On Nov. 10, with the simple click of a computer mouse, City Utilities Board of Public Utilities Chairwoman Lisa Officer synchronized electricity from the community’s newest generating unit to the local power grid. It might be easy to forget the years of planning, development, public input and hard construction work that went into what is now Southwest Power Station Unit 2. The project first came to light 15 years ago when the potential need was identified in CU’s long range planning process. Eight years ago, the utility studied the need for Springfield’s future power supply and the realistic options to provide that power. Following a healthy community dialogue and research, culminating in the recommendation by a community task force to build SW2, the work was under way to secure a reliable, affordable and responsible addition to Springfield’s generating assets. What followed were years of activities to issue bonds that financed the project, assemble the project team, finalize the generating unit design, contract with construction and engineering partners, purchase equipment, begin and oversee construction activities, monitor safe work practices, and control the project budget. The principal objectives were workplace safety, budget controls and quality workmanship, and now the $555 million unit (is) a reality. With 2.5 million work hours complete amid a culture of safe work practices, the site experienced few safety issues and, in fact, amassed more than 1.25 million work hours without a single lost-time incident. The budget parameters for the massive project were met successfully. The unit came in on time, in what seemed to be a whirlwind of construction activity that began in August 2008, and is now substantially complete and producing electricity during the final stages of testing and commissioning. While we are impressed by the results delivered by CU and their SW2 project team, we are not surprised. Excellence in the planning, development and delivery of essential services for our community is what we have come to expect and sometimes take for granted. We commend CU and their employees for this successful project.
—the 12 past chairs of the Springfield Board of Public Utilities: Ransom A. Ellis Jr., William C. Buckner, Robert W. Schroff, N.L. McCartney, Carol S. DeHaven, William A. R. Dalton, Jerry E. Corbett Sr., James E. Street, Robert H. Spence, Gordon A. Elliott, Sharon Faulkner, Chris Nattinger, W. Curtis Graff, Wayne A. Scheer, Ronald Ponds, Geoffrey Butler, Ronald Reynaud, Virginia Fry, Phil Wannenmacher and Mark McNay[[In-content Ad]]