Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Farewell Janice Crenshaw

Janice Crenshaw was not a long term member of the EPB team. She did not join us because of her education and experience at operating complex networks or business systems. One might think that her unexpected passing on Monday, June 9 wouldn't have a big impact on us, but that would be far from true. Both Janice’s life, and her passing, will have a profound impact on our team, and on our community.

Janice Crenshaw joined our team initially as a member of our Cable Television Programming Committee. She earned a reputation there as a thoughtful and active representative of our customers as we wrestled with tough decisions relative to programming choices and the cost of those choices. A little over two years ago when we needed a temporary employee to fill in for another team member on maternity leave, we were able to convince Janice to take that job. That decision was not a simple one for Janice because she was also very involved in helping others through her work for American Red Cross. Janice had agreed to be one of the folks that Red Cross sends in to help folks in neighborhoods afflicted by some sort of disaster. She was a natural for that kind of work.

Somehow we pulled her away from that assignment and Janice joined the EPB team. After that, she immediately began to change us all with her limitless concern for others. We learned from her about solving conflict with love instead of brute force. She taught us how to sow calm and harvest understanding. She also taught us about the pure joy of sharing, and we are all a bit heavier because of her favorite thing to share – wonderful home cooking delivered when you least expected it, and for no reason other than the joy of friendship.

The lessons of love that Janice taught us at Glasgow EPB were also shared with scores of friends and family throughout our community. Together, we all grieve her unexpected, and far too early passing. For our part, we hope to honor her by adhering to her example and passing her caring ways along to our community. Godspeed to you Janice Crenshaw. Thanks for the many lessons you taught us

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Of EPA, Coal, Greenhouse Gases, and Glasgow

Monday’s announcement that EPA will soon implement new restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants seems to have already caused everyone to chose a side and decide who they should hate relative to this new initiative. Just in case there are any local folks who have not yet chosen a side, I offer some non-political thoughts on what EPA is trying to do, and how it might impact us all, nationally and locally.

Since Monday it seems that nearly all of Kentucky’s congressional delegation (and those who are presently trying to enter that delegation) is 100% committed to opposing the new regulations. Since these sides and positions were chosen so quickly, one must infer that this is done to gain the favor of an industry that often gives big dollars to political campaigns – the coal industry. Make no mistake, the positions already taken by our legislators can have nothing to do with making the lot of us Kentuckians better, because they have not had the time necessary to totally understand the impact of the new regulations. That has to make us all feel that they take this position as the spokespersons for the coal industry, not as representatives of our welfare. I am about to suggest that there is a middle ground.

Beyond the elected folk, there is already great opposition to the new regulations because we have been told that electric power rates will soar. Even if that were true, should we not also take into account the nagging little issue that burning coal causes a warehouse full of health and climate issues, most of which, if properly monetized in the same recognizable form as our monthly power bill, would dwarf the economic impact of higher electric bills? Don’t take my word for it. I am not a climate expert. I’m not even a chemist, but I know there are such folks in the world, experts who have earned the right to warn us about climate change, and one must be consciously drowning them out not to hear, and recognize, that we probably are slowly destroying everything we love with each kWh produced by burning fossil fuel.

Just how much might our monthly electric bills change under this new regulatory environment? Well, that is a subject I am qualified to speak on. Like most things, the answer depends on how you ask the question. For example, if the electric power industry continues to do tomorrow, pretty much what it did yesterday (that is the favorite method of operating for my utility fraternity), the impact on your electric bills, locally and nationally, would be staggering. But in the real world, we ought to expect that new economics would bring about new solutions, new ideas, and an evolution of thinking about how electric power should be supplied to our communities. Auto makers responded to evolving fuel costs and pollution regulations by producing cleaner and more efficient cars and trucks. Surely the electric power industry can do as well as they have done. In 2014 and beyond, we should be able to design electric power solutions that are yearning to become viable, needing only a little change to the status quo to flourish.

If you happen to be a customer of Glasgow EPB, you already know how we have been changing our relationship with you over the last couple of years. We are attempting to predict when our peak demand might occur and we are telling you about that, and researching technologies that will allow us to work together to help mitigate those peaks, with very little impact on the way we live our lives. Coming soon will be a totally new retail rate structure that will amplify those peak predictions and assign costs to customers based upon the time of day when they use energy. These are solutions that are designed to work with more stringent regulations on TVA and other utilities, and help them accomplish the goals of these new regulations. These experiments we have been doing are proving that we can reduce our dependence on coal fired, and other less efficient forms of generation, by learning how to moderate the way we deliver, and charge you for electric power, effectively reshaping the demand which generation resources must deliver. So, there are ways to move ahead and utilize cleaner electric power generation resources. There are solutions that will allow us to enjoy life and electric power, while we also turn back the clock on the impact we are having on our air, water, and climate.

Before you chose a side and start lambasting the other side for its lack of sophistication, remember there are possibilities that are available today. We are not bound by the way we operated utilities for the last century. We have a chance to use this chaotic time to our advantage. We are ready, at least as ready as any community in our country, to move toward a lasting peace, instead of joining in a war that seems already to be declared.
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



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!