Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Provology 101 - Provo Power

Provology 101, a series of classes that give a behind-the-scenes look at how Provo City runs, has given City departments the chance to show and tell about what they do for Provo. One of the participants, Anona Sobczak, has been sharing her experiences on Facebook and gave us permission to share them with you.

October 15, 2015

Tonight we met with the moneymaker of the city, Provo Power. While about 50% of property here is exempt from property taxes, (think LDS church & school buildings) everyone has to pay for power, so they rake in about 71 million each year. Out of this, 8 million goes right to the General Fund to pay for police, fire, etc. In comparison, the city brings in only 4 million from property taxes.
Sounds good to be the head of Provo Power, right? Until you have to sign a 4 million dollar power bill each month and set up camp in a decrepit RC Willey building. Yes, their old home is now a construction site, with the towers due to be imploded next spring. First scaffolding will go up and all the asbestos paint taken off so we don't all get lung cancer.

The generators in the power plant are diesel/natural gas, and they only run during peak times. Usually we get our power from hundreds of miles away and from hydroelectric sources, coal plants, and various other contracted sources. On June 29, 2015, Provo used the most power ever to date. Once the new efficient power generators are in, they will try to sell the old generators, probably to China. Fun fact: the current generators are old submarine generators.
Their new building sounds cool. It's going to look like the Rec Center, and there will be a nice trail from the Rec Center through their property to IHC. It will be LEED Gold certified, have solar panels, and info inside for the public, especially about solar power.
Provo Power takeaway: Call Blue Stakes (811) before you dig in the yard! They will come mark power lines for free within 48 hours. Many people nick conduits and slowly affect the power to their house. Don't cover your green transformer box. Call the city when your power is out, (311) especially if you heard a pop in the line. And remember, they are out there working hard in the worst weather and dangerous conditions. How dangerous? See the video!
Useful things for you to know: Provo City Power has a Facebook page with updates on power outages. Provopower.org also has outage info and a link to switchitprovo.com where you can find out about rebates and perks available to you for conserving energy. Since 2009 they've given away almost a million dollars to Provo residents. If you like to think of yourself as someone who cares about the environment, go to renewchoice.com and opt in to get some of your power from renewable energy sources. You can also try to use less energy between the hours of 5--7, the peak usage hours. The forestry department is run through them and will trim your trees if they are affecting your power lines.
Watch Pandora's Promise on YouTube if you are curious about the future of energy...

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