. Use Hoopla for free with your library card!

Trash Talk

Trash collection is wonky this week due to the weather. There was no pickup today, and tomorrow is not a scheduled pick up day. Ottawa Sanitation will try to make up time on Wednesday.

Here’s what to do if the power goes out for more than 30 minutes:

1. Call the main Public Works phone number to report any issues for any city-owned utilities (electric, water, sewer): 785-594-6907. After hours, listen to the menu options and press * for the answering service.

2. If you have already called, or if the problem is not urgent, you may fill out this form. This option will send your information via email.

3. The City is not responsible for any information you share into local Facebook groups, nor is messaging us on Facebook an efficient way to get service. Please use the phone number as a first line of contact.