City of Tallahassee Looks at Power Alternatives

Purdom Unit 8 may sound like something from a sci-fi movie, but it's actually a steam turbine and the City of Tallahassee's most powerful electricity generator.

Last February, Purdom Unit 8 malfunctioned and was substantially damaged.

Kevin Wailes with the City of Tallahassee Utilities says, "Since that time, we've been going aggressively in a repair schedule, sometimes 24 hours a day, seven days a week to repair the critical path parts. Originally we thought it would be repaired sometime in May to mid-May."

But after a closer look the city says it's going to be sometime around June before the unit is repaired.

"We still have the capability to serve our customers. However, we have a responsibility to our customers and need a plan for 'what if something else bad happens?'" adds Kevin.

So the city has a "just in case" plan, rental generators.

Anita Favors, Tallahassee city manager, says, "Sort of an insurance policy. As the utility provider, we have to be absolutely certain we can always provide the community with energy service to keep the lights on."

The most important thing the city wants customers to know about the temporary rental generators. With the peak months almost here, the city says the Purdom Unit 8 will be repaired. The city says they will not leave their customers out in the heat.

The Purdom Unit 8 is located in the Saint Marks area. Portions for the steam turbine are in Canada getting the necessary repairs.

The repairs will cost somewhere around $7 to $8 million, but the city says it has insurance to cover the cost.