Kiwanis Club Hears from Gulf Power

Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 10:54 AM.


The Chipley Kiwanis Club met for its weekly luncheon at Pattillo’s Restaurant at the Washington – Holmes Technical Center on March 12.  Lunch was prepared and served by the students of the culinary program.

President Jan Page opened the meeting and recognized Program Chair Paul Goulding.  Goulding introduced Darr i n Wall, Manager of Gulf Power in Chipley, who presented the program.

Mr. Wall discussed some of the challenges and opportunities facing Gulf Power.  Chief among the challenges are the new federal emissions stand ards promulgated by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency pertaining to co al fired electric generation plants.  Georgia Power, another division of the Southern Company, plans to shut down 1 5 coal-fired plants at a cost of 480 jobs due to these regulations.  Since coal and natural gas are the two cheapest energy sources next to nuclear, these regulations could drive the cost of electricity up.

Gulf Power started to develop energy conservation programs in the 1970’s.  Demand has been reduced so much that it has not been necessary to build additional power plants.  Mr. Wall noted that Gulf Power always makes decisions with an eye on how the decisions will impact the consumer.  As a result, Gulf Power has raised rates only twice in the last twenty years.  The latest increase was last year.  Energy prices are based on two components: energy cost and fuel cost.  They are not allowed to make a profit on the fuel component, so efficient production is a “must”. 

Recently a new President, Mr. Stan Con nally took over the reins of Gulf Power. Mr. Con nally came from Georgia Power and is emphasizing Gulf Power’s role in community development.  Only by having strong, growing communities can a utility like Gulf Power grow. 

Mr. Wall also noted that the Southern Company, the parent company of Gulf Power, is building two new nuclear reactors on an existing nuclear site in Georgia.  These reactors are almost completed and will the first new reactors in about twenty-five years.  He also noted that the physical equipment of Southern Company and Gulf Power are in great shape.  These companies have always had great maintenance programs.  Southern Company has some “smart grid” technologies to monitor and control transmission and distribution systems. 

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