The Fayetteville Public Utility Student Utility Board (SUB) learned about the utility’s natural gas and electric departments, seeing for themselves what it takes to supply our community with energy.
They learned how natural gas and electricity are delivered to Lincoln County and visited the Terry Gas Gate Station and the Hamilton Substation.
The natural gas focus day included an overview of the natural gas service area and how FPU delivers natural gas to its customers. SUB members then toured the Terry Gate Station to see how natural gas flow is monitored and distributed. Students also learned how natural gas is used and how affordable the service is.
Randall Griner, FPU’s Natural Gas Department Superintendent, talked about natural gas safety and explained how FPU adds a non-toxic chemical called mercaptan to give natural gas a distinct odor to make detecting gas leaks easier.
“Today I learned that natural gas in its original state cannot be smelled, seen or tasted,” said Makinsie Gault, SUB member. “This is why the mercaptan is added…to keep us safe.”
“Before learning about FPU’s Natural Gas Department, I did not know how affordable natural gas was to use in your home,” said Brian Rozar, SUB member.
FPU’s Mike Endsley, substation crewmember, led a tour of the Hamilton Substation and explained how the station supplies electricity for parts of Fayetteville. Electric linemen Lewis Steelman, Dale Moran, Brandon Young and Zach Barnes demonstrated the bucket truck and safety gear. Students listened as seasoned linemen Steelman and Moran told of their experiences working in the line crew and assisting in emergency power outages at home and abroad.
“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to learn so much about something that is not accessible to the general public, such as the electric substation,” said Rena Andrews, SUB member. “Until you learn about these things, you just have no idea how complex and vital the workings are behind everything FPU does for this community.”
“When I joined this board, I knew that I would love every minute of it,” said Makinsie. “FPU’s workers are perfect examples of people who go out of their way to simply make someone smile.”
“Besides gaining knowledge from serving on the board, I have also gained more self-confidence,” said Andrews. “For instance, when I was allowed an opportunity of being interviewed on television, I was shocked – a little scared, too, but when I was being asked my first question, I became excited and even started enjoying myself. This event was a stepping stone to realizing that I was capable of doing such a thing, boosting my self-confidence in a most necessary way.”
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing behind the scenes of FPU, and I wouldn’t have wanted to serve on any other student board,” said Morgan Helums, SUB member.
“This year has been an eye-opening opportunity, and I loved every moment of it!” said Jonathan McLeod, SUB member.