The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Apr. 12, 2024

PPEC announces upgrades, rate increase

Submitted information

Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative is planning $4 million in investments focused on system improvements that will directly increase the co-op’s service reliability. This year begins a new four-year construction work plan addressing system growth, proactive maintenance, and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) improvements to reduce outage duration.

To continue investing for the future, the co-op will implement a rate adjustment due to rising costs. Effective on the bills received in May, the average residential member using 1,200 kWh a month will see a monthly increase of $26.45, depending on their usage and home circumstances.

PPEC’s costs of doing business have increased substantially since the co-op’s last rate increase in 2018. PPEC is not-for-profit and has held off this increase for six years to minimize the impact on members; however, since 2020, average equipment costs are up 40-60 percent. The PPEC Board of
Trustees – elected by the membership – approved these new rates after the co-op’s third-party Cost-of-Service Study. Members wanting additional information can visit www.PPEC.coop/2024RateAdjustment or watch the PPEC Annual Meeting Broadcast at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 23, online at PPEC.coop, on Facebook, or on YouTube.

PPEC linemen replace a pole. Photo submitted

To maintain the high standard of service PPEC members expect, highlights of the 2024 work plan include:

  • A budgeted 25 miles of old copper line rebuilds across Ohio and Indiana to reduce outage minutes.
    Installing and upgrading new sectionalizing equipment for improved reliability, system durability, and reduced outage time. More than $100,000 is budgeted for these improvements, which will automatically isolate faults and segment PPEC’s electrical system, resulting in smaller outages affecting fewer members.
  • Upgrading equipment in the Baseline substation and maintenance for Antwerp, Cecil, Roselm, Latty, Columbus Grove, and Convoy substations. This will improve service reliability and extend the lifespan of these substations, raising their performance.
  • Installing 150 RF meters to complete PPEC’s smart metering system upgrade. This provides members with improved energy data to monitor usage trends and help make more informed decisions through their online SmartHub account.
  • A new feature coming in April: SmartHub users will receive a new “Home Energy Analytics” tool providing the energy breakdown of each home appliance and projected bill estimations with custom tips to help you reduce your electric bill.
  • Testing 4,000 poles in Crane, Emerald, and Auglaze townships in Paulding County and Delaware, Defiance, and Highland townships in Defiance County through contractor Osmose. Poles are tested on a 10-year rotating cycle; any that fail the test will be replaced.
  • Underground line extensions into new subdivisions (like Kennebec) in New Haven, Indiana. This is the co-op’s fastest-growing area. PPEC saw 202 new services in 2023, with nearly 100 upgrades. · PPEC’s right-of-way tree trimming and vegetation management contractor, Mint City Utility Services, will work in the Antwerp, Cecil, Roselm, and Latty areas.
  • Installing animal guards at various substations to help reduce animal-caused outages.
    Purchasing two new trucks, a digger derrick, and a bucket truck. These are replacing trucks that have reached the end of their duty cycle and will be less prone to mechanical issues. Less time in the shop means more time on the job. These new trucks also have additional features that allow crews to work more safely and efficiently.
  • Executing an electric vehicle study to see the forecasted impact on PPEC’s grid. Members considering an EV should complete the form online at www.PPEC.coop/EV.

Effective this year, PPEC is offering members a new $250 rebate for Level 2 electric vehicle chargers. Members are encouraged to charge during off-peak hours. Rules apply; contact the office for details.

“System reliability and affordability are at the center of our decision-making when designing our electric system as an engineering staff,” said PPEC Engineering Manager Nick Eltzroth. “With the ever-changing electric grid, it creates new challenges. Demand keeps rising, while supply keeps getting cut. Between engineering and operations, our number one priority is keeping the lights on for our members.”

As a not-for-profit, democratically operated utility, Paulding Putnam Electric Co-op returns members’ patronage (their portion of equity in the co-op) to them as capital credits. In December of 2023, PPEC returned $2.5 million in capital credits to over 23,000 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,” says PPEC President and CEO Randy Price. “Be assured that we are working to replace aging facilities, increase efficiency, and improve our service reliability — all while returning more than $34 million in capital credits to members since 1935.”

For updates throughout the year, follow PPEC on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. You can also sign up for PPEC’s monthly email newsletter under the “News and Magazines” tab at www.PPEC.coop.

Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative serves more than 13,600 members in Paulding, Putnam, Defiance, Van Wert, and Allen counties in Ohio, and Adams and Allen counties in Indiana.

POSTED: 03/04/24 at 4:40 am. FILED UNDER: Business