Ensuring Distribution Capacity

August 8, 2022

 • BY Ron Holcomb

Tipmont REMC recently hit a new all-time peak for energy distribution. To be exact, we distributed 135.5 megawatts to our members at 5:35 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5. 

What do those big numbers mean? They might seem concerning during a sweltering summer with sustained news coverage of energy availability. However, 135.5 megawatts sit well below Tipmont’s distribution capacity. 

As a distribution cooperative, Tipmont purchases energy and distributes it to your home. To meet your energy demand, we need both adequate generation and distribution capacity. For this column, we’ll focus on distribution capacity. 

Our system engineers planned for this record years ago. They’re planning adjustments right now that will provide adequate distribution capacity for years to come. 

Generally, system-wide demand increases by two to four megawatts every year. The simple reason is that energy demand and consumption are increasing. The context varies. Here’s one example: As people work remotely, the electricity required to do their jobs has not significantly changed; They’re just using it in their homes rather than in an office that a different utility may serve. 

Growth in our system is also a factor. We’ve expanded our electrical footprint into many new residential and commercial developments. Tipmont REMC’s next construction work plan includes infrastructure improvements to address capacity increases for the next several years — responsibly budgeted projects that will ensure reliable energy distribution to all Tipmont REMC members. 

This all assumes adequate generation for Tipmont to purchase. That’s another topic for a future column, but there are things you can do today to help reduce demand on the grid. 

Energy demand is at its highest from 2 to 8 p.m. weekdays. That makes sense, as people come home from school or work to prepare dinner, run the dishwasher, do laundry, watch TV, and more. Consider running appliances overnight or prior to peak hours. Bump your thermostat up or down by a degree or two depending on the season. 

Engineers will tell you planning is just what they do. But it’s a beneficial outcome of expertise and foresight. By monitoring capacity needs and fortifying infrastructure, they help ensure Tipmont REMC meets your energy distribution needs, with ample breathing room. 

TAX REPEAL TAKES EFFECT 

As noted in July’s edition, a repeal of Indiana’s Utility Receipts Tax went into effect on July 1. For Tipmont members like you, this was reflected in a reduction to our kilowatt-hour charge, effective July 22. The single-phase rate, which most residents pay, is currently 11.22 cents. 

(Article) Utility receipts tax repeal creates savings for Tipmont members

ANNUAL MEETING IS COMING SOON 

Save the date for the 2022 Tipmont REMC Annual Meeting — coming Saturday, Sept. 17, to the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds. Watch your mail for an invitation postcard, and you’ll get full details in September’s Indiana Connection and online at tipmont.org.

Ron Holcomb

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Ron is a 30 year veteran of the electric utility industry with extensive experience in power supply, advanced grid technologies, essential service operations, economic development and value-driven growth initiatives for combined electric and telecommunication utilities. During his career, he has led three utilities as President/CEO and provided management consulting to utilities across the country. Ron joined Tipmont REMC as CEO in summer 2013. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Austin Peay State University and an MBA from Murray State University.
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