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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.”