PWC’s electric system ensures that electric energy that is purchased from energy suppliers, and that which is generated at PWC’s own generation plant, is safely and efficiently delivered to its customers at competitive rates. PWC currently purchases electricity from Duke Energy Progress (DEP) and from the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA). In addition, PWC has the distinction of being the only municipal utility in North Carolina to own and operate an electric generation plant. This plant is known as the Butler-Warner Generation Plant (BWGP), in honor of Robert H. Butler and James R. Warner, former chairmen of the Commission.
In July 2012, PWC became a full requirements customer of Progress Energy (now DEP) as part of a new 20-year power supply agreement signed in June 2009. PWC pays a fixed annual capacity and energy charge with a formula-based annual true-up based on DEP’s system average costs. In a separate agreement, the BWGP is dispatched by DEP to meet the combined needs of PWC and DEP customers. PWC will continue to operate and maintain the plant while DEP will reimburse PWC for certain operating costs and pay a fee based on plant performance. This provides PWC an additional source of revenue which can be used to offset the effect of power cost increases.
PWC provides electric service to approximately 60% of the Fayetteville/Cumberland County area. During FY2015, electric service was provided to nearly 87,000 customers. PWC purchased or generated over 2.0 billion kWh of electricity to meet the ever-increasing demand for service. The highest hourly peak demand ever recorded on the PWC system was 490.3 MW, which occurred on February 20, 2015. The highest hourly peak demand ever recorded during the summer season on the PWC system was 476.6 MW, which occurred on August 9, 2007. For comparison, the hourly peak demand recorded during the most recent summer season was 421.6 MW, which occurred on June 23, 2016.
Fayetteville Electric Service History
The City of Fayetteville has furnished electricity to its citizens since 1900. Fayetteville, like many other cities in North Carolina and in the nation, did not organize an electric utility as a profit-making public enterprise; it did so because that was the only way the citizens could enjoy the benefits of electricity.
The first electric plant of any kind in Fayetteville was installed by the Phoenix Cotton Mill on Ann Street. This plant was driven by water power from Cross Creek, and its output operated the mill and some commercial lighting.
In 1900, the city constructed a steam-driven plant on a site in the 500 block of Russell Street, and immediately began to enlarge the electric distribution system. At that time, the city had a population of less than 5,000 people. The City of Fayetteville operated this electric plant for about five years.
Just prior to 1905, the plant became inadequate to supply the City’s total electric needs, and was leased to Fayetteville Traction and Power Company. This company constructed a transmission line into Fayetteville from its hydroelectric plant in Manchester, North Carolina. Fayetteville then purchased its electric power from this company and continued to operate its electric distribution system. This arrangement continued until 1914, when Fayetteville Traction and Power Company failed.
At this time, all the generating equipment was overloaded. The Commission signed a contract with Henry T. Dechert, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Trustee for the Fayetteville Traction and Power Company, for the purchase of power. Mr. Dechert agreed to increase the generation capacity at Manchester and at Fayetteville.
Before this was accomplished, the Commission canceled the contract with Mr. Dechert and contracted with Carolina Power & Light Company (now Duke Energy Progress) for the purchase of electric power. Since that time, DEP has remained the principle source of power for Fayetteville, although the City has continued to own and operate its own distribution system through the years.
Construction of the BWGP began in the early 1970’s and has continued to evolve in response to increasing customer needs. Between 1976 and 1980, PWC installed eight peak-shaving gas turbine generators capable of producing 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity. In 1988, six of these units were converted to a combined-cycle steam mode which increased generating capacity by approximately 65 MW, for a total of 265 MW of generating capacity.
PWC has constantly expanded facilities in order to keep pace with the accelerated growth of its service area which includes Fayetteville and a sizable area of Cumberland County. Expansion of the electrical system has been significant – from a 20,000 kW system (two substations) in 1960, to a 410,000 kW load (27 substations) in 1995. Currently PWC has 31 substations that are designed to handle a system load in excess of 600,000 kW. PWC has three points of delivery (POD) of bulk electric power from Progress Energy: POD #1 (Owen Drive)-began operation in 1969; POD #2 (rural area east of the Cape Fear River)-began operation in 1973, and POD #3 (Cliffdale Road)-began operation in 1994.
Beginning in 2009, PWC began a program to rebuild or upgrade all of its existing substations, targeting completion of one or two substations per year. These substations are designed as Smart Substations, equipped with state-of-the art microprocessor-based controls and relays. Additionally, in 2012 PWC completed the replacement a 230 kV power circuit breaker and the protective relay and control system upgrade at P.O.D. # 1. By the end of FY2016, 8 substations under this program have been completed with another slated for completion in early FY2017. Additionally, 8 substations have had new state-of-the art main power transformers installed. Design work on additional upgrades, rebuilds and new facilities are underway and consistent with PWC’s five year budget plan.
Power is received from DEP at 230,000 volts and transformed to 66,000 volts. Transmission of electric power to substations is accomplished by more than 121 circuit miles of 66 kV lines, and serves a total of nearly 80,000 electric customers, including 16 industrial customers, among which is the state’s largest manufacturing plant, Goodyear Tire & Rubber (formerly Kelly Springfield Tire Company).