“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of this community,” says Fayetteville Public Utilities CEO and General Manager Britt Dye referring to the results of the FPU-sponsored coat drive.

FPU’s Coat Drive netted 462 coats and jackets of all sizes being donated to two local charity organizations who will assist with distribution to those in need: Hands of Mercy Outreach Center and Clothe Our Kids.

“At FPU we have interaction with many people on a daily basis,” says FPU CEO and General Manager Britt Dye. “On occasion, we learn about their financial hardships and how it hinders them from paying their bills and providing for their families’ basic needs. With this in mind, we felt led to organize the coat donation drive this year.”

“These two charity organizations operate on the generosity of those who give,” says Dye, “and we appreciate everyone for what they were able to donate.”

For many years, Fayetteville Public Utilities has sponsored a community-wide food drive, Harvest of Hope, which benefits the Good Samaritan Association of Lincoln County by helping stock their shelves for the following year. This year’s donations have exceeded those of years past, and one reason for the increase in donations is due to an FPU employee’s idea to bring hope to other families in the local community. The employee just wanted to bless others, because there is no greater feeling in the world than to bless someone else.

The FPU employee wanted had a goal of donating 1,000 cans of food to the Good Samaritan Association of Lincoln County. When he mentioned the idea about donating 1,000 cans to fellow employees, the idea took flight. FPU employees rallied and enlisted additional help from David West, manager of Gerald’s Foodland in Fayetteville, TN, and he was more than happy to assist. West was able to secure a lower purchase price for the canned food items for the employees and was generous enough to donate close to a third of those canned items. Between the employees of FPU and West’s donations, the overwhelming total donation of cans resulting from the partnership came to 2,280.

At the end of FPU’s 2015 food drive, 3,834 items have been donated to the local food bank.

Christmas came early this year for a few local school children thanks to the help of Fayetteville Public Utilities and Wal-Mart. FPU and Wal-Mart partnered together to purchase 14 bicycles to give away to area school children.

“The hope is these bicycles will bring excitement and fun to some well-deserving children in our community,” says FPU CEO/ General Manager Britt Dye. “At FPU we care about our community, and we want to give back. We wanted to do something for the children in our community this year, and we thought a bicycle giveaway would be a great way to bring Christmas cheer to some well-deserving children. We wanted to partner with Wal-Mart because they are a part of our community, too. Without the help of Wal-Mart and Store Manager Travis Jean this would not have been possible.”

When asked why Wal-Mart was eager to partner with FPU to help with the bicycle giveaway, Travis Jean said, “Wal-Mart may be a large corporation, but we are a community store. We appreciate our customers, and the community in which we live, and we want to give back to our community.”

The bicycles were awarded to one boy and one girl in the third grade at Ralph Askins, Blanche, Flintville, Highland Rim, South Lincoln, Unity schools, and Riverside Christian Academy. The bicycles were awarded on December 16, 2015 by FPU CEO/ General Manager Britt Dye and Wal-Mart Store Manager Travis Jean.

With rate changes due to annual programming cost increases, Fayetteville Public Utilities’ (FPU) Telecom Department continues to show steady growth and sustainability in customer retention.

“The cable and Internet industries receive a lot of “churn” due to cable or satellite dish contracts and customers’ relocations, but what continues to be FPU’s best-selling point is the quality of service we provide our customers 24 hours a day,” says FPU’s CEO and General Manager Britt Dye. “We work with residential and commercial customers every day to offer the best solutions for their telecom needs.”

Because FPU has a unique position in the industry of providing multiple utility services, customers who apply for new utilities and live in a serviceable area for the utility’s telecom services are most likely to choose FPU as their cable, Internet, and phone service provider above other competitors.

FPU’s Telecom Department continues to plan for future telecom expansions in rural county areas in order to reach residents who do not have access to high-speed Internet service. In many of these areas, FPU is able to offer fiber-to-the-home service. FPU also continues to expand its EPON (Ethernet Passive Optical Network) service to local commercial and industrial customers to offer greater bandwidth for business applications.

Fayetteville Public Utilities recently announced improvements that will result in added reliability and room for growth.

FPU recently installed a 161 kV transformer at their Hamilton Substation to enhance system redundancy. The new 161 kV transformer will be tied to the TVA delivery point and will be fully operational by the end of the year to serve as a “back-up” unit in case of an equipment failure or major outage either at the station or in the areas served by the station.

“It has long been our goal to build an electric system with a redundancy plan that’s second to none,” says Ron Thomas, FPU’s supervisor of substations and metering. “Many years ago we began by constructing additional substations across Lincoln County and installing the SCADA link to communicate with each station so that when there was an operation affecting one substation, the electric load could be transferred to another substation temporarily to reduce the time that our customers are without electric service. Since that time, we’ve been able to install fiber communication to several of our substations to further improve outage response time and system monitoring.”

“Redundancy and system reliability planning has greatly helped us reduce the number of outages we experience as well as the length of those outages,” says Britt Dye, FPU’s CEO and general manager. “As a result of these types of upgrades, FPU continues to have one of the lowest power outage duration times across the nation.”

“Each year, FPU’s electric work plan calls for system upgrades which include power line and substation upgrades to better serve our growing communities across the area,” said Dye.

The Hamilton Substation was built in 1995 and provides service to approximately 4,500 customers who live in the city of Fayetteville north of the Elk River Bridge and portions of the communities of Molino and Howell.

In addition to the substation upgrade, FPU’s Electric Department also completed upgrades to 2.8 miles of three-phase line from their Park City Substation to Lincoln Road in the southern portion of Lincoln County. FPU upgraded existing 4/0 ACSR to 795 AAC and changed 46 electric poles to accommodate the new line. Crews also upgraded 2.8 miles of single-phase line to three-phase line in the Elora area along East Limestone Road. FPU crews will soon begin a new work plan to covert 2.6 miles of single-phase to three-phase in the Brookwood Subdivision area also located in southern Lincoln County.