REB renews line of credit, reports on blackout
In its regular meeting Feb. 21, the Russellville Electric Board voted in favor of renewing a $1M line of credit with CB&S.
REB general manager Charles Canida explained the bank requires a motion from the board each year to renew the line. “We don’t pay anything unless we draw from it,” Canida said, “and so far, we’ve never had to use it.”
In other business, Canida reported the delivery date for the metal for the new building is still set for April. He said the pad will be poured just prior to the building arriving.
The building, approved at the board’s Sept. 20, 2022, meeting, will be metal, 40-by-100-foot and be used to house equipment and for storage. It will be constructed on the south end of the electric board’s warehouse facility property.
Canida reported the new radios – digital portable radios from 911 iNet – are working “very well,” with the exception of “one little hiccup.”
He said an employee had charged a radio overnight and that it came on “just fine,” showing a full battery, but after the employee turned it off until getting to work, it wouldn’t turn on again.
“We called the guy we bought them from,” Canida said, “and he happened to be in Moulton and said he would be here in 30-45 minutes.”
Canida said they did a “drop and swap” and the radios are “performing good” otherwise, citing signal strength and the ability to talk among departments, such as with police, fire and other emergency services.
COMMUNITY CARE FUNDS
In other business, Canida reported most of the Community Care funds – half of each paid by REB, the rest paid through a TVA match – have been distributed, with $2,000 each going to Faith Mission Outreach in Russellville, Russellville Dream Center and Civitan International, accepted through the local club, and $6,500 going to VFW Kelly Dickinson Post 5184.
“All the entities were very appreciative and wanted me to let the board know the money will be put to good use,” he added, noting $2,000 of the funds remain and can be donated to other nonprofits, if the board votes to do so, between now and September.
TVA COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION FUND
Canida said Russellville Middle School applied for a grant from TVA’s Community Contribution Fund, which is separate from the Community Care funds and is not matched by REB.
Jan. 18 TVA announced, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Inc. – a TVA retiree organization – that it would be awarding $1M in grants to educators in public schools to develop science, technology, engineering and math education projects across the Tennessee Valley.
“The amount of the grant, if awarded, could be pretty significant,” Canida explained, adding REB had contacted Russellville City Schools to make them aware of the grant. He said Russellville Middle School science teacher Lee Brownell submitted a detailed plan and was subsequently interviewed by TVA.
Canida reported he submitted a required postoperative analysis to TVA on the Emergency Load Curtailment Plan, noting this was for the load curtailment/blackout that took place during the Christmas season 2022.
All local power companies were required to submit reports on how they implemented the plan, Canida explained.
“We’re required to take those steps as TVA calls the steps out – every circuit or breaker we removed from service for any period of time, we had to log it, and the duration of time we had the power off, as well as approximately how many homes or businesses were affected,” he explained.
Canida said 153 LPCs were involved in the blackouts, and TVA takes the reported information to evaluate whether it can or needs to improve on the process. He said TVA is supposed to, and might have already, put out a detailed overall report.
According to a Dec. 28 press release from TVA, the organization was “conducting a thorough review of what occurred and why,” citing “sustained record-breaking cold temperatures and high winds” from winter storm “Elliott,” which was reported as having strained power grids across the nation in the previous week.
The release said it was an “unprecedented event,” marking the first time in TVA’s 90-year history to “direct targeted load curtailments due to extreme power demand.”
The TVA reported two instances during a 24-hour period when it directed local power companies to reduce power consumption: Dec. 23, a 5 percent system-wide power consumption reduction for two hours and 15 minutes, and Dec. 24, a system-wide power consumption reduction in 5-10 percent curtailments for five hours and 40 minutes.
The release further stated that most of the local power companies were able to “target power reductions that impacted customers for relatively short durations.”
The next meeting of the Russellville Electric board is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 21. Meetings are held in the conference room of the Russellville Electric Board warehouse, 1012 Jackson Ave. S.