Boyce Hydro Power, LLC provides clarification to Wixom Lake Association’s Update

The Wixom Lake Association has published an Update on its website ( about the recent Order to Cease Generation imposed on Boyce Hydro Power, LLC by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Below is additional information and clarification provided by the Licensee, Boyce Hydro Power, LLC.

“Boyce Hydro has been ordered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to stop generating electricity at the Edenville Dam, effective Nov. 27, 2017. Boyce is licensed by FERC to operate the dam and is required to comply with that license.”   TRUE.  Boyce stopped generation at Edenville at 9:59 p.m. on Monday 11/27/2017 in compliance with the order.

“The immediate concern for Wixom lake property owners and users is the lake level. This FERC order should have no effect on recreational use of the lake. The FERC order specifically requires Boyce to maintain the lake at normal seasonal levels.” TRUE.  Boyce operators will continue to regulate the water levels in the reservoir using only the mechanical gates on the six spillways on the Edenville dam.  Boyce Hydro loses the ability to pass approximately 1,600 cfs of water through the dam in the event of flood conditions wherein the six gates at the Edenville Dam are open to their maximum capacity. Thus controlling the flow of water through the dam in the event of a flood event such as occurred last June will be less attenuated as gates will have to be opened more aggressively at the outset of a pending flood condition. This has the potential to concentrate and exacerbate the timing of the release of flood waters at the Sanford Dam.

“Please keep an eye on lake levels and alert us via the “Contact us” button above if you see major deviations from normal lake levels. Keep in mind that the lake should be lowered approx. 2.5′ (two and one half feet) to the normal winter level around December 15.”  Partially true.  Actually, the allowed drawdown is 3 feet, not 2.5 feet.  The public should not notice any deviations from normal operations.

“The longer-term concern is operation and maintenance of the dam. Due to the dam’s design, operators need to monitor lake level and then open or close spillway gates to maintain the level within limits set by Boyce’s license.”  TRUE.  See above.

“As noted in the order, the spillways need significant maintenance, particularly the Tobacco River side spillways.”  Partially true.  The spillways are in good condition and not in any danger of failure.  Maintenance is ongoing, not only for the concrete structures, but the earthen dam itself.  What FERC refers to in its order is the walls on either side of the Tobacco spillway on the downstream side.  These were beginning to show cracks and rotation, but were repaired last year and are holding up very well, as demonstrated by the fact that they did not fail or deteriorate during or after the flood in June.  FERC wants these walls rebuilt and plans and specifications were submitted to FERC almost a year ago for this work. 

“As long as the “cease generation” order is in effect, Boyce will derive no income from the Edenville Dam, but will continue to incur expenses. Obviously, this is not a workable long-term situation.” TRUE.  And in fact the expense of operators will probably increase.  The Edenville project represents 50-55% of total Boyce Hydro Power revenue from power production at its four dams.

“It is much too soon to know what will happen and speculation is pointless.” Thank you for recognizing that fact.  Rest assured, however, that Boyce Hydro Power is committed to the safety of its dam operations for the public and its employees.  Boyce is working with its attorneys and FERC to arrive at a solution to benefit all concerned.

“FERC is well-aware of the situation and our State and Federal Congressional representatives have been contacted. The resolution is FERC’s responsibility and will depend on how Boyce cooperates with FERC in the future.”  Boyce has been cooperating with FERC to the extent possible.  The demands placed on Boyce by FERC’s regulations are numerous and it is only possible to do so much with the engineering and financial resources available.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on the PMF over the last seven years alone.

“Wixom Lake Association will continue to monitor the situation and share relevant information via this web site.” Boyce Hydro will also continue to monitor the Wixom Lake (Reservoir) Association as well.

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