Camden Bowl Broken Snowmaking Pump

TomWhiteTomWhite expert
in NELSAP Forum Posts: 525

 

Board
authorizes emergency repair of snowmaking pump motor

0

By Susan Mustapich | Dec 12, 2017

CAMDEN
During a special meeting Dec. 11, the Select Board authorized up
to $27,000 to repair a large pump motor used for snowmaking from mid-mountain
to the top of the mountain at the Camden Snow Bowl.

Snow
Bowl Manager Beth Ward said that when the 500-horsepower pump motor was tested
last Tuesday, "we got some sparks and noises we don't like to hear, and it
shut itself down." The equipment test is done annually in December,

she said.
The reason the equipment is tested at the beginning of December is that Central
Maine Power levies a $3,000 per month demand charge in any month when the motor
is operated, so the test is done the month snowmaking begins.

The
repair option explained by Snow Bowl Mountain Operations Manager Tom
Beauregard, which would enable snowmaking to begin on the upper mountain next
week, costs $24,100, plus additional costs for electrical services. The
repair involves rebuilding the engine. He confirmed that current snowmaking is
not at full capacity.

While
board members had questions about the age and condition of the motor,
preventive maintenance, whether a fire truck pumper could be used to help make
snow this week, and how to fund the repair, they unanimously authorized Ward to
spend up to $27,000 to repair the pump motor.

Ward
explained that the used engine was purchased in 2014, and was past warranty.
Beauregard said the fire truck pumper was considered, but could not be wired to
the snowmaking equipment. Board Chair John French wants the Select Board to
discuss a maintenance plan for the future.

Ward
called on Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell to explain options the board has to pay
for the repair. Caler-Bell told board members, "You don't have to decide
tonight, if you feel you need more time." Board members listened to the
options, choosing to take more time before making a decision.

Caler-Bell
said one option is to charge the pump motor repair to the 2018 alpine operating
budget, and cover the cost of the repair with funds Ward has budgeted for
maintenance and repairs, hoping that during the coming ski season, there is
enough operating revenue to cover expenses.

Another
option is to take the $27,000 for the repair from general fund contingency
monies in the municipal budget at the end of the year. That would require
moving money from the municipal budget to the Snow Bowl's enterprise fund.

A
third option involves a Snow Bowl contingency fund totaling $22,345 that was
budgeted for the 2017 ski season, Caler-Bell said. She explained that Finance
Director Jodi Hansen discovered that the contingency fund was not used. The
board could carry this Snow Bowl contingency fund from the 2017 budget to the
Snow Bowl 2018 budget, she said.

Caler-Bell
mentioned that auditors are still working on an audit of the Snow Bowl
enterprise fund. She said the auditors are indicating that "on paper"
the 2017 Snow Bowl budget would show a deficit.

French
asked, "When did this happen?" saying that the 2017 season finished
in the black, with about $50,000 after final expenses were paid. Caler-Bell
said the "paper" deficit was due to depreciation on new
equipment, and that more information would be available next week when the
audit wraps up.

https://knox.villagesoup.com/p/board-authorizes-emergency-repair-of-snowmaking-pump-motor/1710643

Comments

  • TomWhiteTomWhite expert
    Posts: 525
    Is it common for utilities to have a demand charge? At $3k I see why a small will wait to do the equipment test.
  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 871
    It's impressive how that little town supports something as costly as a ski area.
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 1,008
    Yes. All power utilities have a demand charge. It's even part of your bill too. Except for small customers it's simply based on your potential demand and the charge is constant all year regardless.

    The demand charge is related to the current you draw. It's separate from the actual electrons you use.
  • newmannewman advanced
    Posts: 278
    I guess the better figure something out soon. A big holiday week isn't good business on just a bunny hill on the lower area.
  • mtsnow123mtsnow123 advanced
    Posts: 358
    obienick said:

    Yes. All power utilities have a demand charge. It's even part of your bill too. Except for small customers it's simply based on your potential demand and the charge is constant all year regardless.

    The demand charge is related to the current you draw. It's separate from the actual electrons you use.

    There's also consideration with demand ratchets in utility billing. Link

  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    Posts: 605
    Demand is typically only for "long load" commercial accounts. Small areas have to watch it very closely and take it under consideration before turning any of the high HP equipment on.
  • skipro77skipro77 intermediate
    Posts: 69
    That is why they had generators at Maple Valley.  The owners figured they could fill their diesel tanks with what the demand charge would be.  The only meter was on the base lodge.
  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    Posts: 605
    The cost of off road diesel was also less than a buck up until a little while ago so it financially made sense at some usage levels. Now it is very hard to justify going all diesel except of course no billing hassle and you know how much it's costing you nearly in real time.
Sign In or Register to comment.