Monday, March 31, 2014

Dark Channels in Glasgow, Why We are Fighting

Monday, March 31, 2014
Dark Channels in Glasgow, Why We are Fighting

Now that the biggest basketball game of this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is over, we have an important update about the big battle going on between Viacom and all small cable systems in the United States. The odds are that all of the channels on our cable system which carry Viacom owned programming, may go dark.

In fact, by the time you read this, they might already be gone. Click on this link www.glasgow-ky.com/viacom for a full listing of the channels involved in this confrontation.

The reason why these channels are likely to go dark is very simple. Contrary to their onscreen messages, negotiations are continuing daily. However, we have been unable to negotiate a reasonable deal for a new contract with Viacom, so they are now attempting to drag you into this conversation by interrupting their programming. Viacom is asking for rate increases for these channels that are so staggering they are laughable. On your behalf, we are refusing to pay what they are asking, because we would then have to pass those increases along to you. We are certain that you would find the increases they are asking for totally unacceptable.

This conflict does give us a chance to review a simple fact about the cable television business. Nearly every single channel of programming you purchase from us, must be, in turn, paid for by us. The worst part of this reality is that the technology is in place to allow each customer to only purchase the channels that they are interested in and willing to pay for. We call this "a la carte" programming, and we think our Congress should mandate that programmers must sell their product this way. But, that is not the situation we are in today. Rather, all programmers force us to deliver their basic programming to everyone if we are going to have access to it for anyone. That means we have to pay for the programming for each of our customers, even though many might not be interested in the programming at all. It is a very greed driven system and it drives up the costs for everyone.

Twenty six of Glasgow EPB's cable channels carry Viacom programming. So, if they go dark, you are very likely to notice, but for many of the channels, there are ways to access the programming online. Please refer to the link www.glasgow-ky.com/viacom/ for information about how this can be done. If the Viacom channels go dark and stay dark such that our cost of programming goes down, we will pass those savings along to you. If we negotiate an acceptable deal with Viacom at the last minute, then this message will have been unnecessary and you won't experience any missing channels.

As they say in the television business, stay tuned for updates!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Will Include Many Cable Programming Issues and Decisions



There is a new link on our website that we hope you have noticed and clicked, www.tvonmyside.com   The Glasgow EPB, along with every other cable company in the country, will be dealing with many issues this year related to cable programming and the outlandish rates many of the programmers will be requesting.  Just in case you may have forgotten, or were unaware, over 90% of the channels on the EPB cable service require that we pay a monthly fee for the right to carry their programming. Some programming already carries a rate of more than $5.00 per subscriber/per month, for one channel!   Preliminary estimates have suggested that programmers will request increases this year of 100%, or more, for some channels. We purchase the majority of our programming through a cooperative called NCTC.  The new link is provided by NCTC to help educate and inform all cable customers of the ongoing negotiations with these various programmers.

Added to this already confusing mix is the fact that we must negotiate with the broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.), to carry them on our cable service.  These are the same channels that just a few short years ago we received via antenna directly into our homes and who negotiated a wonderful deal so that they use our public airwaves for free.  Every three years each cable service across the country must renegotiate with these programmers, and unfortunately 2014 finds all of us in that process again.  We currently pay well over $10,000 per month just for these channels. One more thing to remember, all of the money for programming is removed from the Glasgow economy and sent to a corporation whose CEO typically receives multi-million dollar pay packages.

We’re going to be talking to you a lot in the coming months, and we want your input as we try to make these difficult and costly decisions.  You can always reach us at epb@glasgow-ky.com or on our FB page at Glasgow Electric Plant Board. Or you may contact any of the following local citizens serving on our Programming Committee and who make final recommendations to our Board of Directors relative to all programming matters: Petie McLean, Joe Trigg, Mary Burchett-Bower, Beverly Vance, Karl Napier and Jodi Crane.  
Thursday, February 13, 2014

It was Twenty Years Ago



In light of the date and the present news about the storm affecting so many of our neighbors, we thought you might like to relive (in memory only) our big ice storm. 

The ice storm of 1994 struck on the evening of Thursday, February 10.  The entire area awoke to heavy ice, the sounds of falling branches and uprooting trees, and the inevitable result of electrical outages as the trees and ice destroyed a large part of the Glasgow EPB electric system.  At that time the EPB had a total of 33 employees, all who reported to work as quickly as they could navigate the obstacle course of downed lines and trees, only to find that the majority of the city was without power. It seemed that everyone was calling our office in hopes that we could perform quick fixes.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible as the damage was severe.  For the next five days our employees worked around the clock, rotating shifts for a few quick hours of sleep in a few rooms obtained at a local hotel, on the sofa in our lobby, or in a vacant office.  We resorted to calling Bowling Green, Frankfort and Louisville, who gratefully answered our pleas and sent in additional crews and equipment.  By noon on Saturday approximately one-half of our customers had their power restored, with approximately 90% back in service by midday on Monday.

While those of us who were employees at the time never want to relive those days, we did witness some amazing things about our community.  Did we receive angry, even threatening, phone calls.  Were our crews in the field accosted and even harassed if they stopped for a brief moment to eat a quick meal? Unfortunately, that happened too. People were without a fundamental need, and we were the logical ones to lash out at in the situation.  But they were the minority.  There were far more individuals who found a way to pull together to work through the situation, and even help us in the process. Neighbors reached out to each other and had neighborhood “dinners” prepared on grills as their refrigerators and freezers failed.  Restaurant and grocery store owners came to our offices carrying food that they could no longer use in order to feed our crews and staff.  Both funeral homes opened their doors to act as shelters and provide comfort for those in need.  And people even showed up at our door from nearby cities with chainsaws and gasoline in hand, saying they had heard about our problems and offered to clear ways for our crews to get to some areas. 

During the past 20 years we have made a lot of improvements to our service.  We now have two TVA delivery point substations with alternate feeds that can provide power to our city, and although it upsets some people, immediately after the storm we instituted a  tree trimming policy that helps prevent a repeat of that event.  Our EPB team members are your neighbors, friends and families, and we are proud to have served you for the past 51 years.  While we certainly hope that we never experience another event of that magnitude, please know that we are always here to serve our community – no matter the weather or circumstances.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Friday, January 24, Another Peak Electric Demand Day

Our plans are evolving along with the weather forecast and TVA's system status. We are calling Friday a Blue Level Load Management day here in Glasgow. Just like TVA, but on a n a much smaller scale, we operate Glasgow's System Control center right here in the EPB building, and our folks now predict that we may set a new maximum peak for January on Friday morning, January 24, somewhere between 6:00 and 11:00 am.

We are making our customary appeal. We need for you to pre-warm your home during the night and lower your thermostat a few degrees when you get up Friday morning. We need for you to avoid the use of electric ranges, dishwashers, and clothes dryers through the morning. If you could de-energize your electric water heater through the morning, that would help a lot as well. After the morning passes, you may resume all normal activities and thermostat settings.

This appeal is to help both TVA and Glasgow EPB maintain the stability and economic efficiency of our electric power grid. Thanks for the great response that you always give us during these times!
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

TVA ELECTRIC SYSTEM CRITICAL

VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

While we have been appealing to our customers for reductions to electric power usage during the morning hours for the last couple of days, this morning that appeal has become critical. TVA, the electric power provider for Glasgow, this morning instituted their Emergency Load Curtailment Plan due to extreme conditions regarding their generating capacity.

For the stabil
ity of the electric power grid across the multi-state region, it is essential that all Glasgow EPB customers redouble their efforts to reduce demand through 11:00 am today, January 7. Lower thermostats, switch off electric water heaters, refrain from using major appliances.

This crisis should end with the warmer air coming later in the day. Until then, please heed this warning!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Glasgow Energy Peak Alert - Your Help is Needed!



With the coldest temperatures predicted in 20 years for Monday and Tuesday, January 6th and 7th, TVA has already notified our office that they will be operating in their Conservative Operations mode.  Everything is secure on their system, but they are making plans to ensure that it remains that way, and the Glasgow EPB is also working to protect our system.  However, we can only do so much. We need the help of all of our customers, both at your homes and your businesses, during this exceptionally cold period. 

Please be assured, we would never ask you to endanger your health or the well-being of your property. What we are asking is that you curtail as much electric usage as possible on Monday morning, and particularly on Tuesday morning, when we expect to possibly set a record peak demand for electric power. We need your help between 6:00 am and 11:00 am on both Monday and Tuesday.  Below are just a few suggestions, but we know that each homeowner and business owner can find other creative ways to cut even more usage:

1.     Pre-warm your home or business on Sunday night, and again Monday night.
2.     At about 6:00 am, set your thermostat to 69, or lower if possible.
3.     Do not use electric space heaters during the critical hours.
4.     Limit your use of electric appliances such as ranges, washers, dryers and dishwashers.  If it is necessary to use these items, please do so after 11:00 am.
5.     Use hot water sparingly if you have an electric hot water heater.
6.     Close off areas not being used.
7.     For our business customers, please delay any electric intensive operations until after 11:00 am on Monday and Tuesday; turn off lights and lower thermostats in unused areas.

These are just a few suggestions; let us hear from you how you are finding ways to save electric usage on our Facebook page (Glasgow Electric Plant Board). Remember, you can always monitor real time usage of the entire city at http://portal.glasgow-ky.com/glasgow/ or by going to www.glasgow-ky.com and looking for the graph on the right hand side. 

We have asked in the past for your help, and our customers have always responded.  We are sincerely requesting your assistance again to ensure that our system remains at its optimum operational capacity and that rates remain low for the entire community.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Christmas Wish from Glasgow EPB

Our office will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, in the hope that our team will get some well deserved time with their families. It is our sincere hope that you get to do that as well.

If you have an emergency or suffer an interruption to one of the essential services you buy from us, please give us a call at 651-8341 and we will respond, no matter the date.

We have done a lot of that over the last 48 hours. Many of our folks worked continuously from Saturday evening through late Sunday night, repairing damage done to our networks by ferocious winds and some lightning. While all of the repairs are not complete, we have been able to accomplish many repairs and have implemented temporary fixes to other damage -- things that we hope can wait for permanent repair until after Christmas.

We give thanks during this season for another year in which we have been able to be your "Cavalry" and come to the rescue of many folks who needed help to return their lives to normal. We are thankful to have the opportunity to be of service, and we are thankful that our team has been able to do this work without being seriously injured. It is that for which we are the most thankful.

We do not say that lightly, because it is practically a miracle that we can say that. Conditions like what we had Saturday and Sunday often put our folks in back yards where they encounter a confusing array of downed trees, mud, energized conductors wrapped around an array of communications cables and other devices that present many dangers. This is normally done in total darkness during a driving wind and rain storm. Successfully returning your homes and businesses to the comfort and convenience that we need to make our lives happy, is fraught with many complications and dangers, and we count our blessings that we have a team capable of handling these challenges.

Thank you for choosing Glasgow EPB to perform these tasks for you. We hope that our work brings you the foundation of a wonderfully happy holiday season and that you build pleasant memories that will endure upon that foundation. Merry Christmas to you from all of us at Glasgow EPB!

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