PPS OKs first interruptible rate customer

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Paducah Power System approved a service agreement Monday to supply power to its first customer under the utility’s newly-established interruptible rate program, a blockchain company which manufactures cryptocurrency mining rigs.

Dave Carroll, PPS general manager, said the company, SOLminer, has bought property off Benton Road.

“They’re starting small and potentially will grow from there,” he said, noting the service agreement is for an initial number of mining rigs (computers used for mining bitcoin).

“They have room for expansion.”

Data mining companies were used as an example of the type of customer the interruptible rate could attract, those with a high energy need and wanting to get the lowest rate.

“It’s volume based, but it’s also a variable rate, where their rate changes every hour,” Carroll said.

As Doug Handley, PPS director of finance, power supply and rates, outlined for the board last month when the program was approved, “they (data centers) have a couple of features that make them attractive to us and give us the ability to offer them a lower rate.

“One, they have a very high load factor, so they use a lot of energy relative to their demand. And, the other is that they are completely interruptible.”

The interruptible rate transfers the market risk associated with power purchases from the utility to the customer, he said.

At the outset of Monday’s board meeting, officials took a few moments to acknowledge the recent death of long-time PPS employee, Janiero “DJ” King.

“DJ passed away this past week. It was a shock to all of us,” Carroll said. “He was kind of our resident jokester, prankster in the building loved by all our employees. It was really hard to not be friends with DJ and immediately like him.”

King was 57 years old.

Carroll said King “just drew everyone to him. He issued all the PPE (personal protection equipment) to employees, so in your first day on the job, you’d probably get two left-handed gloves, or maybe he’d give a supervisor hat to an apprentice.”

The two also shared a fondness for the Dallas Cowboys, Carroll said, noting there weren’t too many Cowboy fans in the building.

“I consider him a dear friend. He was really just one of the employees that kind of held everyone else together … and I’m gong to miss him quite a bit.”

Of his fondness for playing practical jokes, Andrea Underwood, PPS director of human resources and community relations, said “we’ve all been pranked by DJ at some point. But it was never done in a mean way. You never really got mad about it, it was always funny. And, some of the things he did were so clever.”

Underwood said King also made it a habit of checking on employees who maybe were recovering from surgery, or had to leave the company because of health reasons.

“He really cared a lot about people and was just a sweetheart. We will miss him very much.”

Paducah Power plans to close its lobby and drive-through window for a portion of Thursday, so employees can attend the funeral services.

Follow David Zoeller on Twitter, @DZoeller_TheSun

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