The Owensboro Utility Commission reported Thursday during their regular meeting that there is an increased demand for high-speed internet due to many people working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
OMU’s quarterly telecommunication sales showed that May had the most installations of any month. Service is accessible to about a third of the city, which is on track with their expansion efforts.
General Manager Kevin Frizzell said OMU has seen steady growth in both residential and small businesses.
“Most of all that was related to folks who were upgrading their system or adding systems to be able to do work from home and to do a lot more work electronically with the restrictions from the coronavirus,” Frizzell said. “All-and-all it has been a good quarter for us.”
Frizzell said on OMU’s financial dashboard, the company is in good standing despite a reduction in wholesale revenue with the recent closing of the Elmer Smith Station and the economic impacts of the coronavirus.
The station was taken offline for the final time in the early hours on May 29. OMU now has a long-term purchase agreement with Big Rivers Electric Corporation to provide the city with power.
Frizzell said the transition was seamless due to months of planning and preparation, noting that “we achieved the goal of burning all of the recoverable coal inventory.”
“The decision to close the Elmer Smith Station was not an easy one but was in the best interest of our customer-owners,” Frizzell said. “It may be the end of an era, but the legacy of the plant and its employees is a long-lasting one. Our intent was not to limp across the finish line, but to sprint across it. ESS personnel accomplished that goal with grit and grace.”
OMU also reported that the expansion progress at the William H. Cavin Water Treatment Plant is on track and construction is scheduled to be completed February 2021.