Maintenance I truck driver

The City of Baldwin City has an immediate opening for a full-time Maintenance I truck driver position in Public Works.

Department:     Public Works (Streets, Water, Wastewater)

Reports To:      Director of Public Works

FLSA Status:   Non-exempt (eligible for overtime pay)


Under the supervision of the Director of Public Works, the Maintenance Tech I – Truck Driver position is non-exempt under FLSA.  This position performs a variety of unskilled or semi-skilled maintenance work individually or as part of a crew, and operates a variety of equipment in the construction, operation, repair, maintenance, and replacement of City water, sewer, street and storm drainage facilities and systems.  In addition, this employee is responsible for the operation of heavy trucks and retrieval, and delivery and disposal of materials or equipment incidental to public works, utility, parks, or cemetery projects.  This employee should possess a strong mechanical aptitude, as well as effective communication and public relations skills.

Benefits provided included BCBSKS health and dental, MetLife vision and life insurance.  Other benefits include KPERS, 457/401 retirement plan and voluntary life and disability.

Salary range: $17.91 – $25.97 depending on experience

For more information about this position, please contact Kenny Oshel, Public Works Director at or call 785.594.6907


Application deadline: 09.22.2017


Baldwin City’s Wholesale Energy and Electric Production Systems

A Question and Answer Basic Outline of Baldwin City’s Wholesale Energy and Electric Production Systems


So where does Baldwin City actually get its electricity from?

Baldwin City has a diverse mix of generation types in our portfolio including, Coal, Natural Gas, Diesel, Wind, and Hydro.

We purchase about 74% of our wholesale energy from the Grand River Dam Athority,12% from the Marshall Wind Farm,5% from KCP&L, 5% from the Western Area Power Administration,3% from the Spot Market, and the remaining 1% comes from the Southwest Power Administration and In-House Generation.

KCP&L also supplies Baldwin with use of their transmission lines to import power from the purchase agreements listed above.


I thought Baldwin City had a Power Plant?


Baldwin City does own and operate two generating plants, however, the cost of producing power internally is significantly higher. For example, the average cost year to date of purchasing power through our wholesale contracts listed above is $.0484 cents per Kilowatt Hour.

In Comparison, our In-House generation while running on natural gas comes in at around $0 .0670 cents per kilowatt hour. When the units are running during an outage, or an anticipated outage, they use straight diesel at cost of $0.2049 cents per kilowatt/hour.

So when do you run the Power Plant?

Baldwin’s generators are not base load units, they are peaking units. They are designed to shave peak load during high use times, and can be utilized as emergency back up during times when we lose power from the KCP&L tie line. That doesn’t mean they can’t run for extended periods of time, however the associated cost as shown above prohibits this.

Baldwin’s generation and how its’ utilized has evolved through several decades of load following contracts with KCP&L. Today we operate in the “Day Ahead” or “Day 2” market. Our newest units (7 & 8) located at the new power plant are registered with the Southwest Power Pool. SPP now oversees the entire transmission and distribution grid in our area, and is the dispatching authority for all power plants large and small.

SPP has capacity and heat rate data on each of the registered units within its territory including large coal or gas plants like KCP&L, right down to the peaking units like Baldwin’s 7 & 8. They know what each unit is capable of producing and the associated cost. They dispatch units based on hourly loads as well as forecasted peaks for day ahead. Baldwin units run when directed to do so by SPP, however, we can self-schedule ourselves anytime for testing or during an emergency situation.

Does Baldwin sell the power it generates in the open market?

No, Baldwin City does not generate power to sell in the open market, and never has. In the early 2000’s our load following contract with KCP&L allowed us to sell off excess BPU Nearman energy when it was available, and we have sold excess capacity to the City of Gardner in past summers, but NONE of the energy generated by Baldwin units ever leaves the City limits. We never cross the threshold, meaning we never push anything back onto KCP&L’s system. They don’t want the energy, and it would create a whole new set of issues for them and us as we would have to trust their relays on their lines to operate correctly in an emergency situation to protect our equipment.





Why don’t we staff the plant 24/7?

The short answer is economics. Baldwin City currently has 2 plant operators that maintain and manage both power plants. Back in the late 80’s, Baldwin had 8 power plant operators and was staffed 24/7. Through the 90’s and early 2000’s many of the original plant operators retired and were not replaced. Baldwin’s electric utility has gone through many changes over the years. One of which is that we now have two primary feeders that can supply Baldwin’s electric load from two different directions; West Gardner, and South Ottawa, which greatly reduces the risk of losing grid power for extended periods of time. Last weekends’ outages were a prime example as the West Gardner Feeder was damaged due to some broken poles. KCP&L placed us on South Ottawa until the repairs could be made.



Baldwin City is a Municipal Owned Utility. It exists to provide a public service to the citizens by way of long-term community goals, local control, local regulation, and higher standards of reliability.

Municipal utilities are located within their community and are readily available to serve customers, unlike Investor Owned Utilities, which are operated for the benefit of stockholders who may live hundreds of miles away and have little interest in the community.

Local ownership means that customers’ utility dollars stay in the community, creating jobs and supporting the local economy.



What happened to the power June 17 in Baldwin City??

On Saturday June 17th, Baldwin City lost power at approximately 3:15 PM. City staff arrived at the Newton Street Substation at 3:23 PM and noted the KCP&L main breaker tripped due to an under-voltage relay operation.

Baldwin’s Substation has relays and reclosing devices that protect our equipment from things like over-voltage and under-voltage power surges, ground faults due to high winds, tree limbs, and lightning, and frequency or Hertz (60 cycles) differential.

Staff cleared the alarms, reset the relay, and then went to Power Plant # 2 to do the same. As staff arrived at Plant # 2, the second outage occurred. Staff reset the alarms once again, and called KCP&L to find out what was causing the issue. KCP&L dispatch was giving me no real information as to the cause of the issue, only that crews were dispatched and in route.

During this time, staff was also trying to get ahold additional utility staff to see if they could be in route to assist, as well as fielding calls from customers. At approximately 3:50 PM, 2 staff members arrived on site at Plant # 2, and a third arrived at 4:00 PM

By this time 2 more outages had occurred, all due to the same under-voltage issue. Staff made the decision that our best shot was to start in-house generation at Plant # 2 to try and stabilize the voltage on our side. At approximately 4:00 PM we brought units 7 & 8 online and began covering individual feeder loads within the City. This did seem to stabilize the voltage issue, and no more outages occurred afterwards.

So why was the power going off and on??

Once a relay operates, its job is to open the main breaker to protect our internal components, as well as our customer’s computers, appliances…etc. These relays did exactly what they were supposed to do. Once a trip happens, there is a 40 second time delay on the main breaker. If whatever caused the trip has cleared or no longer exists, the main will then attempt a reclose. In this case, the voltage had returned to normal, at least momentarily, and so the breaker did reclose.

This happened 4-5 times on Saturday before staff could bring generation online to stabilize it. Keep in mind; five 40 second outages equal 3:20 of total outage time. Also keep in mind that is was a Saturday afternoon on a holiday weekend. We are not staffed round the clock 24-7, and still had people onsite and the power stabilized in less than 1 hour. As of this morning, KCP&L has in excess of 1500 customers still out of power from Friday night’s storm.

What was causing KCP&L’s Issues Saturday??

We still don’t have a clear answer. I know they had several broken power poles east of Baldwin City, and were also having major issues around Centerville KS. Normally that wouldn’t affect us in Baldwin, however, after the damage that occurred to the poles east of town, KCP&L switched us from our normal West Gardner Feeder to our Emergency back-up Feeder which comes out of South Ottawa. So in essence, everyone from Baldwin City to Centerville was connected to the same distribution line. This includes some of Ottawa, Garnett, the Bio Diesel Plant in Garnett, and all the rural customers in between.

KCP&L still has multiple poles broken and lines on the ground due to the massive storm that hit our area Friday night and again Saturday night. As of 1:00 PM Sunday, there were still customers within a two mile radius around Baldwin City without electric service.

This was a massive storm that caused major damage. Please be patient with us if we don’t answer the calls immediately. Know that we are here working for YOU, doing our best to maintain the electric system in Baldwin City.

City of Baldwin City’s Consumer Confidence Report on Water Quality

As required by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment, this is your official notification that the City of Baldwin City’s Consumer Confidence Report on Water Quality covering the calendar year 2016 is available for public viewing by clicking on the link below:

Consumer Confidence Report – Water – Calendar Year 2016

Anyone that prefers a paper copy of the report can pick one up at the Public Works Office at 605 High Street, Baldwin, KS or can obtain one by calling 785-594-3261.