Annual hydrant flushing starts May 13

The Frankfort Plant Board will begin its annual hydrant flushing on Monday, May 13, 2019. Flushing is necessary to maintain the integrity and quality of the distribution system and to ensure hydrants are functioning properly. This will also allow FPB to obtain fire-fighting flow information, which is shared with the city and county fire departments.

We ask that motorists please use caution in flushing areas due to possible water in the roadway. Some discoloration may occur in your tap water. This is normal. If discoloration persists after running your faucet for a short time, please call 352-4372. We anticipate flushing throughout the county to be complete in 2 to 3 months.

For updates on flushing areas, please go to http://fpb.cc or follow @fewpb and @fpbalerts on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Replacing the Reservoir: Frequently Asked Questions

1.       What’s all the fuss about?

The Frankfort Plant Board has plans to replace the city’s existing reservoir tanks, which has resulted in litigation involving FPB and the Frankfort City Commission. The disagreement hinges on FPB’s proposal to replace two 135-year old 4.6 million gallon tanks with one 7 million gallon tank. The City Commission intervened and voted unanimously to favor a more costly two 4.6 MG tank replacement option presented by the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association (TNAi).

 

2.       How much more costly is the plan that is supported by the City Commission?

Two 4.6 MG tanks costs $3 million more than FPB’s approved plan for a single 7 MG tank. It will also be significantly more costly in the future if water demand increases and more water storage capacity is needed. Building two tanks now at the capacities that currently exist, as supported by the City Commission, would require additional future storage elsewhere. Suitable locations are limited and expensive.

 

3.       Where would that extra $3 million come from?

Water rates are determined by Water Department expenses. Funds for a new tank will come from rates paid by water customers, not subsidized by other FPB departments.

 

4.       Why replace the tanks at the reservoir right now?

The current reservoir tanks are 135 years old. They have exhibited signs of seepage and slippage, as well as a failing roof. Replacement is the most cost-effective solution because it affords a longer service life than repairing. The tanks have lasted significantly beyond their service life and at increasing risk of failure. The frequency of repairs has increased significantly over the last five years and is costly. 

 

5.       Were other sites considered to re-locate the reservoir?

Yes. Consultants and staff evaluated alternative sites. Moving the reservoir would require moving and re-routing the necessary infrastructure for the water system, thus adding to the base cost of building the tanks. The other options considered included Juniper Hills, behind Franklin Square and off Sower Blvd. All would cost significantly more (as much as $10 million at one of them) than building at the current reservoir site.

 

6.       Will one 7 MG tank keep up with the water demand of our community?

Yes. Frankfort Plant Board projected demands (based on 20-year historical usage) show that one 7 MG tank meets projected water demand beyond 2060.

 

7.       What if there is an increased demand in the future?

Since the single tank proposal will only require a fraction of the footprint currently occupied, there will be adequate space at the same location in the future to build more water storage capacity, if needed. The infrastructure is already in place there to keep costs for future storage at a minimum.

 

8.       How does selling water wholesale to neighboring communities affect demand and water rates for local retail customers?

Local residential customers do not pay a higher water rate because of the costs to sell water to wholesale customers. Last year, our wholesale customers provided 19 percent of our necessary revenue. If we discontinued sales to our wholesale customers, FPB’s revenue requirements for those fixed costs would not change. Our retail customers would have to absorb those costs and their rates would have to increase by approximately 21 percent.

 

9.       Why doesn’t the City Commission support FPB’s more fiscally responsible plan, but instead favors TNAi’s more costly option?

Great question!

Boil Water Advisory canceled for Springhill Road

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 4/18/19 due to the loss of pressure in the water main caused by Plant Board crews repairing main break.

The area affected was:

·       65-133 Springhill Rd.

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

April 18 is Linemen Appreciation Day!

While we appreciate our linemen every day, we set aside this day every year to recognize line workers and their vital role in maintaining and growing our energy and cable infrastructure. They work to protect public safety after catastrophic events and they keep the lights on for the communities who depend on FPB.

The job of a lineman is critical to the safe and efficient delivery of power and cable/telecom services for our customers. Transmission crews make repairs to the higher-voltage lines on towers and large poles typically used to feed power to substations. Distribution crews perform regular maintenance on the high-voltage system that delivers power directly to homes and businesses, which often includes the installation of new poles and transformers, both overhead and underground.

And of course, all line workers are trained to respond to major outages in events such as high winds, ice and storms.

Line workers take great pride in their work and consider it a privilege to serve their communities.

Line workers are true heroes in our communities. If you know a line worker or see one working, take a minute to thank them, whether they're working near your home or in the community.

Our line workers' dedication and skill make the difference to our customers and demonstrate Frankfort Plant Board at its best. We are grateful for their commitment to safety and our customers for the work they perform every day.

Water Service Interruption and Boil Water Advisory

Water service has been interrupted on Springhill Road in order to repair a water main break. It is estimated to take two hours to complete the repairs. No fire hydrants are affected by the outage.

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:

65 to 133 Springhill 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 break.

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.

Replacing the Reservoir: Single Tank Saves You Bank

You may have read about the Frankfort Plant Board’s plans to replace the city’s existing reservoir tanks and resulting litigation involving FPB and the Frankfort City Commission. The disagreement hinges on FPB’s proposal to replace two 135-year old 4.6 million gallon tanks with one 7 million gallon tank. The City Commission prefers the more costly two 4.6 MG tank replacement option.

The City Commission and the FPB Board of Directors have met to explore solutions that would be agreeable to all and would address the aesthetic concerns of the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association (TNAi) while maintaining the Board’s fiduciary responsibility to ratepayers and meeting health and public safety obligations to all citizens.

The current reservoir tanks are significantly beyond their service life and at increasing risk of failure. The frequency of repairs has increased significantly over the last five years and is costly. The time to replace the reservoir is now.

The single tank at Tanglewood proposed by FPB is the most responsible option to all ratepayers, provides sufficient water capacity to meet the community’s needs for the next 40 years, and sets the foundation for the provision of water for generations to come.

Building two tanks now at the capacities that currently exist, as proposed by the City Commission, would require additional future storage elsewhere – not only costing more now but also costing significantly more later when needed. Suitable locations are limited. Options considered included Juniper Hills, behind Franklin Square and off Sower Blvd. All would cost significantly more (as much as $10 million at one of them) than building at the current reservoir site.

Water rates are determined by Water Department expenses. Funds for a new tank will come from rates paid by water customers, not subsidized by other FPB departments. One 7 MG tank costs $3 million less than two 4.6 MG tanks. Three million dollars could be better spent in the long run on much needed infrastructure for one of the oldest water distribution systems in the country.

Also, FPB’s proposed plan will not only improve the aesthetic view of the reservoir but will also restore a vital amenity and family venue to the community. Since the single tank proposal will only require a fraction of the footprint currently occupied, FPB envisions additional greenspace and landscaping which will enhance the welcoming sight to visitors entering Frankfort on Louisville Road, and improved amenities for the public to enjoy. This includes re-opening the clubhouse for community events.

At the request of the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association and the City Commission, improvements are already underway. FPB replaced the chain link fence with iron and brick decorative fencing and planted some new landscaping.

The Frankfort Plant Board is committed to bringing the Frankfort community the lowest utility rates possible while also ensuring that no extraordinary financial burden is placed on current and future citizens for unnecessary infrastructure.

FPB’s single tank plan considers costs and provides space for future capacity when the community needs it. It is the more responsible and strategic option to keep water rates at a minimum for customers both now and in the future.

We encourage all water customers who are concerned about how this project will affect their rates to visit the FPB website at https://fpb.cc/replacing-the-reservoir.

FPB committed to lowest cost option

The Frankfort Plant Board (FPB) recognizes and appreciates the commitment of Roger Crittenden and the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association (TNAi) to the community in regards to the replacement of Frankfort’s 135-year old reservoir. While FPB respects the input and the concerns raised by TNAi, Crittenden’s letter to the editor (“Time for FPB to accept decisions on Tanglewood reservoir,” March 28) contains inaccuracies that are important to address.

Crittenden references the April 16, 2018 presentation to the former City Commission and states, “...the cost for one 7 million-gallon tank (FPB’s proposal) versus two 4.6 million-gallon tanks was the same.” The presentation given to the City Commission and TNAi in that meeting (https://bit.ly/2CMI3PB) notes the cost of TNAi’s preferred solution of two 4.6 MG tanks with a 1/16 dome roof as $6.8 million and the cost of the single 7 MG tank as $3.8 million. The TNAi solution was $3 million more expensive a year ago, and remains $3 million more expensive today.

The letter further states, “What the Plant Board needs is one 4.6 million-gallon tank to supply the needs of its customers now and in the future.” However, in their March 14, 2017 “Site Alternatives Evaluation” (https://bit.ly/2uA77VF), the engineers of Strand Associates recommended the construction of a single 7 MG tank to meet current needs. In that report they note, “...we concur with the FPB water staff recommendation to replace the existing reservoir with a single 7 MG tank to meet current daily and peak demands.”

The current reservoir is in dire need of replacement. The best solution economically, environmentally and aesthetically, which meets our community’s water needs, is the single 7 MG tank.

 This solution will not only meet our needs today, but will allow for economically accommodating any future needs for decades to come.

The FPB plan is $3 million less expensive, is 24 percent less volume, its footprint is significantly smaller (at least 22 percent) and is only nine feet taller at the apex of the dome than what TNAi is proposing.

A single 7 MG tank will return the majority of the site to green space, which will allow for the planting of additional trees and landscaping to obscure the view of the dome and improve the overall appearance of the site.

It is the statutory responsibility of the FPB to “make all determinations as to the operation, maintenance, improvement and extension of the electric and water plant.” (KRS 96.176(2)). FPB takes its duty to provide its customers safe, reliable, and economic services very seriously, which is why replacing the reservoir is of the utmost importance.

When making decisions, FPB must continue to think about what is best for all of its ratepayers. The FPB-approved replacement plan is the least-cost option and incorporates the concerns of the TNAi. It is time to take action to resolve any remaining issues and move forward with what is best for the entire community.

-The Board and Staff of Frankfort Plant Board

 

Future decisions are important to water rates

We’d like to thank Nate Van Sickel, president of the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association, for his comments in a column he submitted about FPB water rates. His input helps explain to our customers how important it is for FPB to make smart decisions to control rate increases.

Mr. Van Sickel points out that FPB water rates are higher than comparable neighboring cities. This is true. While our rates are cheaper than Kentucky American Water, they are higher than Bluegrass Area Development District average rates. This is primarily due to reinvestments to improve our water system. And this is why we need to be very careful with projects and costs moving forward.

This is especially true for the decision on replacing the 135-year-old reservoir. This structure has long been the key to our community’s water distribution system. It has lasted far beyond its service life and is in dire need of replacement. To fulfill this need, the board has chosen the least cost design – a solution that not only significantly increases green space, but also would have the least impact on rates.

The Tanglewood Neighborhood Association prefers a plan that would cost ratepayers an additional $3 million for aesthetics and additional infrastructure we may not need for 40 or 50 years. That is not good use of ratepayer money. And for someone who is concerned about high water rates, it just doesn’t make sense.

FPB does strive to keep rates as low as possible. That’s why we are working so hard to move forward with the plan approved by the Board more than a year ago.

Mr. Van Sickel’s argument in the article leads you to believe that our residential customers are paying a higher rate because of the costs to sell water to wholesale customers – but, in reality, the opposite is true.

Infrastructure added to service wholesale customers has been paid for by the wholesale customer – not by FPB retail customers.

Last year, our wholesale customers provided 19 percent of our necessary revenue. If we discontinued sales to our wholesale customers, FPB’s revenue requirements for those fixed costs would not change. Our retail customers would have to absorb those costs and their rates would have to increase by approximately 21 percent.

As you can see, it is a benefit to our retail customers that we have our wholesale customers to help pay our bills.

Again, we appreciate Mr. Van Sickel’s input. We share his concern over higher rates. That is why we value our wholesale customers. And it is precisely why we continue to advocate for the reservoir replacement plan that would keep our customers from paying an additional $3 million for unnecessary infrastructure.

Feedback to the FPB Board of Directors can be submitted to contact@fewpb.com.

FPB approves organizational changes

New structure to streamline coordination between lines of business, improve services for customers.

The FPB Board of Directors approved organizational changes including two new management positions. The new structure will improve coordination and communication across all departments and better leverage all resources of the company to achieve strategic planning goals.

“The board and staff are excited to see how these changes will help improve services for customers,” said Cathy Lindsey, FPB Public Information Coordinator. “Working in a more streamlined structure will increase efficiency and better position our crews to implement new projects in the future.”

The board approved creating the positions of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Cable/Telecommunications Superintendent. The board also eliminated the position of Assistant General Manager for Cable Telecommunications.

In addition, the board changed the title of the Assistant General Manager of Operations to Chief Operating Officer (COO). The Cable/Telecommunications Department will now report directly to the COO.

The CFO and COO positions will report directly to the General Manager and support his efforts to provide excellent service to FPB customers and strengthen and improve operations. 

Based on the reorganization, the departments reporting directly to the COO are Electric, Water Distribution, Water Treatment, Electric and Water Engineering, Support Services, Network Operations Center, and Cable Telecommunications. 

The departments reporting directly to the CFO are Customer Service, Information Technology, and Finance.

The Safety and Human Resources departments will report to both the Assistant General Manager of Administration/Staff Attorney and the General Manager.

Due to current vacancies, there are funds available in the current budget to cover any promotional increases that may occur.

 

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For news and updates, please go to http://fpb.cc or follow @fewpb and @fpbalerts on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Outage Wrap-Up

Scattered outages yesterday due to high winds came in waves starting around 3 p.m. There were 14 outages affecting 423 customers. The largest outage, affecting 300 customers, was in the Meadows and lasted from around 8:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Electric crews finished up at 12:30 this morning and are currently working on a few calls of tree limbs on lines. 

We appreciate everyone’s patience as the repairs were made. 

Sun outages may be affecting your TV service

What are sun outages?

  • Twice a year, you may experience some degree of television interference due to "sun outages." Such outages are caused by a phenomenon called a “solar satellite interference." These brief outages occur when the sun passes directly behind satellites transmitting cable signals. When the sun is aligned with a satellite, solar radiation, an energy the sun is emitting, interferes with the satellite’s signal and thus causes a brief signal outage.

When do sun outages happen and how long do they last?

  • Sun outages occur every year, in Fall and Spring, and last about a week each time. This Spring, sun outages are expected March 4 - March 9.

What kind of outage/interference can I expect?

  • During the sun outage, you may experience a pixelated picture, picture freezes, or audio distortions for a brief period of time.

How can I tell if it’s caused by a sun outage or if something is wrong with my cable?

  • The sun outage happens only during the day between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. (no sun, no interference) and is brief, lasting for a few minutes—from 3 minutes, up to 10 minutes.