News & Information

Phone Line Issue

We are experiencing external phone line issues. At this time our phone provider has not provided an estimated restoration time. If you need to contact us immediately email us customerservice@ghblp.org or visit us at our Service Center 1700 Eaton Drive. Thank you for your understanding during this phone line outage.

 

Board of Light & Power’s Sims Power Plant Offline

Wednesday, February 6, 2019, Grand Haven– The Board of Light & Power’s J.B. Sims Generating Station on Harbor Island was taken offline the evening of Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 9:26 PM due to a piping failure.

Power Supply Manager Erik Booth reported, “Plant staff did an excellent job of taking immediate action to respond and safely bring the plant down. The point of failure has been located and is currently being repaired. Once repairs have been made and tested, BLP staff will evaluate bringing the plant back online.”

Renee Molyneux, BLP Spokesperson stated, “There have been no outages as a result of taking Sims offline. The outages experienced the morning of February 6th were a result of the ice storm, which impacted the BLP’s distribution system.”

Grand Haven’s snowmelt system heat is currently being supplied by the plant’s auxiliary  boiler.

Grand Haven BLP Customers Lose Power Due To Freezing Rain and Ice

Wednesday, February 6, 2019, Grand Haven– Freezing rain and ice was the cause of power outages to Board of Light & Power customers beginning in the early hours of the morning on February 6, 2019.

Icy Storm, Winter Power Outage

Grand Haven Tribune – photo credit to Becky Vargo

The first reported outage affected 808 customers at 1:51 AM in the West Spring Lake Road area north to Hemlock. Power was restored to all by 8:04 AM. This area lost power again at 8:11 AM with power restored at 9:21 AM.

At 2:46 AM, 2,195 customers lost power in the City of Grand Haven from North Harbor to Colfax and east to Beechtree Street. Power was restored to these customers at 7:30 AM.

At 4:47 AM, 1,042 customers lost power in the City of Grand Haven from Colfax south to Robbins Road. Power was restored at 7:06 AM.

All outages were due to fallen trees or limbs on the lines.

A few scattered outages remain, affecting 1-2 customers at a time. Crews are working to restore power to these customers as safely and quickly as possible.

We appreciate everyone’s patience as our crews work to safely restore power. We would like to remind customers to report power outages in the BLP’s Outage Center, which is on our website at ghblp.org, or by calling 616-846-6250.

Ice Storm February 6, 2019

Freezing rain and ice have caused power outages throughout the GHBLP system. BLP crews have been working since the early morning hours to restore power throughout the area. A few scattered outages remain in the Grand Haven area. At 8:07 am, West Spring Lake Road customers from Ferrysburg to 168th lost power and crews are currently working to locate the cause.

 

If you lose power, please report your location at ghblp.org on the Outage Center icon or call 616-846-6250. Thank you for your patience as we work to restore power to all customers.

Outage Management System Upgrades

Please be aware that on Monday, January 28, 2019, beginning at 10:00 am, the Board of Light & Power’s Outage Management System is scheduled for upgrades.

The OMS system will not be available to report an outage or service issue during the upgrade, which will take between 60-90 minutes to complete.

If you need to report a power outage during this timeframe, please call us at 616-846-6250 or email us customerservice@ghblp.org

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to upgrade the OMS.

 

Mich. public power city mulls replacements for coal-fired plant

Grand Haven, Michigan, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, expects to decide later this year what will replace the city’s 70.4-MW J.B. Sims coal-fired power plant after it generates its last electrons on June 1, 2020, according to David Walters, general manager of the local public power utility.

Any solution will most likely include the construction of a 35-40 MW natural gas reciprocating internal combustion engine, or RICE, plant on the footprint of the existing Sims station on Harbor Island.

At its December meeting, the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power agreed that whatever comes after Sims must have the ability to continue powering the city’s downtown underground snowmelt system, something Sims has done successfully for years.

“The board made a commitment to our City Council that local generation would be part of our long-term power supply plan and that our electric utility would continue to supply heat for the downtown snowmelt system,” Walters said.

A new report prepared by Burns & McDonnell affirmed previous local sentiment that Sims has reached the end of its useful life and should be retired. The facility went into commercial operation in 1983.

Unlike many other retiring coal plants in the US, Sims’ pending demise is due more to economic than environmental issues.

The local utility’s average load is around 36 MW to serve its approximately 14,200 customers, though it can spike to near 70 MW during the summer months. In the past, Grand Haven has sold Sims’ surplus power into the wholesale market, earning revenue that helped defray the plant’s operating costs.

But those off-system power sales have dried up as Sims has found it increasingly difficult to compete with lower-cost natural gas generation, Walters said. “Sims is a high-cost resource now.  That is the primary reason we’re shutting it down. It has lost its competitiveness in the wholesale marketplace.”

Sims is equipped with a scrubber to reduce sulfur-dioxide and particulate emissions and complies with current environmental regulations.  However, the utility would be forced to spend millions of dollars over the next few years to replace aging equipment and make other repairs to ensure its continued operation during the next decade.

Burns and McDonnell is recommending the city replace Sims with a new RICE plant. Such a project most likely would cost approximately $45 million and be financed through the issuance of local municipal revenue bonds.

Natural gas would fuel the RICE plant. “Several years ago, Black & Veatch conducted a study to determine the best place to site a local gas-fired generation facility.

The best site was determined to be the current Sims plant property, he said. “The Sims plant is on Harbor Island which is adjacent to our downtown district.” Gas supply lines are already located on the island as gas is used to start up Sims, “so there is adequate gas supply to the site. There are also high-voltage electric transmission lines that go to the island. These are good reasons to build whatever follows Sims at that same location.”

The tentative schedule calls for a new plant to be in commercial operation by June 1, 2023. That is a full three years after Sims is expected to be retired, and Grand Haven will require short-term capacity and energy during the transition period. To do that, Grand Haven plans on utilizing its membership in the Michigan Public Power Agency (MPPA), a joint action agency of 20 Michigan municipal electric utilities.

“Burns and McDonnell is currently working on a project definition report to better define exactly what the new facility may look like.  I think a plan will come to the board and council for approval in late 2019,” Walters said.

Burns & McDonnell cautioned against “overbuilding” capacity to serve the needs of Grand Haven, which is experiencing modest – about 0.5% – annual load growth. If market conditions change in the future, additional generating units can be added to the Harbor Island facility “while avoiding the risk of overbuilding today,” Burns & McDonnell said.

A new replacement power plant will only be part of a more diverse power supply portfolio the utility plans on developing with MPPA.

Whatever final compilation of resources this portfolio contains, Walters said it is important for the muni to maintain stable rates for its customers. Currently, rates average around 12 cents/kWh, which Walters concedes are “higher than our public power neighbors. Our goal is to hold rates stable through the transition, so the BLP can become more competitive.”

American Public Power Association – Bob Matyi

LED Light Bulb Giveaway

We are currently giving away to all BLP Residential Customers a Free LED Light Bulb kit.
One per household while supplies last.