Linemen have been an integral part of building our communities for the last 100 years. Many linemen families have worked in the industry for generations and take great pride in providing services right here in Lakeland. August 26th is Florida Lineworker Appreciation Day. For the month of August, electric utilities across the state will be honoring the men and women who work tirelessly in varying conditions to make sure our lights stay on. When most of the population takes shelter, linemen crews head out to restore power, often leaving behind their families to respond to the needs of the community.
The month of August brings back memories for many of us here in Lakeland as the kickoff to one of the worst hurricane seasons experienced by Polk County. In 2004, Central Florida was bombarded by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. It seems fitting that at the height of hurricane season, the State of Florida and Lakeland Electric recognizes those who work relentlessly to restore order after the chaos of the storm has cleared.
Considered a highly dangerous profession, Linemen risk their lives every day to keep communities safe. During storm season, however, the stakes can seem much higher. Utilities, like Lakeland Electric, have a responsibility to restore power to those who provide essential services to the community, such as hospitals, police stations and fire departments. We couldn’t accomplish this task without our Linemen.
Linemen work any hour of the day in hazardous conditions to ensure the community’s electrical power remains dependable and sustainable. Linemen are first responders in the truest sense. Often, other first responders are unable to perform their duties until after linemen have removed any electricity hazard at the scene of an emergency.
LAKELAND ELECTRIC FUEL CHARGE INCREASE EFFECTIVE AUGUST 2014
LAKELAND, FL (July 7, 2014) - The Lakeland City Commission voted to increase the fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers $2.50 cents per 1,000 kWh effective for meters read on or after August 1, 2014. The new fuel charge will be $45.85 per 1,000 kWh.
After listening to a presentation at the Monday, July 7th Utility Committee meeting, staff recommended an increase to the current fuel charge based on fuel forecasts and the need to purchase power while the base load units have been down for maintenance. The City Commission voted 6-1 for the increase.
The base rate includes environmental compliance charges that are directly related to federal and state initiatives regarding clean air and water mandates. Most of the expenses are related to energy production and include air emission controls, water quality monitoring and capital spending for equipment necessary to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act.
Lakeland Electric bills are broken out for customer convenience in detail to show the base charge, fuel charge and appropriate taxes and service charges. The fuel charge on a utility bill is exactly that, the actual costs for fuel used to generate the amount of electricity used within your residence. Most utilities subscribe to the same billing practice and break out the base rate and the fuel charge for their customers. There is no mark-up in fuel. In fact, fuel is a straight pass-through charge to customers.
Based on Florida Municipal Electric Association data, Lakeland Electric’s residential rates after the August 1, 2014 fuel charge increase will continue to be some of the lowest in the state.
Florida’s public power utilities are committed to high reliability. Several, in fact, are nationally recognized leaders. When a utility focuses on reliability not only do its customers benefit, so does the entire community.
“Our commitment to reliability means continually improving our business practices,” said Joel Ivy, General Manager at Lakeland Electric. “We want to enhance the value of the services we provide, and having superior reliability is a win-win for our customers and our community.”
The American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Reliable Public Power Provider program (RP3) recognizes utilities for outstanding electric service. The program distinguishes utilities that excel in 4 disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement.
“By recognizing a utility’s implementation of leading practices, the RP3 program helps a utility demonstrate to community leaders, governing board members, suppliers, and service providers a utility’s commitment to its employees, customers, and community,” said Alex Hofmann, Energy and Environmental Services Manager at APPA. “An RP3 designation is a sign of a utility focused on operating an efficient, safe, and reliable distribution system.”
The application process is rigorous and all applications are kept confidential. The RP3 review panel is made up of 18 public power representatives from across the country.
“After a utility’s application is received and processed by staff, it is reviewed a minimum of four times over two meetings by the panel,” said Hofmann. “During this review applicants are given credit towards their designation based on completion of questions and the merit of responses in each of the four disciplines.”
APPA provides a number of tools and resources for RP3 designees. The RP3Application Guide helps utilities understand how the Panel evaluates applications and gives credit to responses.
APPA staff puts on a yearly RP3 Webinar Series. “These webinars review each section with an RP3 Review Panel member,” said Hofmann. “The 2014 webinars have already occurred and are available for viewing online.”
“To help communities educate to city councils, other departments, and customers on the RP3 program we have createda program flyer,” said Hofmann. “The flyer answers the common questions about what an RP3 designation means, including: what is RP3, how utilities apply for the designation, how RP3 utilities are chosen, and the benefits.”
RP3 designation is on a three-year cycle. Utilities that apply in 2014 and receive an RP3 designation in early 2015 will maintain that designation until early 2018.
To maintain RP3 status utilities must re-apply every three years. Prior to 2013, RP3 designations were valid for a two-year period; therefore, utilities that wanted to maintain their RP3 status had to re-apply every other year.
The re-application process is intended to ensure RP3 utilities are consistently striving to maintain and improve the quality of their system. Utilities must apply by September 30.
“Each year, the RP3 review panel assesses and revises the application as utility practices change,” said Hofmann. “This constant expert review ensures that the RP3 program represents the best practices in the industry.”
Eight Florida Public Power utilities are current recognized RP3 designees. Four are Diamond-level designees, the highest level designation, awarded to utilities that meet 98-100% of the program criteria. These utilities are Beaches Energy Service, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA), JEA, and Lakeland Electric.
“RP3 recognition is great acknowledgement of improvement to our processes, results from those processes, levels of success with our customer satisfaction, and also the achievement of our goals and objectives,” said Lakeland’s Ivy. “Our customers expect and deserve the highest quality service, and certainly here at Lakeland Electric we’re passionate about providing that.”
This is Lakeland Electric’s first Diamond-level designation. “We have three main areas of focus when looking at the health of our utility and that’s affordability, dependability, and sustainability,” said Ivy. “These drive our decision-making processes, and RP3 speaks directly to those areas of focus.”
The RP3 program is significant because utilities can compare their operations against performance metrics on a national level. “Receiving RP3 designation demonstrates a utility’s commitment to its community, its customers and its employees,” said Roy Trotter, Electric Utility Director at Beaches Energy Services. “The four disciplines are the foundation of utility operations and a reflection of the dedication and skill of our people.”
Lakeland Electric sought to deliver greater value to its customers. “We saw APPA publications on the RP3 program and believed we were already on this path of excellence,” said Ivy. “We wanted assurance and recognition, and the designation stands as a testament to our excellent reliability.”
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LAKELAND, FL (Apr 18-19, 2015) —This past weekend several of our Linemen travelled to Tallahassee to compete in the 2015 Florida Lineman Competition and we are happy to report we brought home three trophies! Linemen competitions are a great resource for our employees to network with other linemen, learn about techniques and methods being used by others and to teach others what they are doing well. The competitions are for the purpose of demonstrating our commitment to safety.
The team members who participated are: Journeyman TeamsTeam 1 : Chance Grimes, Cody Allen, Matt ThomasTeam 2 : Ricky Platt, Nik Lanier, Todd Walker Team 3 : Sam Brown, Doug Bergwall, Keith Laidig Alternate/judge : Josh Lindsey Lineman Apprentices: Gary Boutwell, John Wooding, Cory Burkholder, Brandon Peacock, Steven Hendricks Chief Judge for 69 kV dead-end bell change: Dwayne Goostree Chief Judge for mystery event : Robert PadgettEvent judges : Paul Page, Nick Short, Chris Hodges
If you want to see how everyone faired in each event and the overall results, please visit www.publicpower.com and click on the Competition Tab/Results.Congratulations to our team! They all did GREAT!
July 15th Flying Tigers Game
Come out and enjoy a FREE baseball game! The Flying Tigers and Lakeland Electric are teaming up to create some summer fun! On July 15th bring your Lakeland Electric bill (paper or electronic) for 4 free tickets. If you are not a Lakeland Electric customer or need additional tickets, a donation of food for Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) gets you one ticket per food item! The Customer Appreciation Game begins at 6:00p.m. and is against the Palm Beach Cardinals. We cannot wait to see you out at the ball game!
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501 East Lemon Street
Lakeland, FL 33801-9881
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