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February 28, 2018


ASHLAND, Ky., – Kentucky Power has re-cleared 9,060 miles of right-of-way since 2010 as part of a continued effort to improve customer service and reliability. That is a distance equivalent to more than three coast-to-coast trips across the U.S., according to reference.com.

An employee for Kentucky Power contractor Asplundh Tree Expert Co. trims a tree in Carter County.An employee for Kentucky Power contractor Asplundh Tree Expert Co. trims a tree in Carter County.

 

“Kentucky Power has made significant progress in removing vegetation from within the rights-of-way and improving customer reliability and there are more opportunities in front of us,” said Greg Bell, Region Support Manager. The number of customer outages attributed to vines or tree inside rights-of-way has decreased 61 percent since 2011. Last year, the number of customers affected by trees or vines within the rights-of-way declined 60 percent from 72,076 in 2011 to 28,713.”

This year Kentucky Power will complete the first phase of its effort to move to a five-year trimming cycle. That initial clear is now about 95 percent complete. In 2018, Kentucky Power will remain focused on completion of the initial plan, completion of the interim plan, pursue widening opportunities, dead tree abatement, and removal of overhanging branches, Bell said.

Before 2010, Kentucky Power cleared vegetation, including trees, brush and other growth, on a performance-based approach. Lines that showed poor reliability were scheduled for clearing based on frequency of customer outages and the conditions of the rights-of-way.

Kentucky Power made such good progress on the plan that the Kentucky Public Service Commission approved a settlement agreement to scale back vegetation management spending to save customers money. The PSC approved the proposal as part of its order in Kentucky Power’s recent rate review request. The plan moves Kentucky Power to a 5-year cycle plan and reduces annual spending from $27 million in 2017 to about $21.5 million in 2018.

Initially, Kentucky Power used a third party statistical sample to establish a vegetation plan. The initial projections showed that approximately 1.1 million trees would need to be trimmed, 760,000 trees would need to be removed, and 17,100 acres of brush would need to be sprayed or cut in existing rights-of-way to achieve a projected 47 percent reduction for tree-related outages.

“By 2014, we realized the scope of work was bigger and would take more time,” said Forestry Supervisor Dusty Roll. “Kentucky Power had significantly underestimated the amount of vegetation in and around its energized facilities.”

Five months before completion of the initial trim, Kentucky Power trimmed approximately 573,500 trees, removed 1.9 million trees, cut 17,300 acres of brush, and sprayed 19,200 acres of brush.

“The Vegetation Management Program has been successful in developing a plan, acting on the plan, monitoring the plan, and adjusting the plan to meet continued reliability improvements at the most economical costs,” Bell said.

To not lose ground on existing reliability improvements, Kentucky Power has shifted its program from a 4-year cycle to a 5-year cycle to offset some of the additional expenses. The first 5-year cycle will begin in January 2019, he said.

Bell said Kentucky Power could not have been successful without its valued partners. Kentucky Power partners with several vegetation management contractors to support rights-of-way clearing efforts: Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Nelson Tree Service, Wright Tree Service, and Davey Resource Group.

In a recent email, one Kentucky Power customer in the Boyd County area praised work done by Nelson Tree Service. “I want to compliment the workers on their respectfulness and strong work ethic during each work day,” the customer wrote. “They put in a full day no matter the weather. Thank you for expecting such high work standards from your employees.”

Another Customer in Paintsville complemented recent work by Asplundh Tree Experts. “These crews were very hard workers and did a beautiful job trimming the trees and cleaning up.”

As the start of the 5-year cycle grows near, Kentucky Power will continue to review its Vegetation Management Program processes to complete the re-clearing in a safe, cost efficient, and effective manner, while improving the customer’s reliability and experience, Bell said.

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Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, provides service to about 168,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties. Kentucky Power is an operating company in the American Electric Power system, one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S.

 

February 27, 2018

Driverless trucksDriverless trucks


FRANKFORT – Semi-autonomous tractor-trailers could be coming to Kentucky’s highways under a bill that unanimously passed the state Senate today.

Senate Bill 116 would allow truck platooning. The term refers to two or more individual commercial vehicles traveling together in sync with electronically coordinated speeds through wireless communication. Once the vehicles get on the road and platoon mode has been turned on, the front vehicle’s driver is in control of the speed while the following driver is able to take his or her foot off the gas pedal and stay in sync with the vehicle ahead.

“It is basically for the FedExs, UPSs, DHLs and Amazons of the world,” said sponsor Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Prospect, in reference to the shipping giants sprawling airfreight operations in Louisville and Northern Kentucky. Just this year, Amazon announced it would build a $1.4 billion hub at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport to support a fleet of 100 plus Prime Air cargo planes.

A floor amendment introduced by Harris would limit the platoons to two vehicles and require truck operators to submit a platooning plan to the state police for review.

Harris said trucks traveling as close as 250 feet apart are more fuel-efficient because air-drag friction is reduced significantly. He also said safety is also improved because trucks in platoon mode only need one-fifth of the time a human would need to react.

During a committee hearing on the bill earlier this month, the state transportation department endorsed the legislation.

SB 116 now goes the House for consideration.

 

February 22, 2018

Louisa City Council Meeting 2/20/18

City Council members present at Feb. 2o, 2018 meeting L to R Mitch Castle, Matt Brown, Mayor Harold Slone, Lisa Schaeffer, Tom Parsons and John Nolan. Lazer Photo by Gina WoodsCity Council members present at Feb. 2o, 2018 meeting L to R Mitch Castle, Matt Brown, Mayor Harold Slone, Lisa Schaeffer, Tom Parsons and John Nolan. Lazer Photo by Gina Woods

 


The Louisa City Council met for a Special Meeting, Tuesday February 20, 2018 to make up for the regular February meeting that was cancelled due to sickness . Those present were Mitch Castle Member, Matt Brown Member, Lisa Schaeffer Member, Tom Parsons Member, John Nolan member, Mayor Slone and Eldred Adams Attorney. The meeting was called to order after the Pledge and the opening prayer.

*  Motion made by John Nolan ,second by Mitch Castle to approve the minutes of the meeting January 23, 2018.

Auditor Jim Bryant of Wells & Co.Auditor Jim Bryant of Wells & Co.*  Motion made by Lisa Schaeffer, second by Tom Parsons to approve the City of Louisa 2016-2017 audit.

Jim Bryant of Wells & Company presented the Council with the results of the annual audit. The audit included statements of the governmental activities, business-type activities, each mayor fund and all the rest of the related financial statement. All departments remained in budget and the City of Louisa was found to be financially sound and within all regulations.

*  Motion to approve a Resolution to support development of the Tug River as a water trail. Lisa Schaeffer motion, second by Matt Brown

*  Motion by Mitch Castle, second by Tm Parsons to approve sale of surplus 2008 Ford Crown Victoria 13,975.

*  Motion by Lisa Schaeffer, second by John Nolan to approve the dates of the citywide yard sale. The Mayor was approached by Joyce Castle for approval to use the city park for this event. Since it is on a city street, no state permits would be necessary. The Mayor suggested June 2 or August 4 but no date was agreed on at this time.

*  During the budget adjustment portion of the meeting there were three options presented to the Council concerning personnel salary increases. Option 3 was chosen and it will include a $.39 cent per hour pay increase across the board for full time employees.

The council then went into Executive session to discuss possible litigation and a personnel matter. No action by the council in executive session was reported.

The meeting was then adjourned.

 

 February 23, 2018

The opioid epidemic is paralyzing the workforce. Even with six million open jobs across the country, rampant drug abuse has "incapacitated thousands of working-age people whom employers would otherwise be eager to hire," Lydia DePillis reports for CNN Money.

Research published in September from Princeton economist Alan Krueger found the rise in painkiller prescriptions from 1999 to 2015 led to a 20 percent drop in men’s workforce participation and 25 percent decline in women’s participation, especially in Appalachia, the Rust Belt coastal Washington, northwest Arkansas, and central Maryland.

As a result, "some employers that typically screen drug users out through testing are starting to become less picky," DePillis reports. But "such tolerance is not an option for all employers. Jobs that involve working with children typically bar people with criminal records," she adds. "Construction companies, too, are less likely to take the risk of hiring someone who might come to work high and make a fatal mistake while on a ladder or using heavy equipment."

In its annual economic report, President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers wrote "curbing the opioid crisis is of critical importance for ensuring a stable or growing employment rate among prime-age workers."


Written by Heather Chapman Posted at 2/23/2018

 

February 19, 2018

THIS WEEK AT THE STATE CAPITOL  

February 12-16, 2018



FRANKFORT -- The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2018 session reached its halfway point this week. While several bills have already been delivered to the governor to be signed in to law, much of lawmakers’ work so far has focused on laying the foundation for what’s to come in the second half of the session.

Hundreds of bills are under consideration in the legislative committee system, which gives lawmakers a chance study bills and hear testimony from people across the state on how proposed changes to state law will affect them. At the same time, budget subcommittees have been extensively digging into details of the proposed state spending plan they received from the governor last month and are considering which changes they should make to the spending plan before it is finalized.

More than 20 bills received approval from either the full Senate or House this week while many more received favorable votes from committees. Legislation that advanced this week includes bills on the following topics:

*  Jail security. House Bill 92 would allow jail canteen profits to be used for the enhancement of jail safety and security. With an 89-0 vote in the House to show agreement to the addition of an emergency clause to the legislation, the bill now goes to the governor for his signature. It would take effect immediately upon being signed.

*  Hemp. House Concurrent Resolution 35 requests that Congress remove hemp from the definition of marijuana in the federal Controlled Substances Act. By allowing Kentucky farmers to use hemp to its full advantage as an agricultural crop, HCR 35 intends to benefit Kentucky’s economy. Passing the House by a vote of 93-2, it now goes to the Senate for consideration.

*  Police protection. House Bill 193 would make it a felony to intentionally expose a law enforcement officer to bodily fluids or bodily waste. The legislation would carry stiffer penalties if the bodily fluids or waste carry—or could carry—a communicable disease. Both crimes would be considered felonies under the proposal. After being approved by the House Judiciary Committee this week, the bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

*  Eye care. House Bill 191 would require that online eye exams and prescriptions offered in Kentucky be accompanied by a real-time visit with a Kentucky eye care provider. The bill was passed by the House with a 90-7 vote and is headed for the Senate for consideration.

*  Organ donation. House Bill 84 would require coroners or medical examiners to release identifying and other relevant information about a deceased person to Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates if the person’s wish to be an organ donor is known and the body is suitable for medical transplant or therapy. In hopes to save many lives, House Bill 84 has received final passage with a 30-0 vote. It now goes to the Governor for his signature.

*  Alcohol. Senate Bill 110 would preserve the status quo in determining how many liquor licenses are issued in individual cities and counties throughout Kentucky. This measure limits the number of licenses available for retail package liquor stores and by-the-drink sales of liquor. Passing through a Senate committee meeting this week, it now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

If you’d like to offer feedback to state lawmakers on issues under consideration, please call the General Assembly’s toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181.



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