As everyone who is on Kingfisher Electric knows, the system is not perfect. A lot of this is due to deferred maintenance and partially due to being at the mercy of OG&E for the lines that feed the city. However, a new agreement with OMPA (Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority) may help bring Kingfisher Electric up to date.
OMPA started a field service program in 2015 in response to a need expressed by their member in Northwest Oklahoma. This program allows cities to enter into a Distribution Maintenance Contract Agreement with OMPA and pay a fixed fee to support the fixed cost of the service.
After signing up, the OMPA crew goes through the power system with the electric department to identify problem areas. After that, they develop a 5-year capital improvement plan. OMPA then provides support, manpower, and equipment to help with these projects.
At a Special Public Works Authority Meeting on August 21st, City Commissioners voted to enter into a contract with OMPA for $100,000 annually. City Manager, Jim Thomas, said, “Our electric is an asset to the city and the citizens. We need to step up to the plate in the next few years to maintain and update what we have. We currently don’t have a plan at all, we need to think more strategically and long-term.”
Thomas expressed his worry about the backlog of routine maintenance tasks that have accumulated. He mentioned that Mark Gambill, the superintendent of Kingfisher Electric, is doing his best to handle the situation, but is constantly dealing with urgent issues and struggling to catch up. Thomas emphasized the importance of equipping department heads with the necessary resources to succeed. Gambill stated, “OMPA has been instrumental in helping us update the power plant, and this will help us even more.”
A representative for OMPA stated in the meeting that “the goal is to get things in good shape so when a storm comes through, it’s not a big deal,” and that, “when OG&E is ready for their updates, Kingfisher will be ready for them.”
This agreement will facilitate the progress of Kingfisher Electric and enable them to better serve the citizens of Kingfisher. As City Manager Jim Thomas put it, “Our best days are still ahead of us.”