Kenyon Upgrades its Relays

Alex Martin and Vignesh Subramanian helped Kenyon Municipal Utilities (KMU) in its drive to digitize their electric system. In 2019, KMU replaced five substation relays at a cost of about $50,000.

“Relays function as circuit breakers to protect electrical equipment,” Alex explained. “The new relays we installed give Kenyon, and us, greater ability to monitor the performance of the network.”

“The existing relays were about 25 years old,” said Electric Superintendent Randy Eggert. “They were mechanical and approaching the end of their useful lives. It was getting harder and harder to find replacement parts. We don’t believe in running equipment until it fails. It’s better to replace aging equipment proactively to prevent failure.”

CMPAS engineered and supervised the installation of the new relays, set the relays, and connected them to Kenyon’s SCADA system. The SCADA connection allows KMU and CMPAS to analyze information from feeders, transformers, and overhead and underground distribution lines to monitor the network better. These engineering services are part of the member services provided by CMPAS.

“Sometimes, we need expert assistance that supplements our utility’s available resources,” Randy said. “That’s when we really appreciate being able to call on Vignesh and Alex, and other CMPAS staff. That’s a really important benefit to being a member of CMPAS.”

When KMU’s NSP contracts started to expire in the early 1990s, the utility joined CMPAS. Randy joined the CMPAS Board of Directors in 2000 when he was promoted to electric superintendent. He’s CMPAS’ longest-serving board member.

“Having CMPAS present its members with customized resource portfolio recommendations and then scheduling our power deliveries are huge benefits for a small city like Kenyon,” Randy said. “Kenyon’s electric department consists of four employees. If we didn’t have CMPAS handling those critical tasks, we’d have to hire someone to do it.”

“We also really like having options, which we didn’t have when we were a full-requirements customer of NSP. I like to go to my board with options, and they appreciate that too. CMPAS has never said, ‘You have to do this.’”

Randy is excited about the changes he saw take shape at CMPAS in 2019. “We’re having much better discussions at the board level about strategic issues driving change,” he commented. “Those expanded discussions have led to closer personal ties among board members, and that’s a good thing.”

“When you have a great staff, as CMPAS does, that frees the board to do what it is supposed to do — understand the drivers of change in the industry and make sure the agency and its members are well-positioned and well-protected.”

Randy said the agency’s new mission, vision, and values have led to improved member service. “CMPAS is always in the market looking for new ways to help its members,” he said.