U.P power company to spend $60 million, rates will increase

U.P power company to spend $60 million, rates will increase

[Image: Wartsila Engine, similar to the proposed purchase by Marquette Board of Light Power]

MARQUETTE — The Upper Peninsula’s energy future has no doubt been a hot topic of conversation for some time now. A U.P. municipal electric company has come up with a long-term solution for their 17,000 customers.

The Marquette Board of Light and Power would like to purchase three, 18-megawatt Wartsila units. These Wartsila units would be installed right behind the BLP office on Wright Street.

BLP Executive Director Paul Kitti says that these units would extend the life of three large generator units that are on average, 38 years old.

“These units will be duel fueled, primarily gas with an emergency oil backup if we need to run them under conditions in which gas is not available,” said Kitty. “These are dispatchable. They can get a full load in five minutes. You can ramp them up, ramp them down, and run them hard just like your basic automobile.”

The Wartsila units come with a price tag of $60,000,000 dollars.

Starting next October, BLP is proposing a 30% rate increase for its customers.

“The average bill right now for 500-kilowatt hours per month is sitting around $58,” said Kitti. “A year from now it would go up to $76.”

The proposed project and the rate increase have to be approved first by the Marquette City Commission. The city commission has a work session planned with the Board of Light and Power this Monday, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the BLP office.

The meeting is open to the public.