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JCPB to hold line on rates at current level

June 25th, 2014 9:02 pm by Tony Casey

JCPB to hold line on rates at current level

Through cost-saving strategies, the Johnson City Power Board’s board of directors voted on Tuesday to move forward with no rate increase for its more than 76,000 customers.

Utilization of new technology provided the biggest shot in the arm to the local not-for-profit public power provider, the 10th largest in the state, giving the JCPB a chance to pay around 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

In a news release, the JCPB boasted of its ability to keep what they called a “significant value” at its current rate in the midst of increases in costs of housing, fuel and food. “I commend our management team and employees on their extreme efforts to present a budget in which JCPB does not have to raise rates. In addition, I want to thank each employee for their work to reduce our annual operating expenses by $1,000,000 during our current budget year. This is phenomenal, especially in a time where all costs seem to be on the rise,” JCPB CEO Jeff Dykes said in the release.

“Our team is utilizing new technology and more-efficient processes. For example, we recently purchased two dozen tablet devices so that field employees may work orders electronically, view maps and service status information (in) real?time and know the specific locations of all trucks in the field. These tools allow us to respond more quickly during outages,” Dykes said.

An Automated Metering Infrastructure system that was installed in 2012 is also helping cut operational costs, differing from the traditional meter reading in that it allows for two-way communication between JCPB employees and the meter.

The AMI system, the JCPB said, allows for decreased response time to outages and hourly and on-demand readings as well as other benefits.

“The AMI system provides near real-time power monitoring. Outages are reported to us immediately. The quality of the power may also be monitored. This allows JCPB to keep a sharp eye on the quality of power being delivered to our customers. Issues can be detected without rolling a truck. This saves money,” said JCPB Supervisor of Metering Matt Heath.

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