$4 million in reliability investments slated for 2024

PPEC line crews working

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

As mentioned in the CEO column on page 5, the co-op will implement a rate adjustment this year, due to rising material and transmission costs. PPEC underwent a cost-of-service study in 2023, indicating an increase was necessary to maintain future financial health of the cooperative.

“The PPEC trustees and employees work hard to deliver electric power that is reliable, safe, and cost-competitive with our neighboring utilities,” said PPEC President and CEO Randy Price.

“Be assured that we are working to keep your rates competitive while still replacing aging facilities, increasing efficiency, and improving our service reliability.” “We don’t take this upcoming rate adjustment lightly and have done everything possible to minimize its impact on our member-owners. Our main objective is to keep the lights on, and in order to do that, we must invest in our infrastructure,” Price concluded.

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

  • A budgeted 25 miles of old copper line rebuilds across Ohio and Indiana to reduce outage minutes. Keeping members’ lights on is a priority!
  • Installing and upgrading new sectionalizing equipment, which will automatically isolate faults and segment PPEC’s electrical system, resulting in smaller outages affecting fewer members.
  • Upgrading equipment and maintenance in the Baseline, Antwerp, Cecil, Roselm, Latty, Columbus Grove, and Convoy substations. This will improve service reliability and extend the lifespan of these substations, raising their performance to meet today’s higher standards.
  • Installing nearly 600 RF meters to complete PPEC’s smart metering system upgrade. This gives PPEC the ability to provide members with additional, improved service data, enabling members to monitor use trends and help make more informed energy efficiency decisions through their online SmartHub account. Stay tuned for PPEC’s upcoming Bidgely partnership through SmartHub, which utilizes algorithms to measure specific appliance use.
  • Testing 4,000 poles in Crane, Emerald, and Auglaize 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. New Haven is the co-op’s fastest-growing area. PPEC saw 142 new services in 2023.
  • 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-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 PPEC.coop/EV to stay updated on new rebates, electric rates, charging considerations, and more.
Workers perform pole testing.

Installing underground lines.

“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 (pictured at right). “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.”

Tree trimming
Performing tree trimming and vegetation management will be a priority in 2024.

As a not-for-profit, member-owned utility, PPEC returns members’ portion of the co-op equity to them as capital credits.

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 PPEC.coop.

PPEC pole testing schedule
2024 Pole Testing Schedule

PPEC tree trimming schedule
2024 Tree Trimming Schedule