Slow Down and Move Over

Although road maintenance crews come to mind when thinking of orange directional signs and work zones, other workers perform job duties near the road as well, including utility and tree-trimming crews.

Streets and highways are lined with power poles and electrical equipment, and narrow roadways often require crews like ours to place their equipment in traffic lanes. Their work is often taken for granted but benefits us all; and, like everyone, they deserve a safe workplace. Be alert to utility crews and other work zone workers for their safety as well as yours.

According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, 762 fatal crashes and 842 deaths occurred in work zones crashes in 2019: up from 672 fatal crashes and 755 deaths in 2018. Of those fatalities, 135 were workers. An estimated 115,000 work zone crashes occurred in 2019, resulting in 39,000 people injured.

To help keep roadside crews safe:

  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment, and workers.
  • Be patient. Traffic delays are sometimes unavoidable, so allow time for unexpected setbacks in your schedule.
  • Obey all signs and road crew flag instructions.
  • Merge early and be courteous to other drivers.
  • Use your headlights at dusk and during inclement weather.
  • Minimize distractions. Avoid activities such as operating a radio, applying makeup and eating while driving.

Don’t make the jobs of road workers, utility crews, tree trimmers and others who work near traffic more dangerous. Slow down when approaching a work zone and move over for first responders and work crews on the side of the road.

Could ‘Texas-Sized’ Outages Happen in Western Kentucky?

The recent widespread outages that took place in Texas because of historic winter storms catches our attention and causes us to wonder, could that happen here? While historic natural events can overtake even the best laid plans and precautions, Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative (JPEC), along with Big Rivers Electric Corporation (Big Rivers), have taken steps to mitigate the effects of nature when it is within our control. JPEC is a member-owner of Big Rivers, which provides wholesale power needs to our service area. Big Rivers is a participant in a larger organization called the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). MISO members are required to own enough capacity to cover their own needs at peak times, plus additional reserves.  The idea is that if some members have trouble with their generation, other members have reserves that can pick up the slack. Big Rivers owns over 1,000 MW of very reliable coal, hydro, and natural gas generation. At times when Big Rivers generation is offline for maintenance, they purchase energy from the MISO market. They can also purchase energy from the MISO market when it can be purchased at a lower cost than it can be generated.

There are several significant differences between the electricity markets in Texas and Western Kentucky. Not enough of the Texas wind, coal and natural gas generation was designed to operate in extremely cold conditions. When weather stressed the equipment, generation from all sources began to fail just as loads were rising. Big Rivers generation was designed to operate in extreme temperatures. Texas relies more on natural gas than Big Rivers. Transportation issues can make it difficult to get natural gas to power plants when it is needed most. At our coal plants, the fuel inventory sits next to the plant. Finally, electricity sales are deregulated in Texas. Some consumers chose to pay the spot market price for their energy, which can often be cheaper, but the price can be too volatile for individual consumers. We believe that fair, just and reasonable rates provide protection from wild market swings. The rates that JPEC consumer-members pay are set by the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

As a member-owner of Big Rivers, JPEC has a say in how Big Rivers assembles it portfolio of generation resources. We believe that a mix of fuels in well maintained/efficient generation best serves our members. Big Rivers will soon be adding solar generation to its current mix of coal, natural gas, and hydro generation, such as the McCracken County Solar development. This mix further reduces our reliance upon any one fuel source.

JPEC is part of a nationwide network of electric cooperatives. Because the national network of transmission and distribution is and interconnected grid, energy can be acquired that makes up for a lack of generation if that need occurs.

JPEC Drives 1.5 Million Safe Miles

Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative (JPEC) has achieved another safety goal, driving 1.5 million miles without a recordable vehicle accident. Each year, JPEC employees drive vehicles more than 600,000 miles while performing work in our service area, that’s roughly 50,000 miles each month or 1,650 miles each day!

“This is a great example of what happens when the people of an organization strive to work as safely as possible each and every day. By remaining focused on our number one initiative, safety, we will continue to meet and exceed our goals,” said JPEC President & CEO, Greg Grissom. “We are prepared to buckle up for more safe driving. Our next goal is 2 million miles!”

JPEC sets internal safety goals each year and measures common safety metrics against high performing cooperatives across the nation in an effort to continuously elevate their performance. The Cooperative plans to commemorate the event with a custom sticker and picture that will be hung at its headquarters in Paducah, Ky.

JPEC Sending Mutual Aid to a Sister Electric Cooperative

Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative (JPEC) is sending two crews to aid a sister Cooperative in Eastern Kentucky. Two five-men crews from JPEC will go to Big Sandy Rural Electric Cooperative this morning to assist with restoration efforts caused by winter weather that continues to devastate the region. At its peak, 8,500 of the Cooperative’s 12,745 consumer-members were without electricity. As of this morning, nearly 4,900 remain. Big Sandy RECC is located in Paintsville, Ky.

“Cooperatives helping each other is what we do. Once we were able to assess the local needs of our service area, we were more than willing to send crews to assist in the restoration efforts taking place at Big Sandy RECC,” said JPEC President & CEO, Greg Grissom.

JPEC is part of a nationwide network of electric cooperatives that assist each other in times of natural disasters. We have provided assistance numerous times to other cooperatives in Kentucky and across the southeast following hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms.

Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives is built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering.

A Christmas Gift

Recognizing the difficult times that so many people in our area are experiencing, Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative (JPEC) wanted to assist a non-profit organization that helps families throughout the six counties they serve.

“The difficulties of 2020 are forcing families to make decisions that come down to basic necessities and we wanted to help. Our donation alone certainly won’t change the world, but we are proud to know that it will make a difference one child at a time,” said JPEC President & CEO, Greg Grissom.

Starfish Orphan Ministry, located in Paducah, Ky., strives to help children who do not have a complete family. Locally they serve between 4,000 and 5,000 families each year in western Kentucky, providing clothes, shoes, coats, car seats, baby items, housewares, toiletries, furniture, beds and appliances. Starfish Orphan Ministry also provides Christmas gifts for children who would not have Christmas otherwise. Because of the pandemic, many planned fundraisers have not taken place. The usual toy drives to help with collecting close to 1,800 gifts, did not take place this year due to donors limiting the number of non-profits they are helping, which has left Starfish with a toy deficit.

Starfish Orphan Ministry executive director, Laura Roberts said, “We had no idea how God would provide this year, but we didn’t lose faith. When JPEC called and said that they were making this unexpected donation, we were so excited, because it will go a long way in providing the toys and gifts that we still need! This gift will impact about 100 children in our community who have been through a tough year already!”

Electrical Infrastructure Installed at Ballard County Industrial Park

Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative (JPEC) recently installed the electrical infrastructure needed to power-up businesses that will one day locate to the Ballard County Industrial Park.

Located on Buck Road just east of Wickliffe, the property was purchased from a local family in 1996 as a prospective industrial park. Since then, the property has been in the development stage.

“This year’s activities have made the vision that much more of a reality. We look forward to the job growth that will one day take place in this area,” says Ballard County Judge Executive, Todd Cooper. “Two Rivers Fisheries and Angie Yu have worked tirelessly to market the industrial site over the last two years. Their work has been instrumental in advertising the site’s development.”

Seven Chinese-owned companies, who are in the Asian Carp industry, are set to bring business to the area by early 2021. Construction for infrastructure, including roads, water, sewer and electricity were all set to be put in place during 2020. In all, these seven employers are projected to add 100-150 jobs to the area.

"The economic health of a cooperative is directly tied to its members and JPEC is proud to supply safe and reliable electric service to businesses that come to our area and to the homes of families they will employee,” said JPEC President & CEO, Greg Grissom.

JPEC sending crews to help neighboring cooperative following damaging storms

Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative (JPEC) is sending two crews to aid West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative (WKRECC) in western Kentucky. Two four-men crews from JPEC will go to WKRECC this morning to assist with restoration efforts caused by storms that passed through our area last night. At its peak, 14,407 of the Cooperative’s consumer-members were without electricity. As of this morning, nearly 13,600 remain.

“WKRECC is a neighbor cooperative, but they are also our friends and our family. We are happy to assist WKRECC in their time of need just as they would be happy to assist JPEC if the roles were reversed. Once we are able to assess the local needs of our service area, our crews will move to assist with the restoration efforts taking place at WKRECC,” said JPEC President & CEO, Greg Grissom.

JPEC is part of a nationwide network of electric cooperatives that assist each other in times of natural disasters. They have provided assistance numerous times to other cooperatives in Kentucky and across the southeast following hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms.

Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives is built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering.

Electrical Safety Tips for Your Home

Whether you rent or own your home, everyone should be aware of warning signs that indicate potential danger in your electrical system and unsafe practices.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical failures or malfunctions are present in an estimated average of 47,000 home structure fires per year in the United States, which result in 430 deaths, 1,280 injuries, and $1.5 billion in property damage. Based on figures from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, electrical injuries in general cause approximately 1,000 deaths per year in the U.S.

Make it a habit to look for the following warning signs of electrical safety hazards in your home on a regular basis:

  • Outlets and light switches that are warm to the touch.
  • Outlets that are loose, scorched or discolored.
  • Wall or light switches that cause shocks upon contact.
  • Strange smells (such as something burning or overheating).
  • Smoke or sparks.
  • Exposed wires.
  • Lack of GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) on certain outlets (those near a water source or that could get wet).
  • Lack of AFCIs (arc fault circuit interrupters); these help to prevent fires and are required in new builds.
  • Faulty appliances.
  • Evidence of frequent blown fuses or circuit breakers.
  • Missing or broken wall plates.
  • Delayed responses after switching lights on or off.
  • Flickering lights.

Another item to pay attention to is overloading electrical outlets. If you have multiple electronics, appliances, and other items plugged into a single outlet using extension cords and large outlet strips, you risk overloading your electrical system and creating an electrical hazard.

If you notice electrical issues, make sure items are addressed immediately by a qualified electrician.

Like us on Facebook and view our website at www.jpenergy.com for more tips like this.

Stay Safe Out There

Jackson Purchase Energy Announces Scholarship Winners

Paducah, KY - Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative (JPEC) recently awarded ten $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors across the co-op’s service area.  To be eligible, applicant’s primary residence must be served by JPEC and they must be a high school senior who plans to enroll full-time at an accredited university or community college no later than the fall semester.

Recipients are:

McCracken County – Bailey Bowland, Brooke Bowling and Morgan Guess

Marshall County – Griffin Darnall and Tyler Treas

Graves County – Ellie Miller

Livingston County – Robert Schmitt and Brandon Henson

Ballard County – Emily Walker

Carlisle County – Carter Gibson

“It is always rewarding to invest in the future of young people,” said JPEC President & CEO Greg Grissom, “these students will grow up to hold positions in a variety of areas and we hope they are proud to say that their electric cooperative helped them along the way.”  

JPEC supports schools throughout their service area by participating in learning experiences and conducting electrical safety demonstrations.  To learn more about our community involvement, like us on Facebook and view our website at www.jpenergy.com.