GLASGOW – Cable content providers with contract renewals coming due soon were a mixed bag in terms of price changes, but none of the changes will result in new rate changes for Glasgow Electric Plant Board cable customers, as they were foreseen and included in the last increase.
In three separate votes, the board of directors for the GEPB approved moving forward with three new contracts and to continue using the NCTC cooperative organization to negotiate prices with Fox Cable Networks, per the recommendation of the GEPB Programming Committee.
ACC networks will cost the electric plant board about 20 cents more per customer per month with gradual increases over the next two years, reported Eddie Russell, the cable television manager for the utility, and the programming committee recommended accepting the new prices.
The A&E cluster of channels, which also includes the History Channel, Lifetime and others is also increasing slightly, but the Viacom package is decreasing after a significant rate increase a few years ago.
• GEPB Superintendent Billy Ray, who was hit by an SUV on July 10 as he was riding his bicycle through a Glasgow highway intersection and suffered multiple injuries, said as discussion of the first item of business began that he wasn't officially back to work yet, but he was at the meeting as kind of a liaison between the board and “my great staff people that are really going to carry the ball tonight.” The only visible sign he may have been at less than his best was that his wrist and hand were bandaged.
Bearing the crash in mind, the board approved unanimously, with all five members present, a motion allowing the chief financial officer, currently Melanie Reed, to become the acting superintendent were a superintendent to become incapacitated, with the idea being that it would provide for a smoother flow of document approvals and such. That plan is to be reviewed annually.
Reed asked, though, who would be making the determination that the superintendent is incapacitated, and Taylor said the board would need to so that, so a special meeting would be necessary anyway in that event.
• After some introductory comments from Ray, Reed provided the annual comparative review of the GEPB's financial picture over the past few years. She discussed the impact of having to show on the books the potential liability for the state government's unfunded portion of the retirement program, and she also provided a look at some of the key financial indicators, such as cash ratio, net income ratio, operations and maintenance cost per customer and debt ratio as compared with a few local power companies who also distribute power purchased wholesale from the Tennessee Valley Authority and are of similar size as well as compared with all TVA municipalities. Where there were significant differences, Ray explained the philosophy behind the practices that lead to those.
• The board unanimously approved using bids from five different vendors for various power transmission equipment and supplies after they were solicited for a second time because the first round was too high, Ray said. The total cost of the materials is $236,823.19. Once they are received, GEPB will advertise for bids for the installation labor, he said.
• A little more than a third of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of TVA's Green Power Program, and how the customers that have installed solar panels get compensated and/or credited for power produced.
Taylor had asked Ray two or three months ago to check on current options and he had reported in the interim that discussions were taking place. Ernie Peterson, TVA’s customer service manager for Kentucky, provided some background on the program's evolution through the years and how changing philosophies at TVA and new forms of rate structures have affected the amounts customers with solar power are being paid. He said TVA has agreed, because of concern for the customers on the program – 16 currently – to offer some different options, but those customers would need to make a decision before the end of this calendar year. The program as it exists now is going away Dec. 31, he said, and so would the options opportunity.
He described those options in detail and said letters would be prepared and sent to those customers so they could make a choice, one of which is to stay with their current contracts, which were all for 20 years from whatever time they enrolled in the program.
• Adoption of new rules of procedure to replace Robert's Rules of Order, usage of which was repealed during the last meeting, was tabled to provide board members more time to review the proposed draft.