Travis Horsch -- Electric Production Supervisor
In 1903, the first Wellington municipal power plant was established on Slate Creek. It was purportedly used to power the new electric streetlights in the downtown areas. The power plant crew would go to the site in the evening, fire up the boiler and generator, and as the boiler waned around 11:00 pm the lights would dim and go out. As local merchants began selling electric washing machines, the power plant crews started operating on Mondays, so the Wellington housewives could operate them. Soon, Tuesdays became 'ironing day', as local retailers started selling the new electric irons. Eventually, the plant was operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week year round. The power plant was later moved from its Slate Creek location to its current South Olive location.
The City of Wellington has purchasing arrangements with Southwest Power Authority, Grand River Dam Authority and the Kansas Power Pool of which Wellington is one of the five original member cities. With the diversity of these resources combined with the city's ability to generate its own energy allows the city to provide competitively priced as well as reliable electric service to all customers. With the help of the power plants ten full time employees, it has the capability to generate over 40 Megawatts of electricity. These employees continually obtain and update certification on the operation and maintenance of the city's 20 megawatt steam plant, 20 megawatt gas turbine plant and two diesel generators each at 2 megawatts each. Maintaining these facilities not only allows the City access to low cost non-firm energy, but also ensures 100% backup in the event of a transmission system failure that blocks access to the energy sources from outside of the city.