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Peru Utilities mulls over future energy projects

BY CAROLINE EGGERS - ceggers@perutribune.com

Peru Utilities General Manager Joshua Chance is looking to the city’s electric future.

“The goal is to commit more funds to upgrade infrastructure,” Chance said.

The way to do this is by using capital improvement funds.

In an ideal world, Peru Utilities would spend more than $100 million to replace the city’s entire system of electricity poles over the next 45 years.

But as that kind of money isn’t exactly lying around, Chance is reviewing the options.

“We have to step back and say, ‘How do we want to attack this?’” Chance said.

His first priority is identifying and replacing the oldest segments of the electrical system.

The other, less dollar-draining task is to replace a couple of transformers.

Peru Utilities operates five substations, which each have distribution transformers.

Two of their transformers are nearing half a century old; about as long as they can typically last, according to Chance.

Peru Utilities ordered one of the  transformers last year, which cost about $1 million, and will place it adjacent to the old transformer so it’s ready to go when the old one fails.

Then in the next three to five years, they will purchase the second transformer.

While planning for the future, Peru Utilities continues work on completing two other major projects.

Over the next eight to 12 months, Peru Utilities will be installing new water and electricity meters in all customers’ homes or businesses as part of their $4.4 million advanced metering infrastructure upgrade.

The meters will allow customers to check their electricity and water usage in real time, and set up budget alerts – helping them keep their bills lower and increase water and electricity conservation.

And throughout the next year, work will continue on the series of citywide water improvement projects totaling about $8.4 million. Successful completion of each project could mean better water pressure, a reduced risk of losing water during power outages and flood-safety improvements for Peru residents.