By SEÁN O’DONOGHUE
HAMLIN – The Lincoln County Board of Education was recently updated on the ongoing work of the school system’s two part-time energy managers, Kevin Prichard and Jerry Cremeans. The duties were divided between the two employees after the conclusion of the full-time position around 18 months ago. Both employees serve in full-time capacities in other positions, Prichard as attendance director and Cremeans as automotive technology instructor. Prichard delivered the update to the board at the September 26 session in Hamlin.
Prichard told the board that he and Cremeans had learned a lot since taking on the part-time duties. “I think we can only get better,” he added. He also thanked the board for sending him and his colleague to the national annual conference, as part of the school system’s ongoing participation in the Cenergistic Energy Conservation Company program.
The board heard that Prichard logs in to the software system that monitors energy use system wide, early each morning. This allows him to send any updates or advice to Maintenance Director Greg Gosnay and his staff. Prichard also oversees the various utilities, consumption rates, scheduling, and conducts energy walk throughs at Duval PK-8 and Midway Elementary. Meanwhile, Cremeans performs the equivalent tasks at the county’s other six facilities.
Prichard explained that during the walk throughs, the energy managers look at energy consumption to determine where money can be saved, or more accurately, where costs can be avoided. Since the program’s inception a number of years ago, the importance of cost avoidance has been repeatedly underscored to the board members. The school board had previously heard that around $250,000 in energy costs have been avoided annually since the program started in Lincoln County’s schools. Prichard also noted that walk throughs took place during the summer months, in an effort to head off problems before students returned in mid-August.
In response to a question from Board President Steve Priestley, Prichard confirmed that the county continues to take part in a separate program, whereby scheduled shutdowns are performed as part of a widespread electrical grid monitoring effort. Prichard explained that the school system is paid for its participation in the program, which allows for grid-wide determinations of how much power could be pulled off the grid in a time of great need.
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