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MES charged up about Public Power Week
MES charged up
Employees of McMinnville Electric System gather together on the front lawn to celebrate Public Power Week and the 80th anniversary of supplying electricity to the city of McMinnville.

The power of electricity is just a light switch away.

McMinnville Electric System is celebrating Public Power Week from Oct. 6-12.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of MES, which distributes electricity to more than 8,000 customers inside the city limits of McMinnville. McMinnville Electric System currently employs 34 people.

“Our service is reliable and safe and we take pride in serving our friends and neighbors,” said general manager and CEO of MES Rodney Boyd. “MES is proud to have served McMinnville for 80 years.”

MES will be celebrating the week along with 2,000 other community-owned, not-for-profit electric utilities that collectively provide electricity to 49 million Americans.

Public Power Week is an annual event coordinated by the American Public Power Association in Washington, D.C. The American Public Power Association represents public power before the federal government to protect the interests of people that public power utilities serve and the 93,000 people they employ. The association is the voice for nonprofit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. 

 “I’ve seen a lot of changes in the past few years such as using less electricity. Will Davis and myself oversee the heat pump program which installs and oversees heat pumps and are quite a bit more energy efficient,” said Randy Garrison, MES co-manager of environmental services and relations. “This saves people money while also helping the environment. Electricity changes from day to day. There’s always big improvements in everything that’s done from the electric car all the way to the building of the lines. Everything is changing, and it’s all more energy-efficient.” 

“We have LED lights, more efficient heating and air conditioning, more efficient water heaters, but there are still more items plugged into homes today than there were 10 years ago,” adds Boyd regarding the future of electricity. “Going into the future, especially with the push of electric cars, while we may be using less electricity in one area, we’ll be shifting the use of electricity to other things.”

MES takes advantage of the newest technologies to solve electrical problems in a fast and efficient manner. One of these is a technology plan where employees can receive text messages to be informed when the power has failed at a certain location and fix the problem as quickly as possible. 

“It really is an interesting time in electricity and as far as utilities are concerned, the technology has changed so drastically just in the seven years I’ve been here, so I can’t imagine what the next 80 years are going to be like, but McMinnville Electric System will definitely be on the cutting-edge side of it,” says manager of marketing and communications Debbie Sain.

The nine linemen who work for McMinnville Electric System use the newest technologies along with physical labor to constantly keep the electricity on for customers. Whether night, day, rain or snow, the linemen change out poles, do maintenance on existing infrastructures, do all of the service work, change out transformers and are the ones in the field who are responsible for keeping the infrastructures and lights on. The linemen are the first on-call during inclement weather.