PWC’s electric system involves the transmission and distribution of electric energy, which is generated at our Butler-Warner Generation Plant (BWGP), as well as purchased from Duke Energy Progress and the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA). PWC has the distinction of being the only municipal utility in North Carolina to own and operate an electric generation plant.
In July 2012, PWC became a full requirements customer of Progress Energy (now Duke Energy Progress) 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 founded 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 a 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 FY2013, electric service was provided to more than 79,000 customers, ranking PWC as the 35th largest Public Power Provider in the United States. PWC purchased or generated over 2.0 billion kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity to meet the ever-increasing demand for service. PWC’s system peak demand of record electric use is 476.6 MW set on August 9, 2007 and its winter peak is 433.7 MW (December 15, 2010). For FY2013 the peak consumption was 446.0 MW on July 26, 2012.
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, Progress Energy 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.
The Public Works Commission 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. PWC has three points of delivery (P.O.D.) of bulk electric power from Progress Energy: P.O.D. #1, on Owen Drive, (began operation in 1969); and P.O.D.#2, located in a rural area east of the Cape Fear River (began operation in 1973); and P.O.D.#3, located on Cliffdale Road, (began operation in 1994).
In 2009, PWC began rebuilding two (2) existing substations. These substations were designed as Smart Substations, equipped with state-of-the art microprocessor-based controls and relays. The Crystal Springs Substation Rebuild was completed in 2011 and the Arran Park Substation Rebuild was completed in 2012. 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. # I. In 2013, PWC upgraded one T/D substation’s protective relaying and control system with Smart Substation equipment. Design work is in progress to upgrade the protective relaying and control systems in four (4) additional T/D Substations with Smart Substation equipment. Design work is in progress to build an additional T/D Substation and replace an existing Substation in FY2014.
Power is received from Progress Energy 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 more than 80,000 electric customers, including 16 industrial customers, among which is the state’s largest manufacturing plant, Goodyear (Kelly Springfield Tire Company).
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. In 1993, a thermal energy storage (ice storage) system was added to the plant for cooling the gas turbines in the summer peak season. When in service, this system enables the plant to operate at its full capacity of 265 MW even during the summer months. This is one of the largest thermal energy storage plants in the world, with 4.6 million gallons of ice storage capacity. This plant is now known as the Butler-Warner Electric Generation Plant, in honor of Robert H. Butler and James R. Warner, former chairmen of the Commission.