Contract Awarded for Elephant Butte Powerplant Improvements

Media Contact: Lisa Iams, (801) 524-3673

For Release: September 26, 2011

The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $1.8 million contract to Koontz Electric Company, Inc., of Morrilton, AR, for replacement of excitation systems at Elephant Butte Powerplant in Elephant Butte, NM. The contract also covers extensive electrical work, equipment testing, and training for powerplant staff.

"Replacement of the powerplant's excitation system will result in improved operational efficiencies and facilitate meeting federal electrical reliability requirements," said Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor. "By ensuring the long-term sustainability of Reclamation power production facilities, we can protect the federal investment while continuing to serve our customers."

Work to be done under this contract will begin right away and occupy 12 full-time Koontz Electric Company, Inc., employee positions through project completion which is targeted for early 2013. In addition to the many components of the plant's original excitation system being replaced under this contract, other plant components are scheduled to be upgraded in the coming years as part of the natural life cycle replacement necessary to maintain the facility.

Elephant Butte Dam and Powerplant are part of the Rio Grande Project on the Rio Grande, 125 miles north of El Paso, Texas. Elephant Butte Powerplant which began operation in 1940 has three generation units with an installed capacity of 27,900 kilowatts.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.