Blog Archive

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Roll Over or Get Tough?

It warms our heart to see two titans of the cable television world slugging it out over an issue that has been affecting us in Glasgow for years. As 2008 was coming to a close we were enraged by the heavy-handed demands of broadcast stations in Bowling Green, Nashville, and Louisville, for payment of huge fees for the right to carry their signals on our cable television system. Now it is Time Warner Cable and News Corporation (the owners of the many Fox stations we all know) who are locked in a dispute over the very same thing.

I have to admit cheering when Time Warner introduced this website to educate and take the pulse of their customers on the question of whether they should get tough and refuse to pay the exorbitant fees demanded by Fox or just roll over and pay them, and, in turn, pass the cost along to the customers. On a far, far smaller scale, we have been there and done that. We too have had a long running battle with Fox over their Fox Sports South service and the UK basketball games they own each year. We too have felt the sting of criticism from our customers who feel that no price is too high where a University of Kentucky basketball game is concerned, while the majority of our customers applaud our steadfast refusal to pay Fox Sports South over $100,000 per year for the rights to these games. So, it is nice to see this matter get some serious nationwide attention when two heavy weight contenders climb into the ring.

This article in today’s New York Times does a fine job of examining the problem from all angles. I hope you will click on the link and take a few minutes to read this article. It would also do us all a lot of good for you to ponder this matter and continue to give us feedback on our own struggle to decide between getting tough or rolling over for the demands of all programming providers, but especially the broadcast stations. Less than two years from now we will be locked in discussions with the likes of WBKO, WTVF, WNKY, WSMV, and WHAS again. We will be facing the luxury of having multiple NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox stations from Bowling Green, Nashville, and Louisville, versus the financial reality that these stations are demanding dramatically escalating payments for programming which was designed to be sent out over the airwaves for free.

The really frustrating part of this is that the entities demanding the outrageous fees always hold some sort of popular programming as a hostage - most of the time it is sports programming of some sort, and we as a society seem all too willing to negotiate, and pay the ransom, demanded by the hostage takers. Perhaps the most telling part of the NYT article linked above is at the end when Senator John Kerry is quoted as calling upon Time Warner and News Corporation to hurry up and reach an agreement because "millions of football fans are depending on it." Are we as a people willing to thus negotiate with hostage takers? You betcha.

Should we roll over or should we get tough and actually drop some of these stations because they are asking for too much money? You now have less than two years to let us know before we face the same matter that the people of New York, Los Angeles and other cities are facing right now. Please let us know how you feel.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Go Ahead - Open It Now!

We’ve got some new stuff for you, and we just cannot wait any longer. First of all, your internet service has been upgraded! Our standard cable modem download speed of 1.5 Mbps is now 2.5 Mbps. Our second tier speed that was 4 Mbps is now 5 Mbps. Merry Christmas! This is not going to increase your service cost. Double Merry Christmas!

There is one thing you need to do to make your cable modem download the new speed limit. You need to go to your cable modem, determine where its power cord is, and unplug it for thirty seconds. After that brief pause, plug it back in and give it a few minutes to reconfigure itself, then start enjoying your early Christmas present from the EPB. We hope that everyone will take a minute to perform this operation. While we could make a rather drastic move and operate a switch at a substation that would power cycle all cable modems at once, (along with all other power consuming devices in town) well . . . that is a really dramatic action that we would rather not take.

But wait, there’s more! If you subscribe to our HD (High Definition) tier of programming, you have another gift to unwrap. Coming to your HD cable box right now is about 20 new HD channels! To get these new channels, you don’t really have to do anything. Right now the new channels are being downloaded to the I-Guide on your HD box and you will be able to start enjoying all of this new HD programming in time for all of your holiday gatherings. And, like the speedier internet service discussed above, there is no additional charge for these new channels. Further, if you are getting a new HD television for Christmas, there is even more good news! We will waive our regular $30 HD installation charge until the end of the year if you sign up soon while we still have installation slots left.

Merry Christmas Glasgow, from your EPB team!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How About Some Less Expensive Energy for the Holidays?

The rate you pay for electric power will, once again, go down a little in December. This is another rather bizarre situation wherein the EPB rate is increasing overall just under 3%, but the TVA FCA (Fuel Cost Adjustment) is going down about 5.5% at the same time. That means that our customers will see an average reduction in the rate they pay of about 2.5% for December. But, as we have warned you in the past, don’t get too used to that low rate because it will surely go back up over the next several months. Of course, the amount of your bill will depend, as always, on how much energy you use.

For the EPB’s part, the rate increase is necessary raise the funds necessary to make the payments on the new substation we are building. This new facility will provide Glasgow with a second route for energy to enter the city and will increase our network dependability as we strive to refurbish the old single delivery point substation that has served our community for the last thirty five years. Construction is already taking place on this new substation and it should be in service by the end of 2010.

If you want to examine the newest effective electric power rate schedule in detail, you can get a paper copy at our office or you can view it online at this link.

The TVA FCA has been going down now for the last several months due to the fact that this unusually mild weather, coupled with our economic doldrums, has resulted in far less energy being consumed. Of course, with less energy consumption, there comes a dramatically reduced need to purchase fuel to consume in TVA’s production of electric power. However, their forecast is for this trend to reverse (who doesn’t want to forecast that the economy will improve?) and that the FCA will start increasing the net cost of power for the next six months.

Of course, all of this rate activity will ultimately result in a total change in the way energy is sold throughout the region which will take effect in October 2010. This change will be the new TOU (Time Of Use) rate that we have been talking with you about for many months. But, until then, enjoy the lower power rates for your holiday events during December! For, just like most good things (and bad for that matter), this too shall pass.