Utility Pole Inspections Starting in October

From mid-October through December, crews from Osmose will inspect utility poles on the Hartselle Utilities system in the Northeast area of town. This section includes north of Main Street and East of Highway 31.

Crews will inspect and treat approximately 1,300 poles. “During the inspections, customers might see crews in your yard,” says Electric Superintendent Jonathan Hampton.

Over time, decay and wood-destroying insects can cause wooden utility poles to lose their strength. Hartselle contractors inspect and treat every pole within the system every 8-10 years.

This helps identify bad poles before they break. By treating every pole that isn’t bad, it prolongs their expected life span, according to Hampton.

Electric Rates Increasing October 1

There will be an increase in HU’s Electric rates effective October 1, 2020.  HU’s residential customer charge will increase by $1.00 per month and the energy charge will increase by $.00043 per kWh.  The monthly increase for our average residential customer, who uses 1,229 kWh per month, will be $1.53.

New Employees & Promotions

Wes Orr (left) and Tucker Livingston

Hartselle Utilities welcomes two new apprentice linemen to our Electric Department!

Wes Orr is a lifetime resident of Hartselle.  Through his career with AT&T, he has extensive knowledge of aerial and underground cable installation.  He resides in Hartselle with his wife, Stefanie, along with their two boys.

Tucker Livingston joins HU from the Muscle Shoals Electric Board.  He served in the United States Air Force and is an honors graduate of the Southeast Lineman Training Center.  He also resides in Hartselle with his wife, Nichole, and their two boys.

We are very excited to have Wes and Tucker join Hartselle Utilities and look forward to the positive contributions they will make to our Company and our community.

 

 

These employees were recently promoted to new positions within HU. From left: Brandon Robertson, Support Crew Foreman; Jay Reid, Equipment Operator; Tim Mitchell, Customer Service Manager; Chad Henry, Electric Foreman; Michael Halbrooks, Natural Gas Foreman; Cleeton Springer, Field Operations Superintendent.

Street light on the blink? Let us know!

All HU street light poles should have a pole number. Providing us with this number is the easiest way to help us locate a street light that isn’t working.

Street and outdoor lights go out – it’s a fact of life. Bulbs burn out, wires get frayed, and photocells get old. We want to keep street and outdoor lights working as they should, but we can’t fix lights that are out if we don’t know about them.

Street and outdoor lights should come on as it gets completely dark, and go off at dawn. If you see a light that is off at night, or on during the day, please report it. Lights that are on during the day possibly have a bad photocell, and are costing HU money.

To report a street or outdoor light problem, call Hartselle Utilities Customer Service at (256) 773-3340 or email inquiries@hartselleutilities.org. Please provide the following information:

  • Your name, address and phone number, in case we have questions.
  • Is the light not working at all, blinking, cycling on and off, or on all the time?
  • Is it a street light or an outdoor light on a customer’s property? Street lights face toward the street, while outdoor lights will be on a property and possibly pointing toward a building or house.
  • If it is a street light, is it in front of an address? If so, what is the address? If not, what street is it on, and what is the nearest home or business address and the nearest cross street? Are there any landmarks that can help pinpoint the pole?
  • If it is a street light, in addition to the above, what is the pole number?
  • If it is an outdoor light, what is the property address, and where is the pole located on the property?

New Meter Readers

Hunter McAbee
Hunter McAbee
HU customers may have noticed two new faces reading meters recently. Hunter McAbee and Brandon Robertson are HU’s new meter readers. McAbee grew up in Hartselle with his parents, Christi Henry and Troy McAbee, and graduated from Hartselle High School in 2010. Before joining HU, he worked as a nuclear plant inspector.

Brandon Robertson
Brandon Robertson
Robertson is a former Marine from Greensburg, KY. His met his wife, Hartselle native Ashley (formerly Hollingsworth), in the Marines, and after leaving the military they decided to settle in Hartselle to be near her family. Robertson worked for Hartselle Parks & Recreation for five years before joining HU. The Robertsons have two daughters.

Both men say one of their favorite things about being a meter reader is being outdoors. “I would not want to be cooped up at a desk all day,” says McAbee, “so this is perfect.”

Rate changes effective October 1

Electric rates will increase on October 1, 2014. HU’s residential customer charge will increase by $1.25 per month, and HU will pass through a rate increase in the electricity it buys from TVA. The overall monthly increase to the average HU residential customer, using 1,235 kWh per month, will be $3.16.

Pole Inspections Underway

Over time, decay and wood-destroying insects can cause utility poles to lose their strength. Every 8-10 years, HU and its contractors inspect every pole within the system, treating the poles that need to be treated to extend their life, and noting ones that need to be replaced.

Based on the latest inspection from Osmose, Electric Superintendent Jonathan Hampton has scheduled pole replacements in the southwest section of the service area, including Penn Road, Nance Ford, Barkley Bridge, Garner Road and Tanner Heights. Pole replacement may interrupt service for a short period, Hampton says, but HU crews will let customers know ahead of time.

Crews replaced 110 poles last year, says Hampton, and he plans to replace the same number this year. He has budgeted $200,000 this year for pole replacement.

TVA and Hartselle Utilities Introduce eScore Program

eScore Rebate Schedule 07.25.2014

Hartselle Utilities and TVA are pleased to introduce eScore, a modernized, enhanced version of the existing In-home Energy Evaluation (IHEE) program. eScore will become effective December 1. “The new program,” says Hartselle Utilities Customer Service Manager Terri Harris, “is designed to provide a simple path to making your home as energy efficient as possible.

“The program evaluates areas of energy usage within your home using a 1-10 point grading system, with 10 being the most efficient,” Harris explains. “According to TVA, average homes in the Tennessee Valley that achieve a 10 eScore can expect up to 20 percent savings on energy costs.”

Areas which are included in the eScore evaluation, and may be eligible for rebates, include air sealing, attic insulation, duct systems, lighting, heating/cooling systems, appliances/electronics, water heating, refrigerators, and windows and doors.

Energy efficiency improvements that are performed by a member of TVA’s Quality Contractor Network (QCN) and follow program guidelines are eligible for rebates. Homeowners will receive a rebate check from Hartselle Utilities and TVA. “The new program will be more technologically friendly, and allow you to complete energy-efficiency improvements over time as your budget allows,” says Harris.

There are two ways residents can participate in the program. If someone needs recommendations for improvements to reduce energy use and costs, he or she can have an eScore evaluation performed on their home before any improvements are made for a non-refundable $75 fee. The pre-evaluation is not required, however. A program participant who knows what work they need performed can skip the pre-evaluation and hire a contractor who is a member of TVA’s Quality Contractor Network (QCN) to perform qualified energy efficiency improvements, receiving rebate checks from Hartselle Utilities and TVA, after the work is inspected by an eScore evaluator. To participate in the program, Hartselle Utilities customers can register at www.2escore.com or by calling 1-855-237-2673, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Once registered, homeowners can select a QCN member through the eScore website and schedule work to be completed or request an eScore evaluation. After work is completed by a QCN member – and before rebates are issued – an inspection will be performed to ensure the qualified energy efficiency improvements were installed properly. An eScore evaluation is performed at no charge during the inspection process.

To participate in the new program, the home must be an existing single family home served by Hartselle Utilities, and have had permanent electric service for a minimum of one year. Rental properties are eligible, as long as both the landlord and tenant sign the Participation Agreement in order for a tenant to participate.

For more information, contact Terri Harris at tharris@hartselleutilities.org or by calling (256) 773-3340.

Please Don’t Block Transformers and Meters

If you see a yellow sticker like the one shown above on electrical equipment, please make sure that the equipment is not blocked by vegetation. The six foot clearance requirement around HU equipment applies to landscaping, fencing, shrubbery and other obstructions.
If you see a yellow sticker like the one shown above on electrical equipment, please make sure that the equipment is not blocked by vegetation. The six foot clearance requirement around HU equipment applies to landscaping, fencing, shrubbery and other obstructions.
During the summer months, vegetation around transformers and meters can quickly become overgrown. When this happens, HU crews might have difficulty reading meters – or worse, be unable to safely get to a transformer during a power failure.

HU crews must have access to transformers and meters, Customer Service Manager Terri Harris says. “If your meter box is surrounded by holly bushes, now would be the time to trim them back,” she reminds. “While we try to avoid it, we can charge a restricted access fee,” Harris says.

It can be a safety issue as well, Harris explains. Crews need a minimum area of six feet to work on most electric equipment, and workers cannot work through bushes. However, she says, HU crews will only remove plants in an emergency situation.

Customers with shrubs or other vegetation blocking access are notified by letter from Electric Department Superintendent Jonathan Hampton, asking them to remove the vegetation or obstruction.

Electric Rates Changing Oct. 1

Earlier this year a Cost of Service Study, which looks at how costs are allocated, showed that HU’s electric residential customer charge – its base rate – is too low. “A utility has costs you need to cover with your base rate, such as transmission and distribution and some maintenance, that are apart from the actual cost of the electricity we pass through our system,” explains HU General Manager Bob Sittason.

However, Sittason says, the change needed to be revenue neutral. “We are lowering the energy rate – what customers pay for the electricity they use – to offset the increase,” he says.

Effective Oct. 1, the Residential Customer Charge will increase by $2.00 per month and the energy rate will be decreased by $.00163.

HU is creating a new commercial GSA 1 customer class, breaking out a GSA 1 customer class between Single Phase service and all other services at the GSA 1 level, Sittason explains.

The Customer Charge for the new GSA 1- Single Phase customers will be $20.00, and the kWh energy rate will increase by $.00310 from the current GSA 1 energy rates.

For GSA 1- All Other customers, the Customer Charge will be $25.20, the same as the current GSA 1 rate, and the kWh energy rate will increase by $.00310.

TVA has announced a rate increase of 1.5 percent, effective October 1. HU will pass on this approved rate increase, which will add $1.50 per kWh to the average residential customer.