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.

Networks raise fees on programming

FPB forced to increase rate for Classic Cable

The FPB Board of Directors was forced to approve a $3.50 increase in the Classic Cable rate. This is a direct pass-thru increase – meaning that FPB doesn’t keep that money. It goes directly to the networks on Classic Cable for increased programming costs.

Cable television has so much to offer. At any time of the day, you can find news, sports, movies, concerts, dramas, sitcoms, educational shows, documentaries, kid’s shows, and reality shows and contests.

All of this programming costs money.  And as the availability of content grows, so does the price.

The media conglomerates (seven companies own nearly all of these networks) that provide this content raise their prices to cable providers like FPB every year. That’s what drives this increase.

For example, the media company responsible for about 25 percent of the price change is Disney/ESPN. Sports programming is a major offender. The fans pay the salaries associated with those high-paying athlete contracts. When a sports franchise announces a new TV deal, that means more money coming from the pockets of subscribers. The networks raise the rates to pay for these deals, and cable providers must raise theirs to cover the cost.

All pay-TV providers have had to accept significant price increases from programmers to carry their channels. It has been 24 months since FPB last asked for an increase in Classic Cable rates. FPB has absorbed as much of the increase as possible before passing it on to the customers.

In fact, in the past 16 years, while programming fees FPB pays to the networks has increased almost $61, FPB has managed to decrease operational expenses by more than a dollar per customer each month.

FPB only keeps 17 percent of your Classic Cable bill for operating expenses. This includes maintenance on the system, equipment and paying the cable installers to get you hooked up and serviced when needed.

The rest of your bill, 83 percent, leaves Frankfort and goes directly to the network programmers.

Rate increases for programming content are not unique to Frankfort or FPB. In the past two months, companies such as DirectTV, AT&T, Comcast, Charter and Dish have all raised prices for 2019.

Virtual operators such as DirectTV NOW, YouTube TV and Hulu Live have also either raised their prices or have announced coming increases.

Even Netflix isn’t immune to the increased cost of content. Their most popular plan will increase by nearly 20 percent next month – their third increase in the last three and a half years.

While the FPB Board of Directors would prefer to hold down costs for cable customers, it is committed to providing the programming customers demand. Unfortunately, that means setting rates to keep pace with the increase in the wholesale license fees that FPB must pay.

 
Classic Cable Programming and Operational Expense
 

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FPB Seeks Cable Advisory Volunteer

The Frankfort Plant Board is seeking a volunteer to serve on the Cable Advisory Committee (CAC). This panel meets quarterly and assists the FPB staff and Board of Directors with cable TV programming decisions. The position is open beginning April 1.

The CAC consists of five members including a student representative. Terms are for three years and are eligible for one reappointment by the FPB Board.

 Applicants must be an FPB cable subscriber and should send a letter of interest and resume to contact@fewpb.com or via mail to:

FPB Cable Advisory

P.O. Box 308

Frankfort, KY 40602

Application deadline is March 31, 2019.

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Boil Water Advisory lifted for Holt Lane

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.

The advisory was issued 2/10/19 due to the loss of pressure in the water main caused by FPB crews repairing a water main break.

The affected area was:

885 Holt Lane to 1416 Holt Lane

If you have any questions or problems with normal service or water quality, please call 502-352-4372.

Boil Water Advisory

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:

885 Holt Ln to 1416 Holt Ln.

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 causedby 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

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