Drive through Lexington, Kentucky’s major downtown thoroughfares, and you will see quite a transformation of the landscape. In the past two years, several new buildings and businesses have opened or are in the process of expanding. From new dormitories at the University of Kentucky to the new Shriner’s Hospital, a new wing at Baptist Health Lexington and new restaurants and property development, business is booming.
The reliability of the electric grid is paramount in supporting economic development. Large-scale construction projects often mean upgrades to the electric grid. As usual, LG&E and KU was at the ready. The company has invested nearly $8 million in the past two years to upgrade the infrastructure under a project referred to as Lexington Area Major Projects (LAMP). Four substations, 14 circuits and five transmission structures were impacted. More than 100 employees — from System Planning, Distribution Substation, Distribution Operations, Supply Chain, Transmission Lines, Transmission Substation, Telecom, the Distribution and Transmission control centers, Customer Service, Major Accounts, Communications, and Scheduling and Planning — along with 96 contractors coordinated efforts to upgrade the infrastructure capacity from four kilovolts to 12 kilovolts and ensure a seamless transition to guarantee a positive experience for customers.
“Without a doubt, we knew we had to invest in the infrastructure to support the new and expanding companies,” said Beth McFarland, director of Asset Management. “Never once did we second guess our commitment to upgrading the capacity to support the growth in the Lexington area. Much of the work was done at night and on weekends to minimize the impact on the community.”
With customers like hospitals and schools affected by the work, the team recognized the sensitivities and potential risks associated with their work. Customers received letters and brochures with answers to commonly asked questions about the project, and the Major Accounts team conveyed information directly to their contacts at the hospitals, schools and large industrial companies that were impacted by the project.
The team’s hard work paid off. Not only is the project nearing completion, but the company has received only eight project-related calls or questions from customers and there have been no project-related complaints to the Kentucky Public Service Commission.
“Coupled with our team’s commitment to supporting economic development was their commitment to our customers,” added Robby Trimble, director, Electric Distribution. “We set the tone by emphasizing the customer experience at the onset of the project, and our employees ran with it. They have gone above and beyond to communicate with customers about the project and its benefits to the community while committing to a seamless transition as they converted customers to the new, more robust voltage level.”