Lights Go Out for Kissimmee’s Power Plant

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KISSIMMEE, Fla., October 3, 2012 – The Roy E. Hansel combined cycle power plant that served a generation of Kissimmee residents fell silent Monday, following a decommissioning ceremony hosted by Kissimmee Utility Authority.

Built by the utility on the northwestern shore of Lake Tohopekaliga in 1983, the 50-megawatt plant has been a continuous source of electricity for the past 30 years. Constructed at a cost of $22 million, the plant marked Kissimmee’s abandonment of its decades-old strategy of installing diesel engines and returned to the steam plant concept that had carried the load in Kissimmee through the first 20 years of the utility’s existence.

“The opening of this plant in 1983 tripled Kissimmee’s electric generating capacity,” said KUA vice president of power supply Larry Mattern during the ceremony. “It immediately reduced utility bills by cutting the amount of expensive wholesale power the city was forced to buy at the time.”

The ceremony included a handover to the city of Kissimmee the famous whistle that sounded at noon daily from atop the generator. The ceremony concluded with the lowering of the utility sign that had graced the side of the power plant during its operation.

“The plant is now silent,” said KUA chairman Fred Cumbie, “but not her memory and not the memory of the utility employees who operated this plant for three decades. Job, well done!”

The KUA board of directors authorized the decommissioning of the plant because it was no longer economical to operate. The plant will be dismantled and the property returned to the city of Kissimmee for future development.

Founded in 1901, KUA is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunication services to 64,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.

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Chris M. Gent
(407) 933-9836