FPB approves plan for local after-hours service

In the coming months, Frankfort Plant Board customers can rest easy that calls to report outages will be answered locally. At its regular January meeting, FPB’s Board of Directors approved a plan for a local Network Operations Center (NOC) and after-hours dispatch. This move continues a process that aims to improve after-hours service for customers and safety conditions for employees.

The board approved staff’s recommendation in July 2018 to hire a director to develop and manage a NOC. This department would be responsible for regular and after-hours dispatch, customer outage management, after-hours customer contacts, facility locates and emergency responses.

Recognizing the need to enhance these services, $535,000 in funding was included in the 2018-19 budget and approved by the board in June 2018 to develop the NOC.

Deron Rambo, FPB’s newly-hired NOC Manager, presented the plan which included information about staffing, training, duties and supports, quality assurance, outage and trouble reporting model, utility locates, and the Land Mobile Radio Network.

In addition to the NOC manager, the department will employ a staff of eight who will rotate work in 12-hour shifts, monitoring the radio 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“A local NOC could help appease customers as they call in and talk with someone who knows Frankfort and its streets and roads,” said FPB Public Information Coordinator Cathy Lindsey. “It is also safer for on-call crews who may respond to a call at night that someone locally knows where they are.”

Rambo indicated that if all goes according to plan, the NOC should be up and running this spring.

In other business, the board agreed to hold a public hearing at a special meeting of the Frankfort Plant Board on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, at 5 p.m. to discuss increasing the rate for Classic Cable service, Bulk cable I and Bulk cable II.

The public notice proposes to increase the Classic Cable tier (channels 2-98) rate from $63.50 per month to $67.00 per month effective March 1, 2019. The increase is required to keep pace with annual increases in wholesale license fees FPB must pay to programmers. In fact, 83 percent of the cable bill does not stay with FPB. This increase represents a complete pass-thru to the programmers.

FPB has worked to keep increases to a minimum by decreasing operating expenses. This is the first proposed rate increase in Classic Cable in two years.

In other news, the board approved renewing FPB’s insurance policies and pollution liability, and  renewing a 3-year contract with NBCUniversal to continue carrying the following networks: USA, NBC Sports Network, Syfy, Oxygen, Bravo, E!, CNBC, MSNBC, and Golf Channel on Classic Cable; Universal Kids and Olympic Channel on Preferred Cable; and Olympics programming. This agreement, which also covers streaming and Video On Demand rights, represents programming license fee increases of 8.5 percent in the first year and 5.5 percent in years two and three.

Finally, the board reviewed a promotional spot for its new Round Up for Change program. Round Up for Change offers FPB customers the opportunity to round up their monthly bill to the next highest dollar. The difference will go to Bluegrass Community Action Partnership’s (BGACP) Winter Care program.

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Scattered Outages 12/27/18

FPB Crews are working several scattered outages across Franklin County caused by high winds. Crew are working to restore services as quickly as possible. Cable-Telecom outages may also occur in these areas. 

Outage Areas Include: Mills Lane, Hanks Lane, Ninevah Road, Shady Lane, Country Lane, Westland Drive, and Old US 60.

Crews are working to restore service as quickly and as safely as possible. 

FPB launches Round Up for Change

The Frankfort Plant Board will soon launch a new program to aid winter care resources. Round Up for Change offers FPB customers the opportunity to round up their monthly bill to the next highest dollar. The difference will go to Bluegrass Community Action Partnership’s (BGACP) Winter Care program.

 Winter Care funds are available to those most in need to pay utility bills for winter services. In addition to Winter Care, BGCAP offers community services like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization program.

 “The pennies contributed by each customer to Round Up for Change, when combined with the pennies of other customers, could make a real difference in some lives,” said Cathy Lindsey, FPB public information coordinator. “This is a real example of community helping community.”

 Each participating FPB customer could contribute an estimated $6 per year – a small amount to help a worthy cause. If 20,000 FPB customers participated, approximately $120,000 could be contributed annually to the Winter Care fund to assist Frankfort’s community members most in need.

 Round Up for Change, a voluntary program, will be available beginning Jan. 2, 2019. Customers can sign up or opt out at any time by completing the Round Up for Change form, which is available online or at the FPB office on Flynn Ave.

 In addition to the Round Up for Change program, FPB also offers customers the opportunity to contribute to Winter Care in lump sums every month on their bills. This is a tax-deductible contribution to BGCAP. Funds are distributed by BGCAP when client assessment identifies a need in the home. Winter Care funds received from FPB are used for FPB clients only.

 For more information, go to https://fpb.cc/round-up-for-change or call (502) 352-4372. FPB customers in need of Winter Care assistance can contact the BGCAP Franklin County office at 502-695-5615.

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Boil Water Advisory lifted for Northwood

The Water Department of the Frankfort Plant Board is notifying you that the Division of Water of the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection has now canceled the Boil Water Advisory.

This Advisory was issued 12/3/18 due to the loss of pressure in the water main caused by Plant Board crews repairing a water main break.

The area affected was:

·       121 to 153 Northwood Rd

If you should have any questions or problems with normal service or water quality please call 352-4372.

Water Service Interruption and Boil Water Advisory - Northwood Road

Water service has been interrupted on Northwood in order to repair a water main leak. Water service will be restored as quickly and as safely as possible. 

The Water Department of the Frankfort Plant Board advises to boil the water before drinking or using it for cooking. The advisory is in effect for the following area:

·      120 - 153 Northwood Rd

A vigorous boil for at least two minutes is recommended. This Boil Water Advisory is a precautionary measure due to a loss of pressure in the water main caused by Plant Board crews repairing a water main leak.

This Advisory will remain in effect until lab analysis of water samples taken confirms that the potable water supply in the effected area is safe to drink. You will receive a notice when this advisory is lifted.

If you have any questions concerning the Boil Water Advisory please call 352-4372.

Support Services Director Mark Redmon Retires

Staff of the Frankfort Plant Board would like to congratulate Support Services Director Mark Redmon on his retirement and thank him for his 26 years of service to FPB.

“FPB has been a staple of the Frankfort community for more than 75 years, and we owe that success to our employees,” said Cathy Lindsey, FPB public information coordinator. “Today we say goodbye to one of the best. Mark Redmon has been with FPB for more than a third of the company’s existence and has built a successful career here in his hometown. We wish him the best as he retires and enjoys his next adventure.”

Mark started at FPB in 1992 as a stock clerk. He was promoted to inventory control coordinator and then support services director in 2005 where he leads the department in charge of the operations that keep FPB running – inventory, stock room, garage, maintenance of all FPB facilities, fleet vehicles and equipment, grounds crew, janitorial services and purchasing.

“Mark is one of the unsung heroes behind the scenes,” said Assistant General Manager Vent Foster. “He has been an excellent manager for years, and we are going to miss him and all the experience he has. We want to thank him for all that he has done for FPB.”

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Boil Water Advisory - Fannin Court

The Water Department of the Frankfort Plant Board advises to boil the water before drinking or using it for cooking. The advisory is in effect for the following area:

·       Fannin Ct

A vigorous boil for at least two minutes is recommended. This Boil Water Advisory is a precautionary measure due to a loss of pressure in the water main caused by Plant Board crews tying in the new water main.

This Advisory will remain in effect until lab analysis of water samples taken confirms that the potable water supply in the affected area is safe to drink. You will receive a notice when the advisory is lifted.

If you have any questions concerning the Boil Water Advisory, please call 352-4372.

FPB makes moves to prepare customers for winter

The Frankfort Plant Board is taking proactive steps to prepare customers for the hardships that accompany colder weather. Between energy-saving tips, gifting opportunities and connections with Blue Grass Community Action, FPB is on a campaign to provide customers with the resources they need to stay warm this season.

“We care about our customers and are doing what we can to help,” said General Manager Gary Zheng. “Beyond sharing information about energy efficiency, weatherization assistance and energy assistance programs, we are also offering our community opportunities to support each other in the spirit of the holiday season.”

FPB kicked off its “Winter is coming!” campaign downtown last Friday night at the Candlelight Tradition. Electric crew members were on hand with a light board to demonstrate the efficiency of light emitting diodes (LED) bulbs as compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. LEDs typically use about 65 to 80 percent less energy and can last 25 times longer. The team also gave away more than 250 LED bulbs and other information to encourage energy efficiency.

FPB is also producing eight 30-second spots focused on tips that will help customers save energy and money during the cold months. These will run on FPB cable and will be featured on social media, in FPB’s lobby and on FPB’s website at https://fpb.cc/energy-saving-tips.

Beginning Dec. 3, FPB will offer gift certificates through its new POWER program. POWER stands for Providing Others Water and Electric Resources. The program allows a gift-giver to credit the Frankfort Plant Board account of the customer of his or her choosing.

The POWER gift certificate works more like a credit. While a traditional gift certificate can get lost or stolen, the POWER credit is deposited directly into the recipient’s FPB account upon purchase. FPB will automatically deduct the amount of purchase from the recipient’s next bill.

“If you prefer to give practical gifts, this is for you,” said Public Information Coordinator Cathy Lindsey. “POWER makes a great gift for young adults trying to make it on their own, families in need or senior citizens.”

FPB recognizes that some may want to share the power of giving but do not have a specific customer account to designate. That’s where the Winter Care program comes in. This is a program with Blue Grass Community Action Partnership (BGCAP). BGCAP offers community services like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Winter Care and the Weatherization program.

FPB customers may notice a box on their bill labeled as Winter Care. This gives the opportunity for a tax-deductible donation that will be given to BGCAP. Winter Care funds are available to those most in need to pay utility bills for winter services. Funds are distributed by BGCAP when client assessment identifies a need in the home. Winter Care funds received from FPB are used for FPB clients only.

FPB customers in need of Winter Care assistance can contact the BGCAP Franklin County office at 502-695-5615.

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Road Closure planned, KY-420 will be closed to traffic this Sunday

The Frankfort Plant Board will close KY-420 to traffic this Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This closure is required for electric crews to replace underground electric facilities that run under the state parking garage on KY-420. The road will be closed from the intersection of KY-676 and KY-420 at the east-west connector to the intersection of Todd St. and Murray St.     

Boil Water Advisory - Conway and Fourth St. area

The Water Department of the Frankfort Plant Board advises to boil the water before drinking or using it for cooking. The advisory is in effect for the following area:

·       W 4th St from Ewing St to Conway St

·       Conway St from W 4th St to W 3rd St

·       403 and 327 W 3rd St

·       395 Ewing St

A vigorous boil for at least two minutes is recommended. This Boil Water Advisory is a precautionary measure due to a loss of pressure in the water main caused by Plant Board crews installing new main line valves.

This Advisory will remain in effect until lab analysis of water samples taken confirms that the potable water supply in the affected area is safe to drink. You will receive a notice when the advisory is lifted.

If you have any questions concerning the Boil Water Advisory, please call 352-4372.

 

FPB staff and board to welcome new General Manager

Gary Zheng brings more than 30 years of experience to the position.

The Frankfort Plant Board officially named Gary Zheng as the new General Manager of the community’s municipal utility. Recognized in the industry as an effective executive, Zheng brings with him more than 30 years of experience in electrical utilities with 15 years in executive positions.

“The board was most impressed with Gary’s well-rounded resume,” said FPB Board Chair Anna Marie Pavlik Rosen. “His extensive education, his municipal utility experience from basic levels to leadership roles, and his strong background of working with government and interagency organizations made him the standout candidate.”

Zheng holds a bachelor’s, a master’s and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, in addition to a master’s in computer engineering.

He worked 17 years for Lubbock Power & Light (LP&L), the third largest municipal electric system in Texas serving more than 100,000 electrical meters and 85,000 water meters. Zheng served as President and CEO for nine years. During that time, he turned around the company that was near bankruptcy by increasing efficiency and productivity and improving customer service, all while providing the lowest retail electric rates in Texas.

Zheng strategically built LP&L’s brand name in a competitive market. He negotiated long-term purchase power contracts and increased the proportion of renewable resources in LP&L’s energy portfolio to more than nine percent.

The board was also impressed with Zheng’s involvement and work with the Lubbock community. In addition to increasing transparency with the public and raising confidence and trust in LP&L, Zheng served on numerous boards for industrial and non-profit organizations.

No stranger to Kentucky, Zheng served two years as General Manager of Paducah Power System (PPS) and General Manager of the Kentucky Municipal Power Agency (KMPA). There he was responsible for the transmission and distribution of a power system serving 23,000 customers, its 124 MW natural gas power plant and business service. He also managed energy trading, negotiation of long-term contracts and securing transmission service from MISO and Louisville Gas and Electric/Kentucky Utilities for KMPA.

Zheng will start in his new position at FPB Oct. 15. His plate will be full as each division has two major projects underway. The electric department will transfer to a new power supply in May 2019 and is in the beginning phase of implementing Advanced Metering Infrastructure. The Water Department will also implement AMI and needs to replace the 135-year-old reservoir. The Cable/Telecom Department is replacing and upgrading 20-year-old amplifiers and line extenders and is in phase one of a Fiber-To-The-Home project.

David Denton CPA, FPB’s Finance Director, has served as Interim General Manager since Nov. 1, 2017 when former GM Herbbie Bannister retired. The board thanks Denton for his skilled efforts in this position. He will return to his finance position.

“This is an exciting time for FPB, the board and our customers,” Rosen said. “We are confident that Gary Zheng will continue the momentum of the new projects in each utility and will make great contributions to our community.”

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Boil Water Advisory on Shore Acres Rd. - 9/26/18

The Water Department of the Frankfort Plant Board advises to boil the water before drinking or using it for cooking. The advisory is in effect for the following area:

·       1300 to 1960 Shore Acres Rd

A vigorous boil for at least two minutes is recommended. This Boil Water Advisory is a precautionary measure due to a loss of pressure in the water main caused by Plant Board crews repairing a water main leak.

This Advisory will remain in effect until lab analysis of water samples taken confirms that the potable water supply in the effected area is safe to drink. You will receive a notice when this advisory is lifted.

If you have any questions concerning the Boil Water Advisory please call 352-4372.

KyMEA Board of Directors Approves Solar Project

The Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency (KyMEA) and Ashwood Solar I, LLC, a joint venture between MAP® Energy and Open Road Renewables (ORR), executed an agreement on Thursday, August 23, 2018 to bring a new solar power plant to Kentucky. The plant will be located on approximately 800 acres in Western Kentucky and will be among the top 2 percent largest solar power plants in the nation and the largest in Kentucky by a factor of nearly 10x.

The solar power project, capable of tracking the sun across the horizon, will produce 86 MW at maximum output. When placed into service in late 2022, the project is expected to produce almost 200 million kilowatt-hours of electrical energy annually; roughly enough to meet the needs of 14,000 Kentucky homes.  The agreement calls for KyMEA to purchase 62.5% of the energy produced by the project over the 20-year term of the agreement.

Doug Buresh, President and CEO of KyMEA, said: “We are proud to add this clean, carbon-free, and economical resource to the portfolio of resources being assembled to provide the power and energy needs of our membership.” Ron Herd, General Manager of the Corbin City Utilities Commission and Chairman of the KyMEA Board said: “This is a very important step in our plan to provide affordable energy to our customers in a very environmentally responsible manner.”

The energy purchased by KyMEA from the solar project will supply approximately 8% of the energy needed each year by residents and businesses served by the Cities of Bardwell, Falmouth, Madisonville, Paris, and Providence, the Frankfort Plant Board, the Barbourville Utility Commission, and the Corbin City Utilities Commission. These systems are members of KyMEA’s All Requirements (“AR”) Project. KyMEA will begin supplying the AR Project Members in May 2019. Owensboro Municipal Utilities, the Benham Plant Board and the City of Berea also are members of KyMEA.

Chris Melton, Electric Superintendent of Madisonville Utilities Department and Chairman of the KyMEA AR Project Committee said: “There is more work to do, but now our portfolio includes purchases of energy from coal and natural gas-fueled plants, hydroelectric facilities, the solar project, and even small diesel engines located in Paris. We are truly building a diverse portfolio to provide more affordable power to our customers.”

ORR and its partner, MAP® Energy, bring vast experience in developing, financing, and operating solar and other renewable energy projects. Mike Volpe, Vice President of ORR, said: “This single 86 MW solar project is cost-competitive with fossil generation and will result in roughly 400 construction jobs to the region. This project should be seen as a win-win as it will provide both local economic development benefits to Western Kentucky along with affordable power for KyMEA members.  We are pleased to see in-state, utility-scale solar selected by KyMEA as part of their least-cost supply portfolio.”

About Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency
Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency was formed in 2015 under Kentucky statutes that provide for cooperation among municipalities and other governmental entities on endeavors that can be accomplished better by working together.  More information is available at www.kymea.org.

About MAP® Energy
MAP® Energy, through its joint venture with Open Road Renewables, initiated development of the Ashwood Solar Project in 2015.  MAP® Energy is a leading investor in the development of renewable energy projects and has funded more than 10,000 megawatts of operating wind and solar generating capacity located across the United States. More information is available at www.map-energy.com.

About Open Road Renewables
Open Road Renewables is a utility-scale renewable energy development company focused on deploying least-cost renewable energy throughout the United States.  More information is available at www.openroadrenewables.com.

CONTACT:
Michelle Hixon
Office Manager & Executive Assistant
Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency
Mobile: 502-693-5179

FPB votes to approve solar project

Solar energy could soon be powering Frankfort Plant Board customers. At its monthly meeting Tuesday night, the FPB Board directed interim General Manager David Denton to approve the Renewable Power Purchase Agreement presented by consultants from the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency (KyMEA). As FPB’s representative on the KyMEA Board of Directors, Denton will cast his vote of approval on the 20-year agreement for the solar project at the KyMEA meeting this Thursday in Bowling Green.

KyMEA consultants told the board this project meets the objectives of the group as they seek power portfolio sources that are reliable, flexible and diverse, competitive under a wide range of future scenarios, and provide more affordable-priced electric service.

In other business, the board set a public hearing to gather input from customers regarding increasing upload and download speeds for high-speed internet service, establishing a rate for whole-home wifi system, and establishing a rate for telephone seasonal disconnect.

The public notice proposes to increase the download and upload speeds of the Standard, Premium, Ultra and Elite levels at no extra cost to customers. Following upgrades in the field and at the headend, staff recommended increasing these speeds to improve the customer experience and to better position FPB in a competitive market.

The public notice also proposes to establish an optional whole-home wifi system at a rate of $9.95 per month for a modem and two access points and $3 per month for each additional access point. As customers’ needs are outgrowing the capability of the standard wireless cable modem, this solution will allow customers to connect more devices in more areas inside the home.

Lastly, the public notice proposes to establish a rate of $5 per month for customers who wish to place their telephone lines into a state of seasonal disconnect. FPB’s wholesale telephone provider charges FPB a $5 fee per month for customers who are temporarily disconnected. FPB staff proposes to pass through this charge.

The board set the public hearing for Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. at the FPB Administration Building in Frankfort.

The board also approved to solicit and evaluate proposals for an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system. This system of smart meters would enable immediate two-way communication between FPB and customer meters. It would increase efficiency, automatically alert FPB of specific outages and allow FPB to send commands back to the meter.

AMI would provide more information on energy usage and deliver more accurate billing. It would also give FPB flexibility for future changes in the way it bills.

In other actions, the board approved an Affirmative Action Plan, approved funding for compensation consulting, approved funding for new transformers, metering units, and substation equipment and approved funding for engineering work to replace two transformers.

The FPB Board of Directors’ next monthly meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 at 5 p.m. at the FPB administration building at 151 Flynn Ave in Frankfort.

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