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.
Monday, August 11, 2014

Peaks and Valleys - A New Electric Rate Structure Must Help Tame Them



On Wednesday, August 6, 2014, at 3:00 in the afternoon, the City of Glasgow likely set its maximum peak electrical demand for the month. We recognized this a day ahead of time, based upon our understanding of Glasgow’s electric power customers and the weather forecast for the day.

Though we used nearly every method at our command to notify everyone and ask for help lowering this demand, as you can see from the graphic below, we still set a peak demand that was sharply higher than the previous peak for the month. That means that EPB will pay TVA a lot more money than we would if the demand had remained lower.




This is not the result we need if we are to lower our costs and keep rates the same. But even though the overall result was not what we needed, many folks did comply with our request and lowered their electric power demand during the afternoon hours, mainly by altering their air conditioning settings and avoiding the use of other large appliances during the afternoon. Their average load shape for Wednesday afternoon looks like this:






 This reveals a problem in the way our present electric rates work. Customers like these heeded our call to raise their thermostat setting and avoid other afternoon electric usage. Note how their demand dropped sharply during the time just before and after the time of Glasgow’s 3:00 peak demand. Glasgow EPB’s payment to TVA for the energy required to serve a customer that responds like this is far less. In fact, the approximate wholesale demand charge we incurred to serve this customer on August 6, 2014, was only about $18.

But thousands of our residential customers had a load shape that averaged out looking more like this.



As you can see, this load shape is actually the reverse of what we needed to lower costs. The average residential customer’s demand for the day actually was higher during the afternoon period, and that is the reason why we set a new peak demand. The wholesale cost of the demand from TVA to serve this average customer for that day was about $35.

However, over the whole month of August, both the customers who responded and those who did not, because of the antiquated nature of our retail rates, will pay about the same amount for their electric power for the month. This situation represents an inequity that we must resolve with a new rate structure. It is clear that asking for help is not going to be the ultimate solution to this problem. Eventually we will be putting a new retail rate in place that collects the proper revenue associated with serving each customer, depending on the actual costs created by the way each customer uses energy.

When such a rate structure is in place, there will clearly be winners and losers. For those that can respond to peak demand predictions and lower their consumption during the peak period, like the ones represented by the purple line below, a lower electric bill will be realized. We expect to be able to help people do that through the research we have been doing on water heaters, appliances, and thermostats for the last few years. For those that cause higher costs due to their high demand during Glasgow's peaks, like the ones represented by the blue line below, higher bills will result. 


We will continue this conversation as we learn more and more about how usage patterns impact everyone’s costs. This is only a prelude to the way electric rates will need to evolve over the coming months.However, you can start participating in this new way to think about how you use electric power right now. You can sign up for our EPB Meter Portal and get real-time information on how your home, or business, is  using energy. Just call us and we will help you get signed up for it. You can also apply for our ongoing research project with TVA, wherein we are furnishing, free of charge, a very effective ecobee WiFi enabled thermostat, to study how these devices can be used to help you become a member of the purple line instead of the blue one. Again, if you want to be a part of this early trial of these new concepts, just give us a call at 270-651-8341.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Round-Up time!





About a year ago, your Glasgow EPB began a “round-up” program. You’re familiar with the concept: You decide to participate in the program and the amount of your monthly bill is “rounded up” to the next nearest dollar (the most that could be contributed in a year’s time is $11.88). That additional amount is put into a separate fund where it’s used for a specific purpose.

In the EPB’s case, the money is given to CERF, the Community Emergency Relief Fund. “Community Relief,” as they’re usually known, helps a great number of people in Glasgow and Barren County. They assist with utility bills and other important bills, deposits – they even get people in touch with other agencies for help with things that they don’t handle themselves.

Community Relief has helped many EPB customers, especially when the bills tend to go up in the summer and the winter, when usage is usually higher because of weather extremes. We appreciate the assistance that Community Relief gives to our customers.

We could give Community Relief more money, and give it more often, if more of our customers took part in our Round-Up Program. Out of all of the EPB’s customers, fewer than 100 are currently part of the Round-Up Program. You’ll never miss the small amount you give, but when it’s added to what others contribute, it adds up to a lot of help for local people in need. Please consider becoming a part of the program. You can join with only a phone call to (270) 651-8341. Help spread the word in your family, in your club or at your church: Everyone’s pennies can add up to a lot!


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