Wednesday, February 8, 2017

LUS Annual Comprehensive Engineering Reports

Since 1950, the LUS has contracted consulting engineering firms to assist in developing annual Comprehensive Engineering Reports (CERs). The reports are prepared to meet requirements of bond ordinances and to provide assurance to lending institutions. The level of detail, organization, and format have evolved over the years, but the basic purposes for the report have stayed the same.

According to the 2011 CER, the report's purposes include
  • Provide an annual review of the physical operations of the Utilities System and Communications System
  • Provide an annual review of financial operation of the Utilities System and Communications System
  • Provide a reference document for LUS, which includes historical analysis and data
  • Provide recommendations to LUS concerning various aspects of its Utilities System and Communications System
For citizens, these reports provide a source of historic information about our city and utilities system. The reports also document planning and management for near-term future utilities needs.

You can view all the CERs that I have been able to collect by clicking HERE. This collection currently includes all or part of CERs from 1953, 1954, 2008-2011 (partial copies), 2012, and 2015, If more year's reports become available, I will add them to the collection.

LUS does not provide access to current or past CERs through their web site. In my collection, the 1953 and 1954 reports were scanned from copies held at the UL library Louisiana Room. Other copies were provided by Simon Mahan. Optical character recognition (OCR) software was applied all copies. Although some text was not correctly recognized by this software, the OCR text does often allow rapid text search for specific topics within the reports

This photo from the 1953 CER show the LUS steam electric power plant which
began operation in 1951 and provided 91% of electrical power used in 1953.. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What is an Integrated Resource Plan or IRP?

What is an Integrated Resource Plan or IRP?

Everyone and every business needs to plan for the future, and electrical utilities are no different. According to the non-profit Regulatory Assistance Project, "an integrated resource plan is a utility plan for meeting forecasted annual peak and energy demand, plus some established reserve margin, through a combination of supply-side and demand-side resources over a specified future period." These plans are often required by state regulations. The IRP can be a large report, and is somewhat costly. However, the IRP not only provides a valuable planning tool for the utility, but also is an assurance to the utilities residential, commercial, and industrial customers that proper planning for alternative future contingencies have been developed. Few industries would want to locate or expand into a community where future electrical prices, reliability, and availability are excessively uncertain.

The IRP must catalog current resources, and determine goals. The IRP must forecast future load demands, identify resources, estimate needed new sources or load controls, estimate future prices, and explore alternative new investments. These forecasts may involve considering a number of alternative scenarios, with uncertainty, costs, and reliability estimates for each. Utilities should also follow up after their IRP is completed, comparing expectations with experience.

Our own utility, the Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) completed an IRP in 2011. Burns and McDonnell contracted with LUS to provide IRP analysis support. The IRP evaluated the implications of the EPA regulations (CSAPR, MACT, among others) to LUS existing coal and gas-fired fleet. The IRP evaluated new electrical generation facilities against the retrofitting the existing fleet with air quality control equipment or retirement. Additionally, the IRP included a condition assessment of the existing facilities, load and energy forecast development, technology assessment for new facilities and AQCS equipment, and a evaluation of the EPA regulations.

Typically IRPs are revisited every 3 to 5 years. With our IRP now 3 years old, LUS should be considering starting a new plan soon.