Oswego Terminates High Dam Maintenance Contract with Brookfield | Oswego County
OSWEGO – The city has terminated its contract with Brookfield for the maintenance of its high dam on West First Street along the Oswego River. In a recent interview, Oswego Mayor William Barlow explained the city’s thinking on terminating this contract and taking charge of this interview.
“The city has been under contract with Brookfield since before 2000 for essentially a maintenance service contract to operate the high dam for the city,” Barlow said. “We are paying $ 30,000 per month for this deal. The high dam typically earns around $ 100,000 per month by producing electricity that is sold over the grid.
“In December 2020, of course, we have a new municipal engineer, who was hired in the fall of 2019, and in 2020 we hired an engineer aide,” Barlow continued. “They are both new to municipal government and on our behalf they will be going to the upper dam once a day to check and make sure the plant is working and that there are no problems. pending, because Brookfield doesn’t have a person there all the time. And what we have found since December 2020 are these issues that have gone from small issues to big issues to very serious urgent issues that weren’t taken care of after work orders were placed, after we had communicated with Brookfield on this matter. Sometimes our communication was answered, sometimes it was ignored, and what we found over time seemed to get more serious and more frequent from week to week. After some discussions with Brookfield, ”said Barlow,“ we think it’s better to go in another direction. We’re going to save the $ 30,000 a month and use it to reinvest in the facility, and we think for now at least Jeff, the town engineer, and Tarin, the assistant, can run the plant. for us, and we are currently looking for another company to contract with if we need serious maintenance beyond our local capabilities.
“There is a lot to do for maintenance,” Barlow continued. “You have to make sure the exciters are working. These are the units that actually produce electricity. The cog rakes, which keep the dam clean and free of debris, you have to rake frequently, and then obviously just general maintenance. A facility of this size requires a lot of maintenance and a lot of documentation on how the plant works and how it affects river flow, water level, etc.
“Normally, the city only intervened once a day and checked the installation. Brookfield was responding to our work orders, to the issues we had, to any issues that we couldn’t really handle. Their service became lackluster over time, and to be fair, with the new staff involved, we were paying more attention to the facility than we have in the past, and Jeff and Tarin me. reported conditions and situations directly, which was more information than I have had in recent years. We’re not going to tolerate substandard service when you pay $ 30,000 a month for it. We certainly weren’t getting $ 30,000 in service.
“We have allocated money to fix these generators that sometimes fail, and this generator (which was reported broken and out of service months ago) is still not fixed. Unit three is still not repaired due to these delays, delays and lack of responses. When the power plant is not online, or when the four units are not working, we are losing money because we are not producing the electricity we are paid for.
The maintenance contract provides for a transition period in the event of termination of the contract by the City.
“There is a 120 day exclusion clause,” Barlow said. “Basically we’ll be spending the next 120 days working with Brookfield on a transition plan. They are contractually obligated to continue providing the service for the 120 days.
“We’re going to take the $ 30,000 per month that we usually pay Brookfield and put it aside for the improvements to be reintroduced to the plant. By the end of the year, we will be entrusting our staff with the day-to-day management of the plant. If we have an issue where we need to call another outfit (we’re currently researching who would be the other outfit), then later this year, maybe early 2022, we’re kind of going to re-evaluate where we base it on the how the rest of this year is going and on RFP (request for proposals) to get another outfit to take Brookfield’s place or maybe we leave it in-house. So we will re-evaluate next.