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4/11/2024

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UTILITY BOARD RECOGNIZES CALENDAR ART CONTEST WINNERS

KEYS recently sponsored an energy conservation art contest for all elementary school students in the Lower Florida Keys. One overall winner and two winners from each grade level were selected from over 2,000 entries to grace the pages of KEYS’ 28th annual Energy Conservation calendar. The winners attended the April 10 Utility Board meeting and were recognized for their efforts.

The overall winner was Charlotte Gehin, a fifth-grade student from Sigsbee Charter School. Her artwork will be featured on the cover of KEYS’ nationally recognized 2024-2025 calendar. The winning artists whose work will illustrate each of the 12 months are: (Kindergarten) Luna Bethel & Parker Labrada; (First Grade) Lily Schendera & Molly Wright; (Second Grade) Ahava Emanuel & Wisnerline Seguin; (Third Grade) Annabel Garrido & Samantha Revoredo; (Fourth Grade) Alicia Malagon Espinoza & Johnny Jones; (Fifth Grade) Sadia Shifa & Sarah Sheldon.

KEYS’ Energy Conservation calendars will be made available to KEYS’ customers in August.

The regular meeting of the Utility Board took place at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 10, in the Board Room of Keys Energy Services’ Service Building, 1001 James Street, Key West.

4/10/2024

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KEYS HONORED WITH NATIONAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING SAFETY PRACTICES

KEYS earned the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Safety Award of Excellence for safe operating practices in 2023. KEYS received the 2023 APPA Safety Award of Excellence award in the category for utilities with 110,000 to 249,999 worker-hours of annual worker exposure during the APPA’s recent Engineering & Operations conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“In our industry, safety has to be top of mind all day every day,” said Scott McKenzie, Chair of APPA’s Engineering and Operations Conference safety track and Senior Director of Member Training & Safety at AMP Inc. “These honored utilities have demonstrated a commitment to safety that runs through every aspect of their organizations.”

More than 160 utilities entered the annual Safety Awards for 2023. Entrants were placed in categories according to their number of worker-hours and ranked based on the most incident-free records and overall state of their safety programs and culture during 2023. The incidence rate is based on the number of work-related reportable injuries or illnesses and the number of worker-hours during 2023, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“KEYS is proud of its safety record,” said Lynne Tejeda, General Manager & CEO of KEYS. “This award is a testament to the hard work that goes into ensuring that our team members go home safe to their families every day.”

The Safety Awards have been held annually for more than 65 years. APPA is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide.

4/9/2024

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CABRERA NAMED OUTSTANDING EMPLOYEE OF THE SECOND QUARTER

Mairelys Cabrera has been named Keys Energy Services’ (KEYS) Outstanding Employee of the Second Quarter for 2024.

Cabrera has worked for the Utility since 2021 and currently serves as a Customer Service Representative II within the Customer Services department. In her current position she is responsible for implementing customer services policies and procedures with the goal of meeting customer needs and supporting the business objectives of KEYS.

She was recommended for this award by her coworkers for being an exemplary employee. They wrote, “Her approach to every customer interaction speaks for itself. She meets the customers where they’re at, educating them on KEYS’ policies and rebate programs.”

In recalling her favorite thing about KEYS, Cabrera said, “it’s a great company to work for, providing a lot of opportunities for growth.”

Cabrera was born in Cuba and moved to America in 2005. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, going to the beach, and watching the sunset.

The Employee of the Quarter Committee selects an employee four times a year for this award. Employees are considered for the award after being nominated by their peers. Final selection of the outstanding employee is based on several factors, which include attendance, attitude, efficiency, initiative, and job performance.

4/1/2024

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NOTICE OF REGISTRY FOR RESIDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

In accordance with Florida Statute 252.355, KEYS wishes to notify residential customers with special needs of the Special Needs Registry available through the Monroe County Emergency Management.

The registry helps staff identify residents who would need assistance during evacuations and sheltering because of physical, mental, cognitive impairment, or sensory disability.

Residents with special needs are asked to call the Monroe County Special Needs Registry at (305) 292-4591 or log on to http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/specialneeds by May 31st to ensure they are accounted for in advance of Hurricane Season.

3/22/2024

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KEYS CONDUCTING LAND-BASED REPAIRS OF THE TIELINE THAT WILL REQUIRE TEMPORARY ROAD CLOSURES

Keys Energy Services (KEYS) advises its customers that land-based repairs of the Transmission line (TIELINE) will take place in Key West and Stock Island from March 25 - April 11, weather permitting. Traffic will be affected while this work takes place.

KEYS customers should be aware of Utility crews working within Key West and Stock Island who will temporarily close roads or shift lanes in one-block segments to complete repairs. The following schedule outlines the tentative dates and locations of the planned work, weather permitting, that will take place each day from approximately 7:00A– 5:00P. Significant deviations to this schedule will be posted atwww.KeysEnergy.com/News:

March 25-29TH

o Southard Street, from White Street to Love Lane

o Southard Street, from Love Lane to Simonton Street

o Simonton Street, from Southard Street to Angela Street

o Angela Street, from Simonton Street to Butler Boulevard

o White Street, from Palm Avenue to Southard Street

March 27-30TH

o Eaton Street, from White Street to Palm Avenue

o Palm Avenue from Eaton Street to Trumbo Point Entrance

o White Street, at the Key West Housing Authority

o Palm Avenue from Eaton Street to Trumbo Point Entrance

o Palm Avenue from Eaton Street to Eisenhower Drive

o White Street, at the Key West Housing Authority

o Palm Avenue from Eaton Street to Eisenhower Drive

o Palm Avenue from Eaton Street to Trumbo Point Entrance

o Palm Avenue, at the corner of Eisenhower Drive

March 28th-April 2nd

o Flagler Avenue, from 16th Street to South Roosevelt Boulevard

o South Roosevelt Boulevard, from Eagle Avenue to the Fairfield Inn

o Kennedy Drive, from the Key West High School Stadium to Flagler Avenue

April 1st -12th

o Staples Avenue, from Sunset Drive to Kennedy Drive

o Kennedy Drive, from Staples Avenue to the Kennedy Drive Electrical Substation

o Von Phister Street, from Thompson Lane to Staples Avenue

o Staples Avenue, from Von Phister Street to Sunset Drive

o Thompson Street, from United Street to Washington Street

o United Street, from Margaret Street to Thompson Lane

o Fort Street, between Olivia Street, and Truman Avenue

o Truman Avenue, between Fort Street and Thomas Street

o Whitehead Street, between Julia Street and United Street

o United Street, between Whitehead Street and William Street

o Geraldine Street, between Emma Street and Fort Street

o At US-1 Electrical Substation, Stock Island

o 3rd Street, between Laurel Avenue and 3rd Avenue

o 3rd Avenue and 2nd Terrace

o 4th Avenue, between 3rd Avenue and Front Street

o Front Street, Stock Island

Michels Power, Inc. was selected as the vendor for this project, which includes 520 poles, at a total cost to KEYS of approximately $1.3 million.

3/21/2024

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KEYS TO CLOSE IN OBSERVANCE OF GOOD FRIDAY

In observance of Good Friday, Keys Energy Services’ (KEYS) offices will be closed on Friday, March 29.

KEYS’ offices will re-open for regular business on Monday, April 1, at 8:00A.

3/19/2024

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KEYS CONDUCTING HELICOPTER-BASED REPAIRS OF THE TIELINE

Keys Energy Services (KEYS) advises its customers that helicopter-based repairs of the Transmission line (TIELINE) are taking place from Stock Island to Big Pine Key through early April. Traffic will not be affected while this work is taking place.

KEYS customers should be aware of the helicopter flying near TIELINE poles between Stock Island and Big Pine Key. Additionally, residents are advised to drive safely while this work is in progress and keep their focus on the road and not the helicopter flying overhead. Repair work will take place through April 11, weather permitting.

Michels Power, Inc. was selected as the vendor for this project, which includes 520 poles, at a total cost to KEYS of approximately $1.3 million.

3/15/2024

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KEYS EMPLOYEES HELP FLORIDA KEYS SPCA GET READY TO CELEBRATE 25 YEARS

KEYS' third Day of Giving took place on Friday, March 15. KEYS employees assisted the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA) with setup for its annual Spring Social at the Truman Little Whitehouse. The event is also a celebration of 25 years of the FKSPCA organization.  

KEYS’ Days of Giving employee volunteer program was launched in 2023 and partners KEYS employees with local nonprofit organizations throughout the Lower Florida Keys needing assistance with special projects and events.

For more information on the FKSPCA visit FKSPCA.org.

3/11/2024

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KEYS' YARBROUGH ACHIEVES LONGEVITY MILESTONE WITH UTILITY

KEYS' Donnie Yarbrough will celebrate her 25th anniversary with the Utility on March 15.

Yarbrough currently serves as the Learning and Development Coordinator within the Human Resources & Communications department. In her post she is responsible for KEYS training and development programs.

3/8/2024

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KEYS' MAJEWSKI ACHIEVES LONGEVITY MILESTONE WITH UTILITY

KEYS' Przemyslaw ‘Jack’ Majewski will celebrate his 15th anniversary with the Utility on March 13. Majewski currently serves as a Substation Electrician within the Transmission & Distribution department. In his post he is responsible for substation maintenance, SCADA/relays, the installation and maintenance of underground facilities and transformers, and electrical troubleshooting.

3/4/2024

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KEYS RECOGNIZED WITH FLORIDA MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION SAFETY AWARD

KEYS was among 14 Florida public power utilities to receive a Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Safety Award, which recognizes utilities’ commitment to safety. KEYS received first place in the category with other similar-sized utilities. The award was presented at the Florida Lineman Competition awards banquet in Jacksonville.

FMEA recognizes and rewards safe operations through its annual Safety Awards. Utilities are placed into categories based on their total worker hours and rewarded for the most incident-free records. The incidence rate used to judge utilities was based on the number of work-related reportable injuries or illnesses compared to the total number of worker hours during 2023, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“We applaud each of these winners, including KEYS, for creating safe working environments and cultivating a culture of safety so employees can safely and effectively get their jobs done,” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director.

Florida’s public power utilities are locally owned, locally controlled and locally operated enabling them to quickly respond to the needs of their communities. They are also among some of the most reliable power providers in the state.

3/4/2024

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KEYS' BEVIS ACHIEVES LONGEVITY MILESTONE WITH UTILITY

KEYS' Jennifer Bevis will celebrate her 15th anniversary with the Utility on March 9. Bevis currently serves as a Power System Coordinator within the Engineering & Control department. In her post she is responsible for maintaining a reliable and secure power system by controlling the loading of KEYS’ generating resources.

3/1/2024

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KEYS ENERGY SERVICES GOES TO WASHINGTON

Representatives from KEYS and the Utility Board traveled to Washington D.C. this week to meet with members of the United States House of Representatives and Senate and their staffers to discuss issues relevant to the public power sector and KEYS’ customers. The meetings were part of the annual American Public Power Association (APPA) Legislative Rally.

The APPA Legislative Rally allows public power utility representatives from around the country to converge on the nation’s capital to address the issues confronting the public power industry. Issues discussed during the 2024 Legislative Rally included: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reform, supply chain issues, and affordable reliable power.

The APPA is a collection of more than 2,000 community-owned electric utilities, serving 14-percent of the nation’s electricity consumers.

2/26/2024

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FLORIDA MOVE OVER ACT PROTECTS UTILITY VEHICLES

KEYS' crews are protected by the Florida Move Over Act as they work alongside local roads and highways to power paradise.

On July 1, 2014, the Act was amended to include utility service vehicles and sanitation vehicles to the list of public safety vehicles motorists must already slow down or move over for to protect personnel who work on roads and highways.

Under the law, motorists are required to:

• Approach law enforcement patrol cars, emergency vehicles, utility service vehicles, sanitation vehicles, and tow trucks/wreckers with caution.

• Change lanes away from public safety vehicles if traveling on a multi-lane roadway and able to move over safely; or

• Slow down while maintaining a safe speed of 20-mph below posted speed limits, being careful not to impede or block the flow of traffic unless otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.

Violating the Move Over law can result in a fine and points on your license. Specific provisions of the law can be viewed online at www.leg.state.fl.us.

2/22/2024

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BOARD APPROVES FINANCIAL AUDIT AND ANNUAL COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL REPORT

The Utility Board approved KEYS' annual audit and Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) for the Fiscal Year (FY) ending September 30, 2023, at their regular meeting on February 21, 2024.

Per Bond Covenants, the Board engages an independent accounting firm to perform an annual audit of the financial statements of the Utility within 210 days after the close of the FY. James H. Hill CPA, partner with Utility Board auditor’s Oropeza & Parks CPA’s, explained that the Independent Auditor’s Report states that, “in our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the respective financial position of the business-type activities of KEYS as of September 30, 2023 and 2022, and the respective changes in financial position, and cash flows thereof for the years then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.” Hill went on to add that, “this is the highest level of assurance an auditor can provide.”

The regular meeting of the Utility Board took place at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 21st, in the Board Room of Keys Energy Services’ Service Building, 1001 James Street, Key West.

2/14/2024

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KEYS OFFICES TO CLOSE IN OBSERVANCE OF PRESIDENTS’ DAY 2024

In observance of Presidents’ Day, Keys Energy Services’ (KEYS) offices will be closed on Monday, February 19. KEYS’ offices will re-open for regular business on Tuesday, February 20, at 8:00A.

2/5/2024

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DON’T LET POWER OUTAGES BALLOON AFTER VALENTINE’S DAY

Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday for Mylar/metallic balloon sales. Not surprisingly, it is also the same day utilities across the country experience numerous balloon-related power outages. Since 2010 Keys Energy Services’ (KEYS) customers have experienced 58 power outages directly caused by balloons, two in 2023.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, KEYS reminds its customers that Mylar/metallic balloons which are allowed to drift away can strike power lines and electrical substations, potentially disrupting the lives of thousands.

KEYS recommends these safety tips for handling Mylar/metallic balloons:

• Keep Mylar/metallic balloons indoors and never release them outside.

• Secure helium-filled balloons with a weight heavy enough to prevent them from drifting away.

• Never tie a balloon to a child’s wrist. If the balloon comes in contact with electricity, the electricity could flow through the balloon to the child, which could cause serious injury or death.

• Never attach metallic streamers/string to a balloon.

• When the celebration is over, puncture the balloon in several places and dispose it to keep it safely away from power lines and electrical equipment. Partially-inflated balloons can easily become airborne.

• Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon, or any object, tangled in power lines. Instead call KEYS at (305) 295-1010 to report the problem.

“Our job is to keep the lights on and we’ll do a better job of that if we can keep Mylar/metallic balloons from contacting our lines,” said Lynne Tejeda, KEYS’ General Manager & CEO. “We ask that our customers show good judgment and never release a Mylar/metallic balloon outside,” she added.

2/2/2024

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NOTICE OF REGISTRY FOR RESIDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

In accordance with Florida Statute 252.355, Keys Energy Services (KEYS) wishes to notify residential customers with special needs that the Special Needs Registry is available through the Monroe County Social Services Office.

The registry helps Monroe County Emergency Management Personnel identify residents who would need assistance during evacuations and sheltering because of physical, mental, cognitive impairment, or sensory disability.

Residents with special needs are asked to call the Monroe County Special Needs Registry at (305) 292-4591 or log on to http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/index.aspx?NID=148 by May 31st to ensure they are accounted for in advance of Hurricane Season.

1/30/2024

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KEYS’ PORTABLE SPACE HEATER SAFETY TIPS 2024

KEY WEST – With temperatures colder than usual in the Florida Keys this week, portable space heaters can warm a cold and drafty house. Keys Energy Services recommends following these safety principles with portable space heaters:

  • Plug portable space heaters directly into an outlet; do not use an extension cord.
  • Make certain the circuit you plug a space heater into can adequately and safely handle the added demand.
  • Never remove the grounding feature on a plug by clipping or grinding off the third prong.
  • Use an adaptor to connect the heater’s three-prong plug, if you do not have a three-hole outlet. Make sure the adaptor ground wire or tab is attached to the outlet ground.
  • Keep heaters away from passageways and keep all flammable materials such as curtains, rugs, furniture and/or newspapers at least three feet away.
  • Unplug and safely store portable space heaters when not in use.

For more electrical safety tips, visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International at www.esfi.org.

1/18/2024

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UTILITY BOARD APPROVES NEW LEASE FOR PARK AND RIDE PENDING KEY WEST CITY COMMISSION RATIFICATION

The Utility Board authorized Keys Energy Services’ (KEYS) staff to finalize and approve a lease agreement for the Park and Ride with the City of Key West, during their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, January 18.

KEYS owns a parcel of land on the 300 block of Grinnell Street which was leased to the City to construct the Park and Ride facility. The original 30-year lease expired on December 31, 2023.

KEYS’ and City staff entered into negotiations to establish a new lease and tentatively agreed to terms which were approved by the Utility Board. The tentative agreement includes the following provisions:

• A 20-year lease commencing on January 1, 2024, and ending on December 31, 2044, with a 10-year extension upon the written consent of both parties.

• The City will pay KEYS $10 for the period of January 1, 2024, through January 1, 2025. Beginning on January 1, 2025, the City shall make annual lease payments to KEYS in the amount of $225,000.

• Beginning on January 1, 2026, and on each anniversary date thereafter, the annual lease will be adjusted by 2.5-percent.

• The City retains the right to re-open the lease payment terms of the contract in the event there is a declared National or State of Florida state of emergency lasting more than 30-days which impacts City revenue.

• The City remains responsible for all structure maintenance and insurance coverages.

• KEYS retains the right to utilize 64 parking spaces within the Park and Ride for employee parking, and access to 60 additional spaces upon the issuance of a tropical storm or hurricane watch.

The Key West City Commission will vote on this lease agreement on February 8, 2024.

“I am pleased to have reached agreement with the City on the lease extension of the Park and Ride,” said Lynne Tejeda, KEYS’ General Manager & CEO. “We remain committed community partners with the City and appreciate all accommodations both sides have made.”

The regular meeting of the Utility Board took place in the Utility Board Room of KEYS’ Service Building at 1001 James Street, Key West at 5:00 p.m., on Wednesday, January 17.

1/16/2024

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RANDOLPH NAMED OUTSTANDING EMPLOYEE OF THE FIRST QUARTER

DJ Randolph has been named KEYS' Outstanding Employee of the First Quarter for 2024.

Randolph has worked for the Utility since 2015 and currently serves as a Meter Services Technician within the Customer Services department. In his current position he is responsible for the installation, removal, maintenance, and reading of electrical meters.

In recalling his favorite thing about KEYS, Randolph said, “my supervisor has helped me improve my skills and always provides learning opportunities to grow within the company.” When asked what the best part of his job was, he said it is, “the sense of accomplishment I feel when completing a challenging obstacle with my team.”

Randolph was born in Key West and currently lives in Stock Island, with his wife, Tyler, and daughters, Halle and Reece. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, hosting cookouts, and trips out on the boat.

The Employee of the Quarter Committee selects an employee four times a year for this award. Employees are considered for the award after being nominated by their peers. Final selection of the outstanding employee is based on several factors, which include attendance, attitude, efficiency, initiative, and job performance.

1/10/2024

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KEYS MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY OFFICE CLOSURES

In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, KEYS' offices will be closed on Monday, January 15.

KEYS’ offices will re-open for regular business on Tuesday, January 16, at 8:00A.

1/5/2024

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KEYS' HAAS ACHIEVES LONGEVITY MILESTONE WITH UTILITY

KEYS' Amy Haas will celebrate her 10th anniversary with the Utility on January 6th.

Haas currently serves as an Accounting & Financial Analyst within the Finance department. In her post she is responsible for maintaining timely accounting records and analysis for the electric utility and retirement system.

1/4/2024

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KEYS OFFERS SENIOR CITIZEN / DISABLED VETERANS DISCOUNT

Enrollment for KEYS' discount program for qualifying Senior Citizens or Disabled American Veterans residential customers is now open. Customers who have previously participated in the program must re-qualify by March 31. Once qualified, customers will receive a $18.00 discount on their monthly energy bills in 2024.

In order to qualify for the Senior Citizen’s/ Disabled American Veteran’s Discount, senior citizens must be at least 62 years of age on the date of application and their annual household income must not exceed $45,864. Any disabled American veteran wishing to qualify for this program must be a 100-percent permanently disabled American veteran on the date of application, and their income cannot exceed the maximum annual dollar benefit based on the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs benefit rate table. The service address must either be the Customer of Record’s homesteaded property or, if a rental, their full-time residence. The customer’s monthly consumption cannot exceed 2,000 kilowatt hours based on their previous 12-month history.  

All re-qualification applications for the discount must be completed, signed, and returned to KEYS no later than March 31.

Applications for this program have been mailed to all KEYS’ customers who have previously qualified. New applicants may download an application form at https://www.keysenergy.com/customer-service-requests, or by calling (305) 295-1090 to request an application be sent by mail.