Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rates and Rewards



Over the past couple of years, you have likely heard Glasgow EPB issue requests to curtail when we predict peak electric usage. Many of our customers have responded and helped us  reduce community usage, but there is a constant question of “Why should I make the effort?”  Hopefully this blog post will shed some light on that subject, and let you know how reducing peak energy usage will  finally begin to deliver rewards.

Glasgow EPB generates no electricity. All of Glasgow’s power is purchased from TVA, and TVA also sets our wholesale rates.  The rate we pay fluctuates  each month due to varying factors relative to TVA’s cost for production of electricity. For 2014, those rates averaged around 7 cents per kWh. That is true but for the one hour each month when Glasgow’s electric power demand peaks.  During that one hour, TVA charges Glasgow EPB nearly $10.00 per kWh!  However, Glasgow EPB charges our customers about 10 cents per kWh, and that rate presently does not vary. This follows the general pattern used by all electric utilities before more capable metering became available. As you can see, 3 cents is the average retail markup during the majority of the month, however on the heaviest usage hour the Glasgow EPB loses $9.90 per kWh sold. We doubt any business person would agree that this is a viable business model.

TVA has now approved an innovative new rate for Glasgow, and for those who are listening to our requests and predictions, you will finally be rewarded for your assistance.  Later this year, when we actually implement the new rate, the energy rate will become nearly identical to the rate  TVA charges the EPB, without the 3 cent markup.  All EPB electric customers therefore will see a large reduction in the kWh rate portion  of their bill.  However, for that one hour per month, you will see an increase to the roughly $10.00 per kWh (depending on the TVA rate for the month). In order to replace the revenue we will lose due to no longer appreciably marking up kWh, a separate charge will be assessed for the cost of maintaining each customer’s connection to Glasgow’s electric grid. This charge will provide the revenue necessary  to pay for the poles, lines, transformers, etc., necessary to provide service to each residence and business – no matter how much energy a customer may use.

Over the last few years, our intense research revealed that our existing rates resulted in many customers using energy, and paying costs, that simply did not cover the costs associated with serving them.  Imagine pulling into the service station behind a massive RV whose owner decided to fill it completely full while gas was at the rate of $5.00 per gallon, then pulling off and informing the attendant that you, in your economically efficient car, would be paying his bill also. That is exactly what has happened during the entire past history of electric usage across this country. We don’t believe it is fair, TVA agreed, and we believe our customers will also resoundingly agree.

This rate will not take effect until in the fall to winter time frame of 2015, however we wanted to start the discussion, and education, relative to this new rate as soon as possible so everyone would be well informed when the time came.  We will talk to you more here, on our FB page (glasgowepb) and in numerous other ways, about this large change in the way we do our business, over the coming months.  In the meantime, if you haven’t already, why not sign up for your individualized EPB portal that will provide you with real time usage data about your service, and in the near future will show you what your bill would be under both the current rate and the coming new rate.  Just grab your EPB account number and go to http://portal.glasgow-ky.com/ to register today.    
  
Friday, March 6, 2015

A Very Cold Day in Glasgow



We have spent the last couple of decades pursuing an idea that we call "Infotricity". We think that electric power, combined with broadband communications and an IP address such that  all major electric loads can addressed, combine to form a new energy product -- infotricity, and that infotricity will have a much lighter impact on our environment and our wallets than the 100 year old product, electricity.

At the core of infotricity theory is the belief that loads can be managed such that peak demands can be reduced, in turn, reducing the amount of fuel needed to supply our lifestyle. Further, we will all be paying for fewer generation plants in an infotricity world. Of course, nearly all of our peers are quite certain that the idea is wacko. Some days they nearly have us convinced of that. Today is not one of those days.

Above see my home, our office, and our community. Note what is possible when we are brave enough to challenge the status quo!

Monday, December 15, 2014

There is a New Scam in Town

Attention EPB Customers - We have been notified that some of our customers have received phone calls demanding immediate payment for past due accounts via credit card. This is a scam. Please, do not give out your information to anyone who calls requesting your credit card information over the phone. Glasgow EPB does not, and will never do business this way. If you have any question about your account, please call our office at 270-651.8341. 

We recommend that these matters be treated like any other criminal activity. Report these matters to the Glasgow Police Department so that they can investigate these activities.
Monday, December 1, 2014

Broadcast Channel and Rate Changes Come Into Focus

As of 8:00 am on Monday, December 1 we are still in negotiation with some of the channel providers listed below; however, to be in compliance with the legal restrictions that we notify our customers 30 days in advance of any cable lineup changes and/or rate changes we are issuing the following notice:

Our staff, our Programming Committee and our Board of Directors have worked diligently over the past few weeks trying to negotiate a reasonable agreement with all of our ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW programmers. While we were able to reach an agreement with some, there are others who we have decided that, in the best interest of our customers, will be dropped from our service with all changes taking effect January 1, 2015.

First, WNKY, the CBS and NBC affiliate from Bowling Green demanded the largest increase at the rate of 1,000%. We simply could not accept this for our customers, and have decided to drop this channel, but fear not! We are replacing it with WSMV from Nashville and will continue our carriage of WTVF also from Nashville. You will have the same great CBS and NBC programming as always, along with quality news and weather coverage - both at a lesser rate than WNKY’s demand. You may see a message on their channels soon to contact us to demand we keep them on our service. But we believe the majority of our customers will agree we have found the better solution.

We will also be dropping WMYO and WDRB, due to the sizeable increases demanded by both channels. We are pleased to add WCZU, a new channel from Bowling Green that duplicates MyNetwork TV carried by WMYO, and also promises carriage of ACC sports, including U of L.

Even with all of our diligence and attempts to keep the rates as low as possible, sizeable increases were demanded, and with it must come a rate increase for the Glasgow EPB cable customers also. Effective January 1, 2015, you will see a new format on your bill as follows:

Basic Cable Service              $11.50
Glasgow Classic Service       $22.50
ABC, CBS, NBC, CW, FOX    $ 5.50

Total “Basic Package” $39.50

When all of these changes are combined, you will see a $5 per month net increase in the cost of our basic + classic package. We sincerely regret this change, but with the demands of the broadcasters to continue the carriage of the programming for ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW we simply have no choice.

We sincerely appreciate, and value, the input from each of our customers as we struggle to determine the best course of action for all of our customers while maintaining the lowest cable rates in the entire United States.
Friday, November 21, 2014

The Broadcast Stations and Your Cable Bill

Gather around Glasgow folks. We have some serious business to discuss regarding your cable television service. Between now and the end of 2014, we must negotiate new agreements with the broadcast stations, like WBKO, WNKY, WTVF, WHAS, WMYO, and WDRB . These stations have all decided that we cannot continue carrying their signal unless we pay them a sizable sum for permission. It is the size of that sum that we need to discuss. They are asking for staggering increases in the monthly licensing fees. Our Programming Committee, consisting of 5 of your fellow citizens appointed by our Board of Directors, is deeply involved in negotiating the lowest possible rates and best option for our customers. Here’s our dilemma: We either pay them or stop carrying their signals.

We have now received notices of rate increases ranging from 170% up to 1,000%. If we keep the channels as they currently stand, based upon these demands we would all see our rates increase approximately $7.60 per month just to pay for these channels. And make no mistake, this is not applicable to just Glasgow EPB customers, this applies to every cable company across the nation as they negotiate with the broadcast stations. We are proud to still offer the lowest cable rates in the United States (yes, you did read that correctly – Glasgow enjoys the lowest cable rates in the United States), and we will make every effort to continue to do so.

We predict that most of our customers would say, “Drop them!” when seeing this huge increase based on the broadcasters’ demands. That would be fine with us; however, there is a very sharp hook in that bait. Dropping WHAS and WTVF would leave us without our long-enjoyed access to the Louisville and Nashville news sources that we have relied upon for years. Dropping WBKO might leave us with no ABC, no FOX, and no CW programming at all, as they have the legal right to refuse us access to other stations that duplicate their service.

By now you are likely shaking your head in amazement that these conditions exist in our country. After all, can’t we still put up an antenna and get these stations over the air for free? For the Bowling Green stations, that is largely still true. For the Louisville and Nashville broadcasters, that likely would not work anymore. The conversion to digital broadcast technology in 2009 rendered signal acquisition by a homeowner practically impossible if you live more than 50 miles from the transmitter. That makes Nashville and Louisville stations a big problem. These stations, who use the taxpayer-owned airwaves for free, are allowed to set their prices at whatever rate they desire, simply because a cable company puts up a very tall antenna, catches their broadcasts from the air and distributes them for the convenience of the cable customers and the benefit of the advertisers that pay the broadcaster for distributing their commercials.

What rights and protections do we have to address this outrage? Well, not a lot. In 1992, Congress gave broadcasters the right to demand compensation for their signals, and cable operators were granted few legal options to resist the station owners’ unreasonable pricing and exclusive carriage demands. As the cost of carrying broadcast stations reaches atmospheric levels, the only solution now is for Congress to update its outdated rules. There really is no way to avoid that fact.

While we are posting this to give you all a chance to weigh in on these matters, we know that all of our hands are tied due to the way our current laws are written. We want to hear from you; however, the broadcasters and our elected representatives should hear loudly from you as well, because this situation is blatantly unfair with the broadcasters holding all of the cards and you holding the bill.
Photo: Gather around Glasgow folks. We have some serious business to discuss regarding your cable television service. Between now and the end of 2014, we must negotiate new agreements with the broadcast stations, like WBKO, WNKY, WTVF, WHAS, WMYO, and WDRB . These stations have all decided that we cannot continue carrying their signal unless we pay them a sizable sum for permission. It is the size of that sum that we need to discuss. They are asking for staggering increases in the monthly licensing fees. Our Programming Committee, consisting of 5 of your fellow citizens appointed by our Board of Directors, is deeply involved in negotiating the lowest possible rates and best option for our customers.  Here’s our dilemma: We either pay them or stop carrying their signals.

We have now received notices of rate increases ranging from 170% up to 1,000%.  If we keep the channels as they currently stand, based upon these demands we would all see our rates increase approximately $7.60 per month just to pay for these channels.  And make no mistake, this is not applicable to just Glasgow EPB customers, this applies to every cable company across the nation as they negotiate with the broadcast stations.  We are proud to still offer the lowest cable rates in the United States (yes, you did read that correctly – Glasgow enjoys the lowest cable rates in the United States), and we will make every effort to continue to do so.

We predict that most of our customers would say, “Drop them!” when seeing this huge increase based on the broadcasters’ demands. That would be fine with us; however, there is a very sharp hook in that bait. Dropping WHAS and WTVF would leave us without our long-enjoyed access to the Louisville and Nashville news sources that we have relied upon for years.  Dropping WBKO might leave us with no ABC, no FOX, and no CW programming at all, as they have the legal right to refuse us access to other stations that duplicate their service.

By now you are likely shaking your head in amazement that these conditions exist in our country.  After all, can’t we still put up an antenna and get these stations over the air for free? For the Bowling Green stations, that is largely still true. For the Louisville and Nashville broadcasters, that likely would not work anymore. The conversion to digital broadcast technology in 2009 rendered signal acquisition by a homeowner practically impossible if you live  more than 50 miles from the transmitter. That makes Nashville and Louisville stations a big problem. These stations, who use the taxpayer-owned airwaves for free, are allowed to set their prices at whatever rate they desire, simply because a cable company puts up a very tall antenna, catches their broadcasts from the air and distributes them for the convenience of the cable customers and the benefit of the advertisers that pay the broadcaster for distributing their commercials. 

What rights and protections do we have to address this outrage?  Well, not a lot.  In 1992, Congress gave broadcasters the right to demand compensation for their signals, and cable operators were granted few legal options to resist the station owners’ unreasonable pricing and exclusive carriage demands.  As the cost of carrying broadcast stations reaches atmospheric levels, the only solution now is for Congress to update its outdated rules.  There really is no way to avoid that fact.

While we are posting this to give you all a chance to weigh in on these matters, we know that all of our hands are tied due to the way our current laws are written.  We want to hear from you; however, the broadcasters and our elected representatives should hear loudly from you as well, because this situation is blatantly unfair with the broadcasters holding all of the cards and you holding the bill.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An Update on Cable Programming Changes and Negotiations



It is fall in Glasgow. The leaves and landscape are changing, and some changes are coming to EPB’s cable television lineup as well.

Like so many times over the last few months, our negotiations with the programming providers are causing us to reconsider what channels we offer. The first change is about to result in G4 (EPB Channel 147 and HD Channel 552) being dropped from our system on November 30.

As in most programming changes, the reason for this change comes down to money. NBC Universal owns G4, and has announced they will discontinue it in the near future. They also own NBC Sports Network. NBC has just purchased rights to some NASCAR races and has increased the cost of NBC Sports Network to cover the cost of this programming. In order to help us pay the increased cost, they gave us a chance to drop G4, and we are going to take it so as to keep our programming cost increases down.

This is not the last change you will see before the end of the year. We are in discussion with the broadcast stations in Bowling Green, Louisville, and Nashville. The early indications are that the broadcasters are going to ask for whopping increases in the fees we must pay to carry many of those stations. Already one broadcaster has asked for a nearly 400% increase! Simply put, we are not going to pay such ridiculous fees because we would simply have to pass them along to you. Any station that makes such a demand will very likely be dropped from our system at the end of the year.

These discussions will be going on throughout the month of November. We will keep you posted, and even ask for your advice, via our social networking sites so we can make sure to represent your feelings correctly in these discussions.

Stay tuned. The programmers are not through socking it to us through their fee demands. In January we will have to adjust our cable rates to reflect all of our new costs for programming agreements signed during the last half of 2014. We will tell you how all of this is going as soon as we have deals completed.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Criminal Activity in Glasgow -- Wire Theft

There is a new criminal activity taking place around Glasgow and that activity can interrupt your electric service, damage your appliances, and could possibly prove deadly to those committing the crimes. The activity is the theft of copper wire off of the poles up and down your street and in your back yards. Unfortunately, some unsavory characters have begun to notice that wire and they have begun cutting and stealing the wire, and likely selling it for scrap to collect the money.

The dangers in this activity are many. Insufficient current path to ground near your home can cause the voltage supplied to your appliances to swing wildly. Of course, this can cause dramatic failure of your equipment. The activity of cutting the wire can be dangerous as well because those wires do carry current at times.

If you see folks stopping and performing some sort of work on a Glasgow wood pole, and if those folks are not wearing an EPB, SCRTC, or Windstream uniform, then you are likely witnessing illegal activity that can adversely affect your home. Please be on the look out for this kind of activity and call the Glasgow Police Department and report it immediately.

Thank you for your help with this expensive and dangerous new threat to our community.

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