Month: December 2018

Pennyrile Electric recognizes longtime board members

Following a long commitment of service as utility leaders, Dr. George D. Brown (Central District) and Jim Riley (Eastern District) announced their plans to resign as board members of Pennyrile Electric. Dr. Brown, who has served on the board since 1987, is a retired veterinarian from Elkton, Kentucky. Jim Riley, who has served on the board since 1977, is retired owner/operator of Jesse L. Riley & Son Insurance in Russellville, Kentucky. 

Pennyrile Electric Board Chair, Jimmy Futrell, says both men will be missed for their strong leadership ability. “Dr. Brown and Mr. Riley have both provided the cooperative with outstanding leadership during their years of service to Pennyrile Electric. We are truly blessed to have had the commitment and devotion displayed by these two individuals.” Futrell continues, “We would like to thank Dr. Brown and Mr. Riley for their service to Pennyrile Electric and wish them the best.” 

As a result of the two vacant seats, the cooperative has announced the appointment of two local men to fill the positions. George L. Fox has been appointed director from the Central district and Bob E. Allen has been appointed director from the Eastern district. 

Futrell says, “The two vacancies left on the Pennyrile Electric board by Dr. George Brown and James Riley left big shoes to fill. However, both Mr. Fox and Mr. Allen have already displayed their abilities to be strong leaders in their communities.” 

Fox is a self-employed grain farmer, who currently resides in Elkton with his wife, Catherine. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. Bob Allen is also a grain farmer, who resides in Russellville with his wife, Melissa. 

Futrell says, “We are very fortunate to have Mr. Fox and Mr. Allen fill the terms as board members, and we are confident the cooperative will continue to move forward with their leadership.” 

Kentucky’s electric cooperatives applaud passage of 2018 Farm Bill

Co-ops thank legislators advocating for Kentucky’s rural communities

Louisville, Ky. (December 20, 2018) – Kentucky’s electric cooperatives applaud today’s signing of the 2018 Farm Bill by President Donald Trump which will advance the interests of rural America. Kentucky’s 26 electric cooperatives serve 1.5 million Kentuckians in 117 counties and are committed to improving the quality of life for their consumer-members, most of which live in rural portions of the state.

Kentucky Electric Cooperatives President and CEO Chris Perry expressed gratitude to the Members of Congress who advocated for Kentuckians in the Farm Bill, in particular Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressman James Comer who both served on the Farm Bill Conference Committee.

“We appreciate Leader McConnell and Congressman Comer tirelessly advocating for rural Kentuckians in the compromise Farm Bill,” Perry said. “The legislation signed by President Trump today includes strong rural development provisions that will allow co-ops to continue our mission, to keep rates affordable and operate as engines of economic development in rural areas that need it the most.”

The Farm Bill includes funding and loans for rural economic development, rural broadband deployment, renewable energy initiatives and home energy retrofits.

The bill also modifies guidelines of the escrow accounts co-ops maintain with the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. Perry credited advocacy by McConnell and Comer for compromise language that creates a manageable transition to a different structure for this important program.

“Thanks to Leader McConnell and Congressman Comer, the Farm Bill includes compromise language to protect how co-ops interact with the Rural Utilities Service. This will help Kentucky co-ops keep rates affordable while continuing to invest in modernizing the electric grid,” Perry said.

Scholarship opportunity for future engineers

Since its inception two years ago, the Glenn English National Cooperative Leadership Foundation Scholarship Committee has awarded almost $10,000 in scholarships to individuals pursuing a career in engineering.

This annual opportunity would not be possible without the foresight and generous contributions of the IEEE: Rural Electric Power Committee (REPC). Together, we hope to support future engineers with an interest and passion for defining and solving the electric utility challenges of the future, specifically in the rural parts of America.

Get the details and apply.

Attention WYT alumni: Here’s a scholarship opportunity!

The Glenn English National Cooperative Leadership Foundation Scholarship
(The “Youth Tour Alumni Scholarship”)

The Glenn English National Cooperative Leadership Foundation encourages educational advancement by awarding high education scholarships to eligible students.

The Glenn English National Cooperative Leadership Foundation has awarded almost $100,000 in scholarships to NRECA’s Youth Tour alumni since the program’s inception in 2014! These are awarded in one $10,000 scholarship and four $1,000 scholarships annually.

Get the details and apply.

Diageo announces new distillery in Lebanon

Company to create 30 jobs in Inter-County Energy service territory


FRANKFORT (Dec. 13, 2018) – Diageo, a global producer of beverage alcohol, will locate a $130 million distillery in Lebanon creating 30 full-time jobs.

“It was just last year that we unveiled Diageo’s Bulleit distillery in Shelbyville, and this latest investment is another example of continued growth for the company and within our bourbon and spirits industry,” said Gov. Matt Bevin said. “We are honored to broaden our relationship with Diageo and are grateful for their further commitment to Kentucky.”

Diageo will locate the entire manufacturing facility – including a distillery, dry house and warehousing – in Lebanon. Company leaders expect the project to begin in summer 2019 and go operational by early 2022.

Joe Spalding, chairman of the board at East Kentucky Power Cooperative, serves on the local industrial development authority and is chairman of Inter-County Energy, one of Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. He noted the widespread efforts needed to secure the project.

“Diageo’s investment in the Kentucky bourbon industry and the local community is vitally important, and we welcome them,” Spalding said. “Inter-County Energy has worked with Diageo to meet this distillery’s needs for affordable, reliable energy.”

In 2017, Gov. Bevin joined Diageo executives to cut the ribbon on the company’s Bulleit Distilling Co. facility in Shelbyville. The approximately $140 million, 30-job Shelbyville operation includes a 3 million proof gallon distillery and currently six barrel warehouses. A new Visitor Experience at the site is scheduled to open to the public in summer 2019.

In recent years, the company also invested in a restoration of Stitzel-Weller in Louisville, including a Visitor Experience, bottling line and experimental still. Currently, Diageo employs more than 100 people in Kentucky.

“We thank the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, Gov. Matt Bevin, the Marion County Industrial Foundation and the City of Lebanon for their continued support of Diageo as we look to further invest in Kentucky’s spirits industry,” said Barry Becton, senior director of federal affairs and whiskey at Diageo North America. “Bourbon and American whiskey are vibrant and growing categories and we are excited to expand Diageo’s footprint in Kentucky to support our ambitions in this space.”

Diageo is a global beverage alcohol producer with a collection of brands that includes Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo’s products sell in more than 180 countries. The company employs more than 30,000 people globally with offices in 80 countries. In addition to North America, it also operates manufacturing facilities in Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Italy, Australia, India, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Sen. Jimmy Higdon, of Lebanon, welcomed Diageo’s investment.

“This new distillery is an exciting opportunity for Lebanon,” Sen. Hidgon said. “Diageo is a leading premium beverage producer that has been proven valuable to Kentucky’s world famous bourbon industry. This could be one of the biggest developments in recent Marion County history. I am hopeful that this investment will encourage tourism and future development within our community.”

Rep. Brandon Reed, of Hodgenville, noted the impact the additional employment will bring.

“New jobs and business growth are always good news in our rural areas,” Rep. Reed said. “More jobs and economic opportunity are the positive trends we continue to see thanks to the pro-business policies coming out of Frankfort, and I’m excited about the economic opportunity that this announcement will provide to families in Marion County.”

Lebanon Mayor Gary Crenshaw said Diageo will help drive the local bourbon industry.

“With Marion County’s rich history in the bourbon industry we are proud and humbled to add Diageo’s name to this evolving legacy,” Mayor Crenshaw said.

Marion County Judge-Executive David Daugherty said the project is the result of hard work.

“Marion County has worked hard to create good jobs for the skilled workforce in Central Kentucky and we welcome Diageo’s commitment to help us continue our efforts,” Judge-Executive Daugherty said.

Freddie Higdon, president of the Marion County Industrial Foundation, thanked those involved in getting the project to this stage.

“We need to recognize the city, county and community leaders for their aggressive, visionary leadership in developing infrastructure that allows us to attract an industry with worldwide recognition,” Higdon said.

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Additionally, KEDFA approved Diageo for up to $1.5 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.

Diageo also can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.

For more information on Diageo, visit

Kentucky Electric Cooperatives’ Joe Arnold sings!

Every year during the holidays, Great Day Live, a program on WHAS11 in Louisville, invites one of its favorite duos to the show to spread a little Christmas cheer throughout the studio. Joe Arnold, vice president for Strategic Communications for Kentucky Electric Cooperatives and a former WHAS11 employee, stopped by with Steve Crews to play some holiday classics.

Watch the performance

2019 WIRE Scholarships Available For KY College Students

The Kentucky Chapter of Women in Rural Electrification (WIRE) is offering three $1,000 scholarships to Kentucky college students.

The scholarships are open to any applicant who meets the following criteria:

  • Student or Student’s family must be served by a Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative.
  • Student must have completed at least 60 credit hours at the beginning of the 2018 Fall College Term.
  • Student must attend a Kentucky college or university

The scholarship application deadline is JUNE 9, 2019. Scholarship recipients will be notified in July. Scholarships will be awards based on academic achievements, extracurricular activities, career goals, recommendations from professors and community leaders, and financial need.

Mail applications to: Mary Beth Dennis, KAEC, P.O. Box 32170, Louisville, KY 40232.

WIRE Scholarship Application

Tech trend to watch: blockchain

Disruptive technology may change the way electronic transactions are processed

We are living in the age where the pace of innovation and disruption is getting faster and faster. As a result, keeping up with the latest-and-greatest technologies is becoming increasingly difficult, not to mention expensive. It seems that as soon as we upgrade our smartphone, a new model with a bigger screen and cooler features is released.

One word that comes with a lot of hype and confusion is “blockchain.” Because this technology is completely digital, thereby intangible, it’s tough to truly grasp exactly what it is.

Electric cooperatives know that with any new technology, they must view it from every angle and consider how it will ultimately improve their services. With blockchain, that means recognizing its potential and limitations, both for Kentucky’s electric co-ops and the energy industry as a whole. It also means asking whether blockchain truly benefits our consumer-members.

Let’s take a look at how blockchain works.

What is blockchain, exactly?

In simplest terms, blockchain is a digital, shared ledger that records transactions between buyers and sellers. The transaction records, or blocks, are linked together in a time series, or chain. When a new transaction is completed, a new block is added to the chain.

Electric co-ops make numerous transactions daily, such as billing, contracting with vendors and purchasing power, and even though we have secure, well-functioning systems already in place to handle these types of transactions, some see this as a potential application for blockchain and electric utilities.

What makes blockchain unique?

When a transaction takes place, it’s recorded on a network of computers, also known as nodes. The chain is shared and synchronized among all participating nodes in the blockchain network, making it very difficult to alter the chain without the interference being detected.

Another important characteristic of blockchain is that it’s decentralized. As noted before, a blockchain is distributed across the systems of all participating parties, rather than residing within a single institution, like a bank. This particular feature is why some consider the technology disruptive. Someone in Kentucky can send money to someone in Japan directly, without needing to go through a third party. This feature makes it transparent and eliminates the need for the trusted third party.

What are some real-life examples and applications of blockchain technology?

Currently, blockchain works best when the product being bought or sold is virtual rather than physical. If the transaction involves a material product, whether it be a new home thermostat or a jumbo jet, some trusted agent usually is required to certify that the physical transfer actually takes place.

Eventually, this technology may even start to intersect areas of your life when recordkeeping and processing requires security, efficiency and connectivity. In the coming years, experts see potential for blockchain technology in the fields of health care, supply-chain management, finance and lending, and more. Blockchain could even change the way we prove our identity, as well as issue and maintain birth, wedding and death certificates.

Blockchain, like all software, is a means to an end that will provide different solutions to different needs, and determining its impact starts with understanding what the technology is and how it works.

Time will tell if blockchain proves useful for electric utilities in the future, but for now, they are keeping an eye on this technology trend. Their top priority will always be to provide consumer-members with the safe, reliable and affordable energy they depend on.

Kaley Lockwood writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

How to prevent heat from going up the chimney

We use a heat pump but want an efficient, wood-burning fireplace/insert for extra heat and emergencies. Our masonry fireplace seems to chill the house. What should we look for?—Paul

Using an open masonry fireplace can cool your house and result in higher overall heating costs. Heated indoor air is drawn into the fireplace and lost up the chimney, and cold outdoor air is drawn into your house through windows, doors and gaps. While you may feel comfortable by the fireplace, your heat pump or furnace can run up to 10 percent more to warm the rest of the house.

Efficient wood-burning fireplaces or inserts have tight-sealing glass doors to minimize loss of heated room air. A 42-inch wide, EPA-certified wood-burning fireplace can produce from 8,000 to 60,000 Btu per hour, some with overall efficiency as high as 77 percent.

If your old fireplace is large, you may be able to fit a new insert inside it, saving hundreds of dollars. If you plan to install a fireplace elsewhere, installing a zero-clearance model is best, as the double-walled design with insulation can be safely placed against wood wall studs.

A heating-circulating type of fireplace is a must for the best efficiency and more heated air output. Many designs operate without a fan and rely on natural flow of room air around the superhot firebox. As the air gets hot, it becomes less dense and naturally flows out into the room through an upper vent. This pulls cooler room air into a lower inlet to be heated.

For the greatest efficiency and least drafts indoors, install an outdoor combustion air kit before you install the fireplace, as a duct is required. Installation is simpler with a raised hearth. A register with at least 12 square inches of net free vent area should be adequate to run it under the floor to the front of the firebox.

JAMES DULLEY is a nationally syndicated columnist who writes on energy efficiency and do-it-yourself energy topics.

2018 Kentucky Electric Cooperatives Annual Meeting educates, inspires

With the theme of “Your Neighbor, Your Energy,” Kentucky Electric Cooperatives’ 72nd Annual Meeting on November 19-20, 2018, highlighted both the important role electric co-ops play in their communities and the issues facing the cooperative program today. Co-op directors, managers and staff from across Kentucky received practical training,  inspiring presentations and important updates from the energy sector.

The meeting debuted the new name for the statewide association, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, and featured speakers such as a former major league baseball player, the pilot of Air Force One on 9/11 and a longtime livestock show judge who has impacted the lives of countless Kentucky youths.

“This was one of the most important events we’ve hosted,” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “We offered an immense amount of training for our members, which will continue to be a priority for us. Overall, the meeting highlighted the values, goals and challenges we face, and underscored Kentucky Electric Cooperatives’ mission of serving and supporting Kentucky’s electric co-ops.”

On Monday, Nov. 19, nearly 350 people representing the 26 electric co-ops served by the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives joined valued partners attending the two-day meeting at the Marriott in downtown Louisville.

The first day began with a meeting of the Kentucky Chapter of Women in Rural Electrification (WIRE) committee followed by the Annual Membership and Board Meeting.

During the Annual and Board meeting, the 2019 Kentucky Electric Cooperatives Board of Directors was elected:

Big Rivers Electric Corporation: Bob Berry, Wayne Elliott
Big Sandy RECC: Bruce Aaron Davis, Greg Davis
Blue Grass Energy: Mike Williams, Paul Tucker
Clark Energy: Chris Brewer, Steven Hale
Cumberland Valley RECC: Ted Hampton, Vernon Shelley
East Kentucky Power Corporation: Tony Campbell, Alan Ahrman
Farmers RECC: Bill Prather, Paul Hawkins
Fleming-Mason Energy: Joni Hazelrigg, John Roe
Grayson RECC: Carol Hall Fraley, Jimmy Whitt
Gibson EMC: Dan Rodamaker, David Kimbell
Inter-County Energy: Jerry Carter, Jason Todd
Jackson Energy:  Carol Wright, Phil Thompson
Jackson Purchase Energy: Greg Grissom, Lee Bearden
Kenergy Corp: Jeff Hohn, Chris Mitchell
Licking Valley RECC: Kerry Howard, Tommy Hill
Meade County RECC: Marty Littrel, Darla Sipes
Nolin RECC: Mickey Miller, Linda Grimes
Owen Electric: Mark Stallons, Robert True
Pennyrile Electric: Alan Gates, Jimmy Futrell
Salt River Electric:  Tim Sharp, Linda West
Shelby Energy: Jack Bragg, Jr., Pat Hargadon
South Kentucky RECC: Dennis Holt, Rick Halloran
Taylor County RECC:  Barry Myers, Christopher Tucker
Tri-County EMC: Paul Thompson, Veachel Harlan
Warren RECC: Scott Ramsey, Michael McGuirk
West Kentucky RECC:  David Smart, Eddy Wright

During lunch, Michael Hodges, a high school senior who attended the 2018 Washington Youth Tour, sponsored by Pennyrile Electric, Hopkinsville, and was elected to the Youth Leadership Council, spoke about what a great impact the trip has had on his life.

Joe Arnold, vice-president of Strategic Communications for Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, moderated a discussion with Scott Jennings, a founding partner of RunSwitch PR and political analyst for CNN. Jennings provided analysis of the 2018 mid-term election, handicapped the 2019 election cycle in Kentucky and made some predictions about the 2020 presidential election year.

In the afternoon, Terry Boston, retired CEO of PJM Interconnection, presented “Smart, Secure and Sustainable… “The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be.”  In his presentation, Boston covered many of the key issues co-ops face, including Co2 emissions and cybersecurity.

Following a reception hosted by Federated Rural Electric Insurance, guests filled the ballroom for the annual banquet.

Since 1982, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives has presented the Distinguished Rural Kentuckian award to individuals who have helped improve the lives of those living in rural Kentucky.  The list of previous recipients includes Gov. Bert T. Combs, Barney Arnold, Gov.Martha Layne Collins, Joe B. Hall, and last year’s honoree, Byron Crawford.

The 2018 Distinguished Rural Kentuckian honored at the banquet is Warren Beeler, an accomplished agriculture leader in the state who has worked on behalf of farmers for two decades and is regarded as one of the most experienced livestock judges in the nation.

After Beeler’s remarks, Chris Burke, who sealed a playoff series for the Houston Astros with a dramatic 18thinning home run, delivered the banquet’s keynote speech. Burke, a Louisville native, echoed Beeler’s remarks on the importance of family and how encouraging words from parents and coaches inspired him to achieve his baseball dream.

The next morning, Col. Mark W. Tillman (ret.), gave a harrowing account of what it was like to be the pilot of Air Force One during the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Tillman recounted how he flew President George W. Bush from Florida to several points across the United States on that day to keep him safe from the terrorist attacks.

The meeting wrapped with the announcement of the new co-op managers, directors and attorneys and recognition of several co-op employees for their years of service.

New Managers, Directors, & Attorneys

Richard Cobb, Director,  Blue Grass Energy
Lu Young, Director, Blue Grass Energy
Tyson Kamuf, Attorney, Big Rivers Electric
Greg Carter, Attorney, West Kentucky RECC
Tim Purcell, Director, Warren RECC

Service Awards

15 Years

Joan Mouser, Trustee, Gibson EMC
Rana Buchanan, Trustee, Gibson EMC
A.C. “Happy” Cahoe, Director, Salt River Electric
Raymond Rucker, Vice President, Taylor County RECC
Ronald Bailey, Director, Tri-County Electric
Jeff Downing, Director, Tri-County Electric
Robert Moore, Director, Big Sandy RECC
Greg Davis, Director,  Big Sandy RECC

20 Years

Dennis Moneyhon, Chairman, Bluegrass Energy
Don Leathers, Trustee, Gibson EMC
Paul Thompson, CEO, Tri-County Electric
Tom Saunders, Director, Fleming-Mason Energy
Dennis Barnes, Director, West Kentucky RECC
Steven Hale, Director, Clark Energy

25 Years

Lee Bearden, Director, Jackson Purchase
Wayne Elliott, Director, Jackson Purchase

30 Years

Robert Rhodes,  Director, Meade County RECC

35 Years

A.L. “Buddy” Rosenberger, Director, Nolin RECC

45 Years

Michael “Mickey” Miller, CEO, Nolin RECC
Gayle Robbins, Attorney, West KY RECC