Submitted by Shelley Lowe
Many of you know that BGMU’s Electric Division purchases electric power from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federal power agency serving nine million people over seven states, including portions of Kentucky. The Electric Division ventured into the electricity business in 1942. For over 75 years, BGMU and TVA have provided reliable, low cost electric power to the citizens of Bowling Green.
Can you imagine a world without electricity? Think for a moment how electricity intersects with your modern day life. What did you do when you woke up this morning? Did you reach for your cell phone to turn off the alarm? Did you have the cell phone plugged in to charge overnight? Turn on some lights? Make a cup of coffee? Iron your clothes for the day? Push the button that opens your garage door? Electricity intersects with all of those activities and so many others. I don’t know about you, but I cannot imagine modern life without the availability and reliability of electricity.
So what about pricing? In 1942, the average Bowing Green household used 50 kilowatt hours (kwh) in a month, and the bill was about $2.45. That translates to a blended rate of about 4.9 cents per kwh. Factoring in inflation since 1942, one would expect today’s rate to be approximately 73 cents per kwh; however, current residential rates are around a dime. So in 75 years, rates have just barely doubled. That’s pretty remarkable! Locally, BGMU’s residential and small commercial rates are in the top 20% of affordability benchmarked against all TVA local power companies and in the top 10% for all medium and large commercial and industrial rates.
In 2018, BGMU had another milestone anniversary –150 years of providing water service to the citizens of Bowling Green! In 1868, the City of Bowling Green’s Water Commission purchased 7.5 acres of land on Chestnut Street to be used for a pumping station and another 7 acres of land on Reservoir Hill for distribution of water to the town. This first water system consisted of cast iron pipes. Water was pumped directly from Barren River to an open reservoir and distributed by gravity. There were no sedimentation, filtration or disinfection processes — just river water delivered via piping and gravity.
The first water treatment plant was constructed in the late 1920s. Today, your drinking water exceeds the highest federal and state standards for water quality. Water pumped from Barren River is subjected to a battery of processes to clean, filter and disinfect your drinking water. We take over 1.3 million water samples each year to ensure we’re doing things right. Our team of dedicated water professionals — from treatment plant operators to maintenance and line crews who maintain, fix and repair pumps and piping infrastructure — all work hard to deliver safe and reliable water service to you.
To top it off, we deliver clean, safe drinking water to your tap for a fraction of a penny per gallon. For that same fraction of a penny, we take back your wastewater, pump it to the wastewater treatment plant, clean it up, disinfect it, and put it back into the river in a condition better than we found it. Now that’s remarkable!
What does all this mean? I hope it demonstrates that for over 75 years, BGMU has taken seriously its commitment to be focused on its customers, and we work hard to keep our rates affordable. BGMU is proud to be your provider of electricity, water and sewer services. Our mission is to improve our customers’ quality of life by providing reliable, safe and efficient utility services. As a municipally-owned utility, our vision is to be customer-focused in all we do.
PMA would like to thank BGMU for continuing to be active within this organization and its continued sponsorship of meetings. PMA appreciates the community-driven nature of its members. Listen to the BGMU presentation at the January 15, 2019 Lunch ‘n Learn.