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New - November 21, 2017
Effective Immediately - Electrical Fee Changes The Benton City Council passed Ordinance No. 60 of 2017 Monday, November 13, 2017. This ordinance amended City of Benton Ordinance No. 26 or 2014 to allow the Benton Utilities Electric Department to charge people actual costs for electrical meter installation and connection fees prior to installation within their service area. Actual costs include expenses for materials, equipment use and labor. Once Benton Utilities receives payment, an account will be set up and work can proceed at the construction site. Benton Utilities will now allow electricians to plumb their own ditch for residential structures, but it must be inspected by electric dept. personnel prior to being backfilled. However, on commercial and industrial construction sites, the contractor is responsible for opening and closing the ditch, and Benton Utilities Electric Dept. personnel will be responsible for plumbing the ditch.
Benton Utilities Electric Department is dedicated to providing the most reliable service at the lowest possible cost to you, our customer.
The electric dept. continues to focus on excellent customer service. We have implemented progressive maintenance programs to focus on maintaining a properly functioning electric distribution system. These programs, which satisfy the requirements of the National Electric Safety Code, consist of regular inspections and appropriate replacements of key equipment, such as poles, capacitors, regulators, reclosers, underground cables, etc.
In 2010, we added a second “service” truck. This enables us to provide more efficient service to our customers. Having two full time crews dedicated to outage restoration, customer complaints and concerns, and new customer connects, increases our productivity two fold. The electric dept. performs regular equipment inspections and maintenance in order to provide reliable power at all times. In August of this year, Benton’s first City owned power substation went on line. This 3 million dollar project is a huge asset to our city and our citizens, it insures adequate power is available when and where needed. The new West Benton Substation is located at 1908 Dale Ave close to our utility service center.
Vegetation removal is a daily task at Benton Utilities Electric Dept., we continue to improve our vegetation management process in order to move away from reactive trimming and establish a system to trim each electrical distribution feeder actively based on its own unique trim cycle. This has improved our system and reduced the number of outages do to trees or other vegetation in the lines. We will be taking an even more proactive strategy in the future to reduce our exposure to trees by placing our residential feeders underground. This project is planned to begin Mid-March 2015 and and is still in progress. Trees, vines, and falling limbs are the largest contributor to power failures in our city. We currently employ West Tree Service for our right of way trimming. Benton Utilities spends in excess of $180,000 annually to combat vegetation growth in and around power lines.
The Benton Utilities Electric Department has a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA system) installed and implemented, this is a computer based automated control system that monitors and controls the current of electricity through lines. This system is still a very major asset in our daily operations. The monitoring and control of electrical devices in the field in which they relate to the system as a whole is a money and time saving feature, and it is totally computer based. Its signal is transmitted by a network of Fiber Optic cables installed and maintained by Benton Utilities personnel. Our Substation Technicians can remotely operate equipment in the field from the safety of their laptops.
Benton Utilities Electric Dept. has moved into the techno age my outfitting all our vehicles with internet accessible computers enabling us to access vital information needed to safely and efficiently perform our work while at work sites throughout our service area. This Dept. is actively building an outage management system with the use of smart meters and AUTO-CAD software. When complete, this program will be able to predict and isolate potential problems occurring on the power grid saving costly failures and power interruptions.
Like other utilities across the nation, the electric department’s reliability is adversely affected by vegetation, lightning and animal contacts. Despite these adverse conditions affecting reliability, we have made steady progress in recent years and will continue to strive to improve its reliability record. The best method to sustain reliability improvement is to approach it from the long-term perspective, maintaining reliability programs at a stable level, year after year.
Benton Utilities is dedicated to providing the most reliable energy, at the lowest possible cost to you, our customers.
Benton Utilities Electric Department Manager