Hillsdale’s Board of Public Utilities announced the appointment of Chris McArthur to the Michigan Municipal Electric Association Board of Directors on Oct. 18. He will serve a two-year term in the role and will represent the electric industry to the legislature at state and federal levels.
McArthur has worked to bring Hillsdale’s aging public utilities into the future during the last five years while serving as director of Hillsdale’s BPU, he said.
“I grew up in this community, I graduated from Pittsford High School, just outside of town here,” McArthur said. “This has always been my community and my goal is to provide the best service that I can to the residents here.”
McArthur also currently serves as the head trustee for St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
In 2017, the BPU hired McArthur as its director. In recent years, he has met several large milestones in updating Hillsdale’s public utilities, he said.
“Right now we’re currently undergoing a major upgrade of our oldest electric system, upgrading it to a new voltage, upgrading transformers, and breakers, and things of that nature. That’ll be a seven-year ongoing project,” McArthur said.
McArthur also led a recent $9 million upgrade to the water treatment plant, and reconditioning both of Hillsdale’s water towers, among other projects.
“Over the years, the MMEA has been well served by very capable community leaders who have stepped up to guide the association,” Kevin Cornish, incoming president of the MMEA board, said in a press release. “We are fortunate to have new leaders coming forward during this time of unprecedented change in the electric utility industry.”
McArthur’s appointment to the MMEA will allow him to inform lawmakers about concerns surrounding the current changes in the electric industry, he said.
“I will be traveling with them to Washington, D.C., at the end of February for the legislative rally. So we’ll go out there and meet with senators and congressmen to voice our concerns,” McArthur said.
McArthur said he believes that a major challenge in the future will be the increasing push for renewable energy sources. As coal-fired power plants close faster than new power plants are built, electricity is increasingly dependent on wind and solar power — an energy source that isn’t available 24/7.
“From a political standpoint, just telling our story to legislators, a lot of those are not experts in the electric industry, they don’t really know what it takes to get that electron from generation to the house,” McArthur said.
Despite the ever-changing political front, McArthur said he believes his job is to find a way to supply reasonably priced power for residents despite the shifting political agendas, he said.
“A lot of people don’t necessarily care about what it costs, but they always want the lights on,” McArthur said. “We want to provide that service at the best rates, that’s really what I feel I can bring from a management standpoint.”
MMEA Executive Director Katie Abraham said she is excited to welcome McArthur to the board of directors.
“Each and every member of our board has accepted the challenge of leadership during the most dynamic time since the creation of the electric utility industry,” Abraham said. “As the industry, government, and the public work together to build a cleaner and more sustainable electric grid, I feel privileged to be working with board members such as Chris McArthur.”