FARMINGTON — The Farmington Electric Utility System will move forward with a $950,000 project to prevent power outages and generally improve system reliability, pending City Council approval tonight.

B and D Industries, Inc. an Albuquerque-based energy services firm, was recommended by staff.

The company that is chosen for the job will install backup generators, power supplies and other equipment upgrades to the electric utility's control center at 101 S. Browning Parkway and the back-up control center at 501 McCormick School Rd.

Officials say the work is essential to ensure power is distributed where there is greatest demand or where it is needed.

"This is a significant investment by the electric utility that will be beneficial to customers," said Mayor Tommy Roberts. "It's an essential system upgrade that will create redundancies and backup for system data."

Electric-utility staff expect the project to take about six months to complete, said Rodney Romero, transmission and distribution manager for the Farmington Electric Utility System.

Proposed equipment for the center includes two stand-by diesel generators, automatic transfer switches, two new uninterruptible power supplies, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and a new monitoring system.

"We've been adding equipment," Romero said. "It's such a crucial operation out there."

Some of the most important upgrades will be to the uninterruptible power supplies and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, he said.


Uninterruptible power supplies can help keep computer systems running during a power outage and the air conditioning equipment will help keep the center's electronic equipment cool much like a fan keeps a desktop computer's electronics from overheating.

"It's our brain center," Romero said. "We can't have them in the dark. We need to maintain our system reliability."

The project will be funded through the electric utility's operating budget, said Mike Sims, the utility's director.

He reiterated the project's importance.

"It has to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Sims said. "The power cannot go out down there."

B and D Industries, Inc. was founded in New Mexico about 56 years ago. Its first customers were Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Laboratories. Today, the firm serves clients throughout the Southwest and Rocky Mountain region.

The firm's spokespeople declined to comment on Monday.