It’s not often that a company returns money to its customers when it realizes a savings. But because the Frankfort Plant Board is a public utility, it is not beholden to corporate shareholders. As a municipal utility, you and I — its customers — are its owners. And that’s why when you get your bill this month, you’ll see a rebate for a portion of your electric usage.
FPB officially switched wholesale power suppliers from Kentucky Utilities (KU) to the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency (KyMEA) on May 1. As a result, FPB is estimating a $4.8 million savings from purchasing wholesale power this year and is returning $1.6 million of that savings back to eligible electric customers. The credit is being automatically applied to your August bill.
The rebate will give individual electric customers an average $34 credit this month. So, I was pumped this week when I got my FPB e-bill and saw a $50 credit. That gave me much needed relief from an electric bill that spanned the hottest month of the year (and I crank that AC to igloo status).
The determination of the rebate is based on how much you paid in for electricity for the past year. Basically, the more you paid in, the more you’ll get back. So, FPB’s customers with multiple meters will receive a larger rebate.
For example, the City of Frankfort pays for electric service to some 147 meters. Therefore, city government will see a much larger rebate than the average customer. The same is true for Franklin County Fiscal Court, the school districts and so on. These rebates represent a significant savings across the board for our community.
The board’s goal by moving to KyMEA has always been to provide a greater value for customers. Not only are we, as ratepayers, seeing savings this month, but we also benefitted the first day of the switch on May 1 when KU announced its second rate hike in two years. Through KyMEA, FPB doesn’t anticipate an electric rate increase for many years.
You might be wondering what FPB is going to do with the rest of the savings it is expecting this year. There’s more savings news! The board is exploring the implementation of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). This is a system of smart meters for water and electric that will significantly reduce expense and increase the accuracy of future readings.
AMI will enable immediate two-way communication between FPB and customers’ meters, automatically alerting FPB of specific outages and allowing FPB to send commands back to the meter.
The smart meter system will provide more information on energy usage and deliver more accurate billing. It will also give FPB the flexibility for future changes in the way it bills, providing an additional savings for all of us, as customers.
I don’t know about you, but savings is always a good thing in my world of spend, spend, spend.
FPB is able to provide this savings to us because of the staff and board’s vision to secure for us a more economical, flexible and environmentally responsible power supply. I, for one, appreciate their decision to share this savings with FPB customers. After all, that’s what being locally owned is all about.
Cathy Lindsey is the public information coordinator and a lifelong customer of the Frankfort Plant Board. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.