FP&L, Community Electric enter mutual aid agreement

Published 1:06 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Franklin’s City Council voted 6-0 with one abstention on Aug.12 to authorize Franklin Power & Light to sign a mutual aid agreement with Community Electric Cooperative. According to City Manager Amanda Jarratt, the agreement will function similar to the existing mutual aid agreements the city’s police and emergency services departments have with neighboring law enforcement, fire and rescue agencies. Only this time, the agreement will be between FP&L and the Windsor-based co-op.

Per the terms of the agreement, either utility will be able to call on the other to provide extra personnel or equipment in the event that one or the other is short-staffed. The agreement, according to Jarratt, will be for a term of six months, with automatic renewal if neither party opts out. A decision to opt out, she added, would need to be made at least 30 days prior to the end of the six-month term.

She then confirmed that Franklin would only need to pay Community Electric if it were to call on the co-op for help. Community Electric, likewise, would only pay Franklin if and when it needed to call on FP&L. The amount of said payment will be calculated based on a fee schedule included in the agreement.

“We’ve had several occasions where we wouldn’t have been able to respond [to electrical issues] in a timely manner if it hadn’t been for Community Electric,” Jarratt said.

But the city manager added that Franklin had not paid Community Electric anything for these occasions yet, as the co-op and city had both been waiting on this agreement.

The abstention on the vote was from Councilman Greg McLemore. The councilman said he would prefer if there was no cost to the city for calling upon Community Electric, and, in return, the city would likewise not charge anything if and when FP&L were to assist the Windsor co-op.

Vice Mayor Barry Cheatham suggested that Jarratt bring the matter back before the Council 30 days prior to the first six-month term’s expiration, with figures for how many times Community Electric had helped Franklin during that time, so that the Council could make a decision on whether to let the agreement automatically renew or opt out. Jarratt agreed to the vice mayor’s suggestion.