The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, May. 20, 2022

PPEC announces 2022 improvement plans

VW independent staff and submitted information

This year, Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative is planning $3.6 million in investments focused on system improvements that will directly increase the co-op’s service reliability and maintain existing facilities.

PPEC lineman Brandon Burelison works on a power line. Photo submitted

Due to rising costs, especially with wholesale power costs and the COVID-19 pandemic, PPEC implemented a small increase to the service charge for residential members beginning on the January, 2022 billing statement. This is the first increase PPEC has had since 2018 and represents a 1.2 percent increase for the average residential member. The residential service charge is now $35 per month, as compared to $32.95.

To maintain the high standard of service PPEC members expect, primary components of the 2022 work plan will include:

  • A budgeted 20 miles of old copper line rebuilds across Ohio and Indiana, as well as sectionalizing to reduce outage minutes. Keeping members’ lights on is a priority.
  • Installing and upgrading new sectionalizing equipment for improved reliability, system durability, and reduced outage time.
  • Upgrading equipment in the Columbus Grove and Convoy substations, including high side switch replacement, new insulators and arrestors, and station metering. This will improve service reliability and extend the lifespan of these substations, raising their performance to meet today’s higher standards.
  • Installing 6,000 RF meters to complete PPEC’s smart metering system upgrade, which will finish out the co-op’s latest work plan. This gives PPEC the ability to provide members with additional, improved service data, enabling members to monitor usage trends and help make more informed energy efficiency decisions through their online SmartHub account. (Members who sign up for SmartHub this year will receive a one-time $5 bill credit.)
  • Testing 4,800 poles in Paulding, Benton, Blue Creek, and Latty Townships in Paulding County through contractor Osmose. Poles are tested on a 10-year rotating cycle; any that fail the test will be replaced.
  • Extensive underground line extensions into the expanding subdivisions in New Haven, Indiana. The co-op is expecting growth in this area.
  • Welcoming a new right-of-way tree trimming and vegetation management contractor, Mint City Utility Services. Beginning this week, they will start work in the Seiler, Hessen, Monroe, Rt. 14, and Tillman substation area (Indiana), and in the Convoy substation area.
  • Installing animal guards at various substations to help reduce animal-caused outages.

“With the rising material costs and shortages from the pandemic, PPEC has the been very proactive in securing material needs for the upcoming year’s work plan,” PPEC Engineering Manager Steve Kahle said. “We were able to plan ahead, meaning we can continue to make important system investments and still be good stewards to our members.”

As a not-for-profit, democratically operated distribution utility, Paulding Putnam Electric Co-op returns members’ patronage (their portion of equity in the co-op, based on electric usage) to them as capital credits. Last month, PPEC returned $2.3 million in capital credits to current and former members.

“The PPEC trustees and employees work hard to deliver electric power that is reliable, safe, and cost-competitive with our neighboring utilities,” PPEC President and CEO George Carter said. “Be assured that we are working to replace aging facilities, increase efficiency, and improve our service reliability — all while returning $2.3 million in capital credits last year to members.”

For updates throughout the year, follow PPEC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

POSTED: 01/21/22 at 4:39 am. FILED UNDER: News