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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 Brings Three Things to Glasgow

So far, trying to peer into 2011 has been constantly hampered by constant snow fall, but there are big issues for us to ponder. Gather around the monitor and we will chat for a bit about 2011 and three of the things that it will bring to Glasgow.

In February Glasgow EPB will be bringing East Glasgow Primary Substation on line. That means Glasgow will go from getting all of its electric power through a single, 1974 vintage, substation, to an arrangement where half of it comes through the old substation and the other half comes through an ultra-modern, 2011 vintage, facility. At the same time, we will be upgrading our structure at Gorin Park where Glasgow can also receive power from East Kentucky Power during a brief emergency (and the flip side is also true as we will be able to help deliver power to East Kentucky and its local distributor, Farmers RECC, more effectively should they have the need). These improvements will dramatically increase our chances of avoiding very long outages that could occur if our old delivery point substation were to suffer a catastrophic failure. This is a good thing which will enhance our lives in Glasgow as we look forward into a future where violent weather events are more and more common.

While the work is winding down on the new substation, we are also doing serious remodeling and refurbishing work on some other substations and transmission lines in Glasgow. When all of this is completed in early 2011, your electric power grid will have new life and reliability. Of course, even after this “facelift” a well placed squirrel, bird, snake, tree, or errant vehicle can still cause a power outage. So don’t throw out your flashlight and battery operated radio just yet.

Around the middle of the year the second big thing will hit Glasgow in the form of TOU (Time Of Use) electric rates. Since the coming of electric power to our region, that power has been priced on a cents per kWH basis such that the cost was the same no matter when power was consumed. However, over the last several years, due to aging TVA generating plants and the cost of replacing them, the cost of producing power at different times of the day now varies wildly. This year those fluctuating costs will finally be experienced by the users of that power. By mid-2011, if folks are willing to take steps to change the way they use energy, this change could mean lower electric bills. If folks refuse to pay attention and alter their usage patterns, electricity bills will go up considerably.

As the next few weeks unfold, we will be using this newsletter, our television advertising, our blog, our Facebook page (please "like" the Glasgow Electric Plant Board Facebook page if you haven't already!), and every other form of local media to communicate with you about this changing electric power environment. Stay tuned and be prepared to alter the way you interact with your appliances and we can all enjoy the fact that Glasgow has been preparing for this change for many years. We do not have to fear this change!

The third item will not hit us until the last couple of months of 2011, but it is not too early to start thinking about it. At the end of the year we will be negotiating with broadcasters for permission to carry them on our cable system. The negotiations will be very predictable. They will all want more money in exchange for permission for us to carry them. We will be wanting to pay less, or nothing for that permission, and you will be deciding how tough we should be in those discussions. We are anxious to see if the same thinking that swept so many ultra conservative candidates into our Congress will be echoed locally on this subject. Did you know that we are now forced to pay broadcasters like WBKO over $40,000 per year for the rights to put up an antenna, pick up their signal out of the air, and deliver it to you? Do you realize that three years ago when we last negotiated these rates the community asked that we carry even more stations from Nashville and Louisville and that these demands resulted in payments like this to multiple stations in Bowling Green, Nashville, and Louisville (do we really need this many broadcast stations?) and that this resulted in higher cable television rates? Will local folks demand more broadcast channels again this fall, or will the anger over irresponsible spending in our Congress spread to Glasgow and become a demand for us to cut out some broadcasters to save money? Are we really willing to cut services and spending on services to ourselves, or is this just brave talk? These questions must be answered right here in Glasgow as 2011 unfolds.

It is going to be a great year!

2 comments:

robekkar said...

What steps can we take to keep our electric bill at the same price or lower with the new charging rates coming in mid 2011?

Billy Ray said...

We will be getting out a lot of information in the coming weeks, but the simplest way to save money in the rate environment will be very easy to remember. During the summer months of June, July, August, and September, refrain from using large appliances between noon and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays. All other times, including all weekend hours, will be off-peak and energy will be less expensive then.