Blog Archive

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Storms, Trees, and Newspaper Articles

Today's Glasgow Daily Times has an excellent article about the recent storms and the problems they have caused us in dealing with the damage. While the article is completely accurate and true to what I said in the board meeting, I should have done a better job of explaining myself in that meeting. So, I am going to try that now.

The problematic part of my remarks related to downed conductors during storms. No matter what the tone of my remarks was in the meeting and in the article, the one thing that must be remembered is that any downed conductor should be treated as if it were energized and deadly. Although my remarks sounded fine to me as I said them (I'm sure this surprises no one), when I read them in the Glasgow Daily Times, they sounded terrible.

I was trying to explain the problems of having enough personnel to respond to the many calls about downed conductors during several days of intense storms. While it is true that we often can make a judgement about whether a conductor is energized or not from our dispatch center using our telemetry, we still want to get someone out to look at each of them before anyone touches, drives over, or comes near any downed conductor. The problem is, when we have thousands of folks without power and it is 2:00 a.m. and we have only a limited number of folks to respond, it is likely to take a while for us to get there to take a look at a downed conductor. Calling 911 instead of our number does not help the situation at all, it fact, it endangers folks who may have critical information to get to the emergency services folks.

This line of intense, day-after-day weather taxes our team that is designed to be responsive to the sort of weather we get 98% of the time. The only message we meant to get out is that unusually violent weather can cause our response to take longer than usual and we all need to recognize that. But, even if you have to wait a while, treat all downed conductors as deadly energized hazards until someone from our team can arrive to survey the situation.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Roll Over or Get Tough?

When we fill our vehicles with fuel these days it is impossible not to feel powerless in the face of the big oil companies. When we paid our taxes this week, it is certain that we all felt we paid too much, but we felt just as powerless to change that. We watch the budget process in Washington and in Frankfort and we see waste and greed but we see no way for us little folks in Glasgow to stop it. We feel powerless on all of these matters, but there is another budget battle coming that you can make a difference in – the cost of your cable television service from Glasgow EPB.

The biggest expense we have in providing your television service is what we pay for the programming you enjoy, and that big expense is getting so big that it can no longer be ignored. When we started our cable service in 1988, we charged $13.50 per month for classic basic cable. In the next twenty three years we increased the price we charge for classic basic by just over 100% while the programmers increased their fees 650%! You do not have to be a financial wizard to see how much pressure the programming cost puts on the rates you pay for cable. Just last month, one of Glasgow’s favorite channels, Fox News, increased their fees by 300%! And you thought the oil companies were greedy?

Before the end of this year we will get a chance to strike back against some of the programmers, the broadcast stations to be specific, as they all have to decide if we can carry them on our cable system for the next three years and what that privilege will cost us. You can actually participate in this decision as it will be made right here in Glasgow and we will do what the majority of our customers demand. Should we continue to roll over for the likes of WBKO and WNKY and the many other broadcast stations we carry out of Nashville and Louisville, or should we get tough and drop them if they cannot control their greed? We have until the end of the year on these decisions, so you have time to think about it and get back to us. Could we live with only one ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox station? Must we have duplicates from Nashville and Louisville? Could we live with an ABC from Nashville instead of WBKO in Bowling Green? Here is your chance to be empowered. What will you decide?