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PCUA History


The Great "White Way"

The citizens of Ponca City voted to approve $30,000.00 in bonds for the construction of a municipal light and power plant to meet the community's demand for electric service, in 1912. That same year the Ponca City Courier stated, "Ponca City will soon have a "White Way" the same as Kansas City, Mo." Soon after, thirty-two ornamental iron posts were distributed along the sidewalks of Grand Avenue, from the Santa Fe railroad tracks to Fourth Street, and construction began just north of the Calkins Store, on Cleveland Avenue for a new electric light plant. The 66x36 ft. building had an 18-foot ceiling and contained two small steam boilers and engines. The City of Ponca City began serving the citizens of Ponca City in 1914. As the City grew and business increased, the voters approved more bonds to add new equipment and enlarge the building. The first Nordberg diesel engine was purchased in 1923.

  Diesel Power

The City sold its remaining steam equipment and built a modern all-diesel engine power plant on North Union in 1927. This was paid for with the voters approval to issue $300,000 in bonds. The building is 130 ft. 8 in. long, 85 ft. wide, 59 ft. high, and contains a full 12 ft. basement. This fireproof building is made of concrete, pressed brick and steel. Foundations for the engines were isolated from the building, to eliminate the transmission of vibration when the engines operate. To muffle the noise caused by air intakes, large air suction chambers were constructed within the engine foundations and the air filters were located outside of the building. Also located outside of the building are the fuel storage tanks used to supply the engines with diesel fuel. Gas-fired boilers are used for heating the fuel oil and gas-fired radiators are used to heat the building. The switchboard is centrally located on the south side of the engine room near the generators.

This plant contains the largest group of Nordberg diesel engines in the world. Nordberg ended diesel engine production in the mid-1960's. The building houses 10 generating engines, of which the No. 3 and No. 2 engines, from the Cleveland Avenue Plant, and the No. 5 engine no longer operate. In September of 1995, the No. 11 engine was donated to "Friend Ships" by the Ponca City Board of Commissioners and is being used to help power one of their ships. "Friend Ships" is a nonprofit corporation that operates a fleet of vessels staffed entirely with full-time, 100% unpaid volunteers. Surplus commodities, volunteers and ships are used as tools to make it possible to collect, transport and disperse humanitarian aid on a massive scale and to provide life support services to nations in a cost-effective manner.

Steam Power

In 1995, OMPA constructed a 40 MW combustion turbine, a General Electric LM-6000 and a Heat Recovery Steam Generator, to repower the number one generator whose boiler was near the end of its economic life. Currently all generation assets owned by Ponca City Utility Authority (PCUA) are leased to and operated by Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA).

Repowering Project

Hydro Power

Ponca City Utility Authority

The City of Ponca City's electric utility is leased to and operated by the Ponca City Utility Authority (PCUA) pursuant to a lease agreement dated June 1, 1984. The Ponca City Utility Authority promotes the acquisition, construction, and operation of various utility facilities, services and public improvements in and for the City, receives revenues derived from the existence and operation of the utility systems (electric, water, sanitary sewer, and solid waste), receives funds and the investment income earned, pays the debt service requirements on debt issued by the PCUA, pays operation and maintenance expenses and finances future system improvements.

The Trustees of the PCUA are the same persons who serve as the current Ponca City Board of Commissioners. Because Ponca City's public power system is owned by and is accountable to the people it serves, every citizen is a utility owner with access to information and a say in policies affecting their public power community. Through public meetings and at the ballot box, consumers have a direct voice in expressing their opinions about their utilities and the community's goals and priorities.

Ponca City has its own distinctive characteristics (natural resources, geography, climate, economic, social opportunities and challenges, diversity of citizenry and community spirit). These local characteristics must be taken into account when decisions are made about electric rates and services, generating fuels, clean air and water, and other issues that affect the entire community

The construction of Kaw Lake and Dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of October 24, 1962. Ground breaking ceremonies for Kaw Lake and Dam were held on May 21, 1966 and the project was dedicated on May 22, 1976.

Kaw Lake and Dam are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake's surface area is approximately 38,000 acres at the top of the flood control pool. The top of the flood control pool is 1,044.5 feet, while the normal operating level is 1,010 feet. Kaw Dam is 9,466 feet long and 121 feet above the stream bed, 654 miles above the mouth of the Arkansas River.

The total cost of Kaw Lake and Dam was $111 million, including the construction of a foundation for a power house, tailrace guard and penstock in the dam. The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority purchased the substructure from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for $3.8 million in July of 1987. Construction began on August 29, 1987 and was completed in September 1989. The hydroelectric plant was declared commercial on September 26, 1989.

Operation of the Kaw Hydroelectric Plant is monitored via the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system at the OMPA office in Edmond, Oklahoma with the Ponca City Utility Authority used as back-up during off hours. Operating as a run of river facility with daily ponding, Kaw Hydroelectric generates approximately 104 gigawatt hours of energy for the OMPA power supply system on an annual basis. The generator is nominally rated at 25.6 megawatts at 76 feet of gross head with a maximum rating of 36.7 MVA. The plant was constructed at a total cost of approximately $25 million.

Construction of the Ponca City Repowering Project was essentially completed in October of 1995. The repowering project increased the capacity and generation efficiency of the existing Ponca City Municipal Steam Plant through the repowering of Steam Unit No. 1. This 16,500 kW generator was modified to increase its capacity to 18,750 kW when operated at 3,600 revolutions per minute, the same number of revolutions per minute as Unit No. 2.

The project involved the installation of a General Electric Company LM6000 aero derivative combustion turbine and a heat recovery steam generator and the refurbishment of the existing Unit No. 1 steam turbine. Waste heat from the exhaust of the combustion turbine is used in the HRSG to produce steam which is used to power Unit No. 1. Operating in this combined cycle mode improves both the efficiency of the thermal cycle and has proven to be very cost effective.

Duct burners were installed in the HRSG so that additional steam can be produced if necessary. This addition allows for the maximum capacity from Steam Unit No. 1 to be obtained. OMPA uses this additional capacity to satisfy a portion of its reserve requirements. The combined cycle capacity of the project without duct firing is approximately 52 megawatts, with duct firing it is approximately 60 megawatts.

A 200,000-gallon cooling tower was constructed with two pumps providing 16,000 gallons per minute to the main condenser to cool steam. Water treatment for the Steam Generation Plant is necessary to provide purified water used in the boilers, which is recirculated.

Construction of the masonry and aluminum steam generator plant started in September of 1964. On July 1, 1966, the plant started commercial operation with the installation of the first of two General Electric steam generators. Unit No. 1 was capable of producing 16,500 kW, and the capacity of generation for both the Steam and Diesel Generation Plants, with all 11 diesel engines operating, was increased to approximately 45,000 kW. To expand the capacity of the plant, a second larger General Electric unit was installed in 1975. The addition of Unit No. 2 increased the production capacity another 40,000 kW. In combination with the Diesel Generation Plant's 20,000 kW, the total production capacity of both facilities was approximately 75,000 kW.

The Steam Generation Plant building is 111 ft. wide, 859 ft. long and contains two boilers, a control room, a water treatment facility, administrative offices and auxiliary equipment. The plant is equipped with automatic controls to shut the plant down if there is a malfunction.


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