Gaffney BPW News
 In an effort to protect our primary water source, we are taking the step of temporarily closing Lake Whelchel to boats and fishing so that we can treat the lake for algae. We are not sure yet how long the treatment process will last, but we will provide you with more information once we do. 
(Update: 4/30/2020) At BPW, we are continually monitoring the economic impact of COVID-19 on our community. We suspended our non-payment disconnection policy for residential customers in March, which allowed customers several extra weeks to make their utility bill payment without incurring a late fee. Those outstanding balances must be paid by Thursday, May 15, in order to avoid a service disconnection. As this date draws closer, if you find yourself unable to pay your bill, please call us to request an extension. The BPW lobby will also re-open to the public with normal business hours beginning Monday, May 11. (Update: 4/17/2020) The Rifle Range will reopen Tuesday, April 21st with normal operating hours. However, the boat landing will remain closed to the public. We have just started our annual preventative algae treatment at Lake Whelchel. We estimate this process will last until the middle or end of next week. The Lake Whelchel boat landing will remain closed to the public until this preventative treatment is completed. We will notify the public when the boat landing can be reopened. We anticipate having the boat landing open no later than Saturday, April 25TH with normal operating hours. The picnic area will not reopen or be available for groups to use. Once these facilities reopen, we strongly encourage everyone maintain proper social distancing for the protection of the public and our employees. We appreciate your cooperation. (Update: 4/14/2020) We are continually reviewing our policies and procedures with respect to concerns about COVID-19. On March 18th, in response to the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak, we adjusted our disconnect policy and suspended disconnections, electric and water, as Governor McMaster requested of all utility providers. However, state officials emphasized all customers still have an obligation to pay their bill for utility services eventually. We cannot provide electricity and water for free because if we did, as a non-profit, other customers would have to cover those costs through higher rates. We want to continue to have the lowest residential electric rates in South Carolina. In order to keep your bill from growing to an unmanageable amount, please continue to pay on time. Our suspension of disconnections has been extended until April 30, 2020. Residential customers will not incur a late fee until that date. (Update: 3/30/2020) South Carolina Governor McMaster has ordered the closure of all public access points to the states beaches, as well as closure of all public boat ramps, landings, and other public access points on state lakes, rivers, and access points. Because of this order the boat ramp, landing, and picnic shelter at Lake Whelchel is closed to the public until further notice. In addition, the Board of Public Works Rifle Range will also be closed to the public until further notice. (Update: 3/26/2020) We are continually reviewing our policies and procedures with respect to concerns about COVID-19. On March 18th, in response to the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak, we adjusted our disconnect policy and suspended disconnections, electric and water, as Governor McMaster requested of all utility providers. However, state officials emphasized all customers still have an obligation to pay their bill for utility services eventually. We cannot provide electricity and water for free because if we did, as a non-profit, other customers would have to cover those costs through higher rates. We want to continue to have the lowest residential electric rates in South Carolina. In order to keep your bill from growing to an unmanageable amount, please continue to pay on time. Our suspension of disconnections has been extended until an undetermined future date. Residential customers will not be charged a late penalty or fee. We will provide customers at least a 2-week notice, on our webpage and Facebook page, when the disconnection policy returns to normal. Financial Assistance: In an effort to assist customers who have a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, the Board is donating an additional $25,000 to our Project Hope Fund. Project Hope is funded by the Board and customers who participate in the round-up program. This fund provides financial assistance to Board of Public Works customers through Peach Center Ministries. You can contact Peach Center Ministries at 489-2549. Their office is located at 518 N. Limestone Street here in Gaffney.
For Gaffney Board of Public Works, this year’s Arbor Day tree planting ceremony at Limestone Central Elementary looked a little different than in years past. On Wednesday, the BPW tree-trimming crew planted three trees in the school’s front lawn with only principal Dr. Bryan Hullender in attendance. Even though students aren’t at school right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was important for BPW to proceed with their annual Arbor Day planting. And to commemorate this particular year, a different type of tree was chosen to be planted – a dawn redwood. The dawn redwood will retain 150- to 200-foot height when it’s fully matured, explained BPW crew chief and arborist Ernie Ramsey. “With this year’s COVID pandemic, I wanted to plant this specific tree so the Limestone Central students can look back one day, see this huge tree, and remember this particular moment in time.”
For the third consecutive time, Gaffney Board of Public Works has earned a Platinum Level Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3)® designation from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service.   The RP3 designation, which lasts for three years, recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement. Criteria include sound business practices and a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. Board of Public Works joins more than 275 public power utilities nationwide that hold the RP3 designation.  “Receiving an RP3 designation is a great honor and demonstrates a utility’s commitment to implementing industry best practices in utility operations,” says Aaron Haderle, Chair of the Association’s RP3 Review Panel and Manager of Transmission and Distribution Operations at ‎Kissimmee Utility Authority, Florida. “RP3 utilities are consistently looking to improve their workforce, system reliability, and safety to serve their communities better.”   “This is a great honor,” said Donnie Hardin, BPW General Manager. “We take a lot of pride in the work we do to power our community. We have a very dedicated and hard-working electrical crew, and it’s nice to be recognized as among the ‘best of the best’ on a national level.”
(Update: 4/17/2020) The Rifle Range will reopen Tuesday, April 21st  with normal operating hours.  However, the boat landing will remain closed to the public.  We have just started our annual preventative algae treatment at Lake Whelchel.  We estimate this process will last until the middle or end of next week.  The Lake Whelchel boat landing will remain closed to the public until this preventative treatment is completed.  We will notify the public when the boat landing can be reopened.  We anticipate having the boat landing open no later than Saturday, April 25TH  with normal operating hours. The picnic area will not reopen or be available for groups to use.  Once these facilities reopen, we strongly encourage everyone maintain proper social distancing for the protection of the public and our employees.   We appreciate your cooperation. (Update: 4/14/2020) We are continually reviewing our policies and procedures with respect to concerns about COVID-19. On March 18th, in response to the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak, we adjusted our disconnect policy and suspended disconnections, electric and water, as Governor McMaster requested of all utility providers. However, state officials emphasized all customers still have an obligation to pay their bill for utility services eventually. We cannot provide electricity and water for free because if we did, as a non-profit, other customers would have to cover those costs through higher rates. We want to continue to have the lowest residential electric rates in South Carolina. In order to keep your bill from growing to an unmanageable amount, please continue to pay on time. Our suspension of disconnections has been extended until April 30, 2020. Residential customers will not incur a late fee until that date. (Update: 3/30/2020) South Carolina Governor McMaster has ordered the closure of all public access points to the states beaches, as well as closure of all public boat ramps, landings, and other public access points on state lakes, rivers, and access points.  Because of this order the boat ramp, landing, and picnic shelter at Lake Whelchel is closed to the public until further notice.  In addition, the Board of Public Works Rifle Range will also be closed to the public until further notice.  (Update: 3/26/2020) We are continually reviewing our policies and procedures with respect to concerns about COVID-19. On March 18th, in response to the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak, we adjusted our disconnect policy and suspended disconnections, electric and water, as Governor McMaster requested of all utility providers. However, state officials emphasized all customers still have an obligation to pay their bill for utility services eventually. We cannot provide electricity and water for free because if we did, as a non-profit, other customers would have to cover those costs through higher rates. We want to continue to have the lowest residential electric rates in South Carolina. In order to keep your bill from growing to an unmanageable amount, please continue to pay on time. Our suspension of disconnections has been extended until an undetermined future date. Residential customers will not be charged a late penalty or fee. We will provide customers at least a 2-week notice, on our webpage and Facebook page, when the disconnection policy returns to normal. Financial Assistance: In an effort to assist customers who have a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, the Board is donating an additional $25,000 to our Project Hope Fund. Project Hope is funded by the Board and customers who participate in the round-up program. This fund provides financial assistance to Board of Public Works customers through Peach Center Ministries. You can contact Peach Center Ministries at 489-2549. Their office is located at 518 N. Limestone Street here in Gaffney.