Virginia Tech Electric Service: Over 125 years of delivering electricity to campus and Blacksburg

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Few universities serve the electrical needs of their surrounding communities to the extent that Virginia Tech Electric Service does.

For more than 125 years, the university has operated its own electric service, the Virginia Tech Electric Service (VTES).   VTES delivers electricity to the Blacksburg Campus, Corporate Research Center, and to approximately 6,000 residential and commercial electric customers in the Town of Blacksburg.

From powering Lane Stadium with electricity on game day, to maintaining almost 4,000 street and sidewalk lights across campus and Blacksburg, VTES and its 30 employees work in strong collaboration with Virginia Tech Facilities and Blacksburg utility units to deliver top-notch service.

VTES also works tirelessly to restore power after outages and weather events.   For example, when power went out the entire Ag Quad in early summer 2018, the VTES team worked long hours on a Sunday in the heat and sun to make needed repairs.

Located at 601 Energy Drive in Blacksburg, VTES functions as an auxiliary of the university.   The department operates similarly to other electric utility organizations, and most of the electricity power used by VTES customers is purchased through a contract with American Electric Power Company.

Beyond delivering electricity, VTES works in concert with Facilities to provide service and relocate electrical utilities to new and renovated buildings on campus.   VTES also partners with the offices of Energy Management and Sustainability on projects to help improve energy efficiency on campus, including implementing student-requested Green RFP sustainability projects and installing energy-efficient LED lighting.   Currently, about 25 percent of streetlights across campus and Blacksburg are LED.

“Whether it’s a sunny spring day or in the midst of one of Blackburg’s snowstorms, VTES is one of the most vital units on campus and in the community,” said Chris Kiwus, Virginia Tech associate vice president and chief facilities officer.  “Through its dedicated efforts and strong collaboration with local stakeholders, VTES has remained a critical community partner.”

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