Electric Production is one of five departments within the Public Utilities. Under the general management
and direction of the Assistant City Manager for Utilities and Information Technology, the Electric
Production Supervisor and staff of eight, work together to provide low cost electric power to approximately
The City is a member and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Power Pool (KPP). All
energy purchases are through the KPP. The purpose is to attain the economies of scale in obtaining
transmission service under the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) tariffs. KPP has been successful in
intervening at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and challenging the terms and conditions
offered by SPP for transmission service.
Wellington operates and maintains approximately 44 megawatts of generation facilities. The facilities
include a 20 MW steam plant, a 20 MW gas turbine plant, and two diesel generators of 2 MW each.
Through KPP the City receives an annual capacity payment for the facilities. Most importantly the
facilities insure 100% back-up in the event of transmission failure.
Staff strives to stay current on both operation and maintenance techniques. Much of this training is
offered through the Kansas Municipal Utilities (KMU). The Electric Production Supervisor serves on the
power plant operator’s committee.
The staff also strategically manages fuel and energy purchases to minimize costs. This includes
stockpiling fuel oil when pricing warrants doing so. Natural gas purchases are on a take or pay basis in
the volume ordered. The operators therefore schedule timely natural gas purchases in quantities as
close as possible to actual generating needs. Operators schedule generator with the SPP in accordance
with the Day-Ahead-Market.
With an operations budget of nearly $10 million, the Electric Production Department strives to provide a
reliable, robust, and safe service to the community.
In 1903, the first Wellington municipal power plant was established on Slate Creek. It was purportedly
used to power the new electric streetlights in the downtown area. The power plant crew would go to the
site in the evening, fire up the boiler and generator, and as the boiler warmed around 11:00 p.m. the lights
would dim and go out. As local merchants began selling electric washing machines, the power plant
started operating on Mondays, so the Wellington housewives could operate them. Soon, Tuesdays
became “ironing day”, as local retailers started selling the new electric irons. Eventually, the plant was
operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year round. The power plant was later moved from its Slate
Creek location to its current location.