Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The New Electric Rates are Real, and Coming Soon!

A couple of months have passed since we first talked with our customers about the dramatically different way that electric bills will be calculated beginning January 2016, so maybe it is time for us to talk about it some more. These hot summer days are providing a great example for why the rates must change, and they also provide excellent opportunity for us all to practice changing the way we use energy so as to save money under the new rates.

We can offer no better advice for all Glasgow residents than to urge you to go to https://portal.glasgow-ky.com/ and sign up/sign in to the EPB Meter Portal which is has been created for every account in the Glasgow EPB electric service area. This real-time resource will help explain the new rates, give you comparison bills calculated using the old rate and the new rate so that you can see how the rate may impact you, and give you feedback on your efforts to reduce the all important "KW during our Peak" amount (the most dramatic difference between the old billing and the new billing rates).

The graphic shown here is from that portal for one of our homes. See that blue highlighted area? That means that during those hours there is a  high probability that Glasgow will hit a new maximum kW demand for the month. We are making these predictions and showing them to you in this easy to read format to remind everyone to make efforts to reduce electric power consumption during those hours. The new rate will track your actual contribution to community peak demands and you will be billed accordingly. 

So, what you should be practicing is your home's, or your business's response to these projected peak demands. Keeping your red line on the graph low during the peak hours will result in a much smaller electric bill in 2016 and beyond. You can do that by moving your thermostat to a higher temperature during the afternoon and delaying any other power intensive activity. Now is the time to work on your understanding of this new electric rate concept. Next year, this will all become very real. We want you to be prepared.

Friday, May 1, 2015

What the Smart Energy Technology Solution Project Award to Glasgow Means



By now we hope you have heard that Glasgow EPB’s proposed Smart Energy Technology Solution (SETS) was chosen for funding. That immediately means that money will come to our community, but it also means that our community will reap long term benefits. Our proposed demonstration of what the next generation of electric utility should look like was judged to be the most likely to provide really new ideas for all local power companies. We are excited as a team, and we are ecstatic that the community is working together to bring these research dollars into the local economy. In the history of our community, this direct injection of capital exceeds nearly every other grant that has ever landed here. But perhaps now it is time to fill the community in on more of just what this money is going to buy us.

This research was announced several years ago. From the very beginning, the EPB team felt our community was perfectly situated to demonstrate smart energy technology. The EPB mission statement dictates that we provide our services “at costs that make them practical and improve the standard of living for all of the people of Glasgow.” We take that mission statement to heart in everything we do. Glasgow’s municipally owned broadband network, and all of the other advanced technology deployed by EPB, flow from our determination to accomplish that mission. Now the SETS will add to our process of innovation in support of our mission.

The basis for our move to build a broadband network in 1988 flowed from our “infotricity” theory. Simply put, infotricity is the combination of broadband networks (information) and electricity to produce a system that manages energy - minute by minute. The goal is to contain consumption to the generation capacity that can be operated most efficiently. This idea is a complete change from the way we have operated electric power systems for the last century. Since the beginning, we have allowed the random demand for electricity to dictate the construction of a constantly growing set of generation plants. As those plants grew, so did the cost of electric power to pay for the additional plants. Even worse, we have really never paid for all of the costs (which include healthcare, depletion of fresh water, and environmental impact of acquiring the fuel necessary to run the plants) associated with our increasing demand for electricity during only a few hours of some days.

We proposed a project that connects infotricity theory, new infotricity retail rates, and several elements of research already performed here in Glasgow, to even newer technology ideas that are evolving presently. Glasgow EPB customers will get the opportunity to apply for extreme energy make-overs to their homes, ecobee Wifi enabled thermostats, GE Geospring heat pump water heaters, as well as very new home battery systems that will store off-peak energy and supply that energy to home energy needs during on-peak hours. We think we can install these technologies, control them with new software that builds upon everything we have already learned about predicting Glasgow’s monthly peak demand using the best available weather prediction and load prediction tools, to prove that Glasgow’s total electric demand can be reshaped to better fit within the capacity of generation plants - with a much lower impact on our economy and our environment. If we are right, Glasgow residents will benefit greatly and the utility industry as a whole will have a model for each of them to follow for their respective communities.

All of this work is on a very tight schedule. After we get contracts with our vendors executed, we will evaluate customers who indicate an interest in this project. They will be asked to provide extensive data so that we can evaluate what technologies, or ultra-efficient improvements, might work to reshape their daily demand. Those customers determined to be a good match for the project will be offered contracts that will cover the details of participation in SETS, and those that choose to sign, will be receiving some or all of the technologies we want to study.

Here is how we think all of the elements of our SETS project will work together. Every day Glasgow EPB will use weather forecasts and load projections to attempt to predict the likely days and times for Glasgow’s monthly peak hour demand. Using those predictions, we will help customers who agree to be a part of the research reduce their demand during the predicted peak times by instructing the water heater to heat water the night before, the thermostat to pre-warm (or pre-cool) the house before the predicted peak, and the battery system to charge with off-peak energy and discharge energy to the home during peak hours. All of these functions should work together, using Glasgow’s broadband network and EPB’s internet-connected electric meters, to dramatically reduce the Coincident Peak Demand charge that is an element of the new Infotricity Retail Rates.

Beyond just helping Glasgow customers reduce their bills under the new rates, reshaping a community’s total energy demand will help our energy supplier run fewer generation plants to supply our needs. When other communities replicate our work, the reduction in generation needs should come down dramatically. As fewer generation plants are needed to supply our energy needs, the door will swing open for the installation of more generation that uses renewable energy sources, like solar and wind. Since Glasgow’s new Infotricity Rates will free Glasgow EPB from the need to sell more energy to produce the revenue necessary to support the maintenance of our infrastructure, Glasgow EPB will become a resource for helping all of its customers explore these new technologies and how they might be used for Glasgow homes and businesses.

Glasgow EPB’s mission statement provided the basis for our ongoing interest in our infotricity theories. This SETS project will provide us the funding necessary to prove those theories and, in doing so, provide that improved standard of living that our team is committed to accomplish. The SETS will not be the end of our efforts in that regard, it is only our latest initiative. More of these projects will surely follow, and we will continue to search for all opportunities to make our community a better place to live.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This is a Really Big Deal!

We have exciting news! Glasgow has been awarded a large grant to the Glasgow EPB and our partners, University of Louisville, Billstron, Move the Peak, and Strata G through the Smart Energy Technology Project. This award is the culmination of several months of collaboration among our partners and intense competition with other distributors, and will provide many new opportunities to explore innovative methods of energy savings, sustainability, and the ways our customers interact with new retail rates and technology. We expect that this research will be replicated across not only the TVA region, but the entire country. We thank TVA, our Board of Directors, Mayor Doty, and our customers who provide endless support and willingness to participate in continuing research efforts. More information will be provided on this project in the near future.
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.

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