The excitement was electric on November 14, when more than 100 statewide officials and supporters gathered in Louisville to celebrate the official opening of the permanent offices of the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency (KYMEA).
“We’ve arrived at a significant milestone in the evolution of KYMEA,” said Ron Herd, General Manager for the City Utilities Commission of Corbin and Chairman of the KYMEA board. “Today marks a wonderful moment to celebrate the strength of our shared vision of providing more reliable power, more affordable power and more options for power in each of our communities.”
The event — hosted by KYMEA President & CEO Doug Buresh and the management team — featured a ribbon cutting, a reception, and tours of the facility including the Market Analytics Center. Data analyzed in the Center allows KYMEA to oversee wholesale marketing and trading, pursue cost reductions, improve reliability, monitor daily power consumption and provide predictive and prescriptive analytic insights that will enable member communities to optimize operations.
“Why did the founding members create KYMEA? They understood it would be difficult and that there would be many challenges along the way,” Buresh said. “However, they also knew that by working together, member municipal electric systems could provide power to their customers on a more reliable and economical basis than could be provided independently.”
KYMEA provides wholesale electric power generation and transmission to the municipal utilities of its owner communities – Barbourville, Bardwell, Benham, Berea, Corbin, Falmouth, Frankfort, Madisonville, Owensboro, Paris, and Providence.
Public Power in Kentucky
“Of the 665 cities and towns in Kentucky, only 29 have the great fortune of owning their municipal electric system — a mere 4 percent,” said Buresh. “Local ownership provides many benefits for the community. One benefit is reliable electric service because the electric line personnel and support staff live and work right in their community. The public power communities understand the importance of providing reliable electric service for their friends and neighbors.”
Owensboro, KYMEA’s largest member, has a population of around 60,000 citizens while Bardwell and Benham are under 1,000. “Regardless of your size, cities and towns that do not have ownership of their municipal electric system are envious of what you offer your communities,” Buresh noted, addressing member representatives present at the open house. “Namely, you are valuable employers for the area, and you are providing a great value for your customers.”
Over 50 joint public agencies similar to KYMEA are scattered across the United States. These agencies work together through the American Public Power Association (APPA) to address the changing technologies and societal shifts in the power industry and assist public power communities with the new challenges and opportunities.
Sponsors for the event included nFront Consulting, Strategic Communications, Spiegel & McDiarmid, Rubin & Hays, Big Rivers Electric Corporation, ACES Power Marketing, ID&A, NextEra Energy Marketing, Vistra Energy, NewGen Strategies, Kinetic Strategic Design (KSD), The Underwriters Group, BKD CPAs & Auditors, Schneider Electric, JSI and SitOnIt.
KYMEA offices are located at 1700 Eastpoint Parkway, Suite 220, Louisville, Ky.