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New training tool for co-op lineworkers

A NEW TRAINING TOOL developed by Kentucky Electric Cooperatives and Director of Safety and Training Randy Meredith is providing a safe and innovative way for co-op lineworkers to meet the growing needs of their consumer-members. 

Since its debut last fall, the three-phase transformer bank trainer has been used at more than a dozen Kentucky co-ops. 

While single-phase electrical power is commonly used for small loads such as lighting, heating and small appliances, three-phase power is used for large industrial and commercial applications, such as motors, pumps, compressors and heavy machinery. 

“This is real-life training for building, constructing and troubleshooting transformer banks for co-op industrial and commercial members,” Meredith explains. “This means safe practices and better response time, troubleshooting and reliability.” 

Because the vast majority of co-op lines are single phase, Kentucky’s new training tool gives lineworkers valuable experience on a three-phase system, a priority as co-ops continue to meet the more power-intensive needs of industrial members. 

“Every possible case of trouble lineworkers can encounter in real life, we can mimic with this equipment,” Meredith says. 

“The trainer is absolutely first class,” adds Chris Brewer, president and CEO of Clark Energy. “And the training led by the statewide association staff got our linemen engaged and really helped familiarize them with certain types of installation in a thoughtful and relevant manner.” 

Director of Safety and Training Randy Meredith leads a safety training for Meade County RECC line personnel. Photo: Kelli Gibson

Co-ops stress core values in D.C. and Ky. 

On Capitol Hill, a coalition representing Kentucky’s electric co-op members urged the state’s congressional delegation to take action and stop the advance of policies and regulations that undermine the reliability of the electric grid.

More than 40 electric co-op leaders representing the 1.7 million Kentuckians served by local electric cooperatives met with all eight members of the delegation in April. 

“Despite clear evidence and expert warnings, the federal government continues to promote an energy policy that jeopardizes the reliability of the electric grid,” says Marty Littrel, president and CEO of Meade County RECC and the Kentucky delegate on the board of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. 

“We have heard in the past that Congress won’t take action until there are blackouts,” Littrel says. “We came to Washington to tell elected leaders and anyone else willing to listen that the rolling blackouts parts of Kentucky and neighboring states experienced in December could become the new normal. The nation is at risk of significant extended outages unless Congress acts to stop these harmful policies which incentivize intermittent power sources and discourage the most reliable power sources.” 

The coalition also advocated for commonsense changes to regulations to improve the nation’s supply chain woes, modernization of infrastructure permitting, and robust funding for programs aimed at serving rural America with reliable and affordable electric service, as well as high-speed broadband.

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