Members tour new facilities, receive update on broadband during member meetings - South Central Power

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Members tour new facilities, receive update on broadband during member meetings

January 4, 2023

From left: President & CEO Rick Lemonds presents during the Hillsboro meeting; members enjoy a tour of the Lancaster warehouse; Chairman Ken Davis presents during the Lancaster meeting.

South Central Power Company hosted members at each of its three offices in November, providing a business update including the cooperative’s current plans on broadband. Employees served up hot dogs off the grill, and in Lancaster and Hillsboro, home of the cooperative’s newly constructed facilities, members got an up-close look through building tours.

Business update

Members had the chance to hear from President and CEO Rick Lemonds, who addressed topics such as the rising cost of both power and the materials and equipment we use to deliver it. Fortunately, South Central Power is a part-owner of power generation cooperative Buckeye Power and has been able to keep generation costs relatively low. However, transmission costs continue to rise, and those costs must be passed on to consumers, leading to higher average bills. Additionally, higher costs on items such as poles, wire, and transformers means that delivering power continues to get more expensive. While we are doing all we can to mitigate costs for our members, some factors outside of our control may cause bills to be impacted by inflation for some time to come. Members also had a chance to ask questions on all topics covered in the presentation.

Building update

South Central Power consolidated from five offices, some of which dated to the 1950s and were in need of expansion and repair, into three — two of which were newly constructed in Lancaster and Hillsboro. Members got to learn about the role these facilities play in providing affordable and dependable service, see some of the equipment used in construction and power restoration, and meet employees.

Broadband update

Lemonds informed members that the cooperative received roughly $98 million in state grant funds to deliver broadband to specific underserved communities, currently in the far western and eastern portions of our service area. Today those broadband projects are planned around our Hillsboro and Barnesville office areas, but we are still seeking funding to expand service in other areas, including those underserved members in central Ohio. Broadband will be delivered to members using fiber optics, the fastest and most reliable technology available, and will be priced competitively with other services in the area. While a detailed schedule of fiber deployment is not yet available, members can visit the South Central Power website homepage and click on “Broadband” to sign up to receive email updates as more details become available.

Thanks and see you soon!

Thank you to all the members who came out to tour, ask questions, and learn about the cooperative. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement on our next round of member meetings, which will be held in Spring 2023.

From the January 2023 issue of Ohio Cooperative Living.