The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Utility Conversion Leads to New Equipment


February 20, 2019

The landscape around Sidney is changing. The number of utility poles is decreasing as lines are going underground.

Sidney's Electrical Superintendent Mike Palmer Tuesday presented the city council a request to purchase an horizontal directional drill (HDD).

“We have been contracting out for about 12 years,” Palmer said. “We just it would be prudent and should save us a fair amount of money.”

In his memo to the city council, Palmer said the Council considered purchasing an HDD in 2014. The memo said the City then chose instead to enter a two-year “Master Contract” agreement with Midwest Cabling. At the end of the Master Contract, the City signed a three-year agreement with CenCon of Kansas. As the contract reached its end, City staff again considered the advantages of the City owning its own HDD. Demos were requested from two manufacturers. Vermeer representatives suggested the D23x30 S3 Navigator which was expected to perform 80 percent to 85 percent of the electric department's needs.

Palmer suggested purchasing the larger machine which will offer more flexibility including assisting the Water Department with some of its boring needs. Start-up cost of the machine is estimated at $309,436. The electricity department has $275,000 budgeted for an HDD. Palmer's memo said additional funds will have to be moved from the capital underground conversion fund. He said the HDD should begin paying for itself in six to seven years.

The HDD is expected to have a lifespan of about 15 years.

Palmer said the overhead conversion effort has a lot of work to complete.

“We have a fair amount (of work) left,” Palmer said. “Right now, we're working on the core of the town.”

Palmer estimated about 25 percent of the town has been converted to underground electric service, with about years' of work yet to complete.

He said the City has paid about $800,000 in underground bore work in the last 12 years.

Palmer said the estimated delivery date is in April.


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