Behind the Louisville offices of Kentucky Living, the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives operates a plant that manufactures electric transformers for co-ops in 17 states.
This spring, a group of 16 University of Kentucky students toured the plant as part of an innovative program that combines classroom engineering studies with visits to electric utility sites. The Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky aims to connect forward-thinking engineering students with working professionals, to learn about the real world of the energy industry.
KAEC Vice President of Member and Public Relations Dennis Cannon, who serves on the PEIK advisory board, described the importance of showing students how the industry works to help them make informed career decisions.
“There is a great need for power systems engineers in our industry,” says Cannon.
Safety on the circuit
A co-op serving members in both Kentucky and Tennessee travels its service territory with equipment to keep its members safe.
Tri-County Electric Co-op’s safety demonstration trailer holds small-scale replicas of buildings and energized power lines, to show the potential hazards of electricity.
The co-op, headquartered in Lafayette, Tennessee, offers free demonstrations to schools and civic organizations to save lives by demonstrating the power of electricity and how to avoid accidents.
A Kentucky expert briefed congressional staff members in Washington, D.C., about programs that help provide electric service in rural areas.
“The two words you need to remember are reliable and affordable,” said Hilda G. Legg, describing the goals of the electric co-op program.
Legg, of Somerset, served as administrator of the Rural Utilities Service in Washington during the George W. Bush administration. She told the 70 staffers that RUS loans help provide rural electric service, and benefit the government, because those loans are repaid with interest.
Calling the agency a model of extraordinary efficiency, she noted that loan repayments to RUS “put $63 million back into government coffers in the last two years.”