For more than 70 years, the Greeneville Light & Power System has provided Greene Countians with electric power.
But, as different sources of energy emerge, new electrical devices are developed and advances in power storage are made, the utility wants to be open and adaptable to change to meet customers’ needs, GLPS General Manager Bill Carroll said.
Providing broadband customer service is being explored by the power company now, and there are other areas that the utility may be investigating in the future (see related article, page 1A).
“We have done a really good job at providing power at a reasonable price to customers,” he said. “But, we also want to keep ourselves involved in serving the community and important to our customers in the future.”
The upcoming generation of customers are interested in renewable energy sources, Carroll said, and the utility is open to incorporating energy sources that would be of value to the community.
Solar power has great promise, but the technology to make it practical and cost efficient has not yet been developed, he said.
New technological developments are also needed to make electric vehicles more practical for daily use, including better battery storage and the ability to charge batteries quickly. “With American ingenuity, those developments are probably not far off, and it will be a boon to electric companies,” he said.
GLPS wants to be proactive in how it prepares for the demand from electric vehicles before they become more prevalent, Carroll said.
That will also involve educating customers about not trying to charge vehicles during peak demand periods such as 7 a.m. in the morning or 6 p.m. in the evening, he said.
The power company is investigating what electric vehicles are available now, and considering a possible purchase of one. This would allow the utility to get hands-on experience with current technology and study the resources a customer might need in daily use of the car, Carroll said.
The utility has also begun investigation into new technology that may reduce GLPS power demand from the Tennessee Valley Authority.
TVA bases what it charges GLPS for electricity on calculations related to a single hour of use during peak demand, Carroll explained. “Anything we can do to reduce that peak demand is going to save customers money,” he said.
GLPS pays over 82 percent of its revenues back to TVA in purchasing power, with the remainder used for operations. The sources for that power, according to TVA, are 40 percent nuclear, 26 percent coal, 20 percent natural gas, 10 percent hydroelectric, 3 percent wind and solar and 1 percent purchased power from other energy producers.
At a recent state power association meeting, Carroll said there was information about new technology that would allow battery storage of power that could be used to reduce the demand during peak times of use.
The utility is providing information to a company that sells the technology to see if it would be a viable option, he said.