Crews Start Installing New Farmer City Generators

Published 03/05 2012 06:41PM

Updated 03/05 2012 06:44PM

FARMER CITY -- Monday afternoon Farmer City received two new generators as part of it's $3.3 million power generating station expansion.  The city said it's necessary for its future growth.

The 17 1/2 ton high speed diesel generators will add about 4.5 mega watts of power to the station.

"We have it here to maintain constant power supply to the community," explained Public Works Director, Rick Hardesty.  "If something goes down, generally within an hour we'll have the town running full service."

The town used to solely rely on on the station, but started buying power in bulk in 1984.  The city now uses it as a backup just in case.

Hardesty started working at the station in 1976, two years after the city brought in it's latest generator.  He said he never actually thought he would see a new one put in.

Currently there are four generators, including one from a war submarine.  Hardesty said they don't meet federal guidelines when it comes to EPA emissions.  He said the new Caterpillar generators are in compliance.

The other generators they have will strictly be used on in emergency situations.  Workers are getting ready to update one of the motors now to meet federal regulations.

"In between three generators we'll have more than enough capacity to carry the town and also allow to grow."

Farmer City purchased 20 acres of land north of I-74 in hopes to expand its community.  City Manager Larry Woliung said in order to grow, they have to have the ability to supply more power.

"For a town this size and with this economy the way it is around here, this is quite a project," explained Woliung.

The project costs $3.3 million. Woliung said through the sale of municipal bonds they've been able to pay for it.  He also said Farmer City is the third smallest community in the state to own and operate it's own power generation station.

"We've spent money on other things that other people didn't think matter, but to me power means a lot especially when that means you get heat," explained Crystal Norris who has lived in Farmer City most of her life.

"It's definitely on the critical side of having electricity, I don't know how it's going to bring growth, but I do know power is a good thing to have," said Thomas Bolton, a resident of Farmer City.

Crews will finish installing the generators on Tuesday.

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