Many eager Brownsville residents came to meet at the BPUB Administration Building on Oct. 26 for the start of this year’s community tour of the electrical system. It was a full bus to get an inside look at how the Brownsville Public Utilities Board delivers electricity to its customers.

Every year, BPUB offers the public opportunities to get a tour of operations. In the spring, the tour focuses on water/wastewater operations, while the fall looks at the electrical side. The electrical tour always takes place in October to coincide with the American Public Power Association’s Public Power Week that occurs that month.

Registration and light breakfast first thing in the morning gave way to a trip over to Silas Ray Power Plant. This power-generating facility is fully owned by BPUB. It was the chance for participants to see where electricity is really made and the perfect place to kick off the sites ahead.

Some of the highlights of the tour included:

  • Silas Ray Power Plant
  • Pole climbing demonstration – lineworkers show what type of training they all must go through
  • Electric meter shop – BPUB employees talk about the repair of meters and how they read them, along with the dangers of meter tampering
  • Electrical substation – tour participants learned how BPUB transforms electricity to be used in homes
  • A presentation on the history of BPUB’s electrical system – from kerosene lamps lighting the streets to a diversified electric power portfolio, Brownsville has come a long way.

The tour concluded with lunch and a panel discussion covering many aspects of electricity and running a utility, including conservation, communication with customers, operations and renewable energy.

For those who missed this tour, there will be a tour of the water/wastewater system in the spring, and if you’d like to go on the electrical system tour, there will be another one next year. Stay tuned for information regarding the spring water/wastewater tour and the next electrical tour.