Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021
The year 2020 is finally behind us. This past year has been an emotional and physical struggle for many of us. From the Cooperative’s perspective, we were able to use 2020 as an opportunity to continue improving our services, reliability and commitment to you, our members. As I look to the new year, I am excited about the direction of the Cooperative and what we have in store for the future.
As we look toward 2021, one of the first items is on the agenda is to plan our Annual Meeting. With concerns over Covid-19 still lingering, we had to come up with some new ideas on how to hold an Annual Meeting while ensure our employees and members remain safe. Fortunately, we have had over 9 months to observe what others have done during this pandemic. At our November Board meeting, we opted to move forward with planning a “drive thru” style Annual Meeting to be held on March 27th. This will be a little different than what we are used to. But over the past year, we have become accustomed to adapting and doing things differently. Members will be able to participate, while staying socially distanced and limiting their exposure to others. More details will be coming in the February edition of the Cooperative Connections Magazine and on our Facebook account.
The Spring of 2020 saw the completion of our 4-year work plan that was started in 2016. Almost a year ago, we also started working with our engineers to plan the next set of projects that will improve our safety and reliability. These projects will keep our line crews busy through 2025 while they make enhancements and upgrades throughout the system. The main project that the crews are working on in 2021 will be on the North circuit from the Richland Substation. This project will convert just over 4 miles of 3 phase overhead line to underground line. The replacement of this line will improve our reliability, increase the capacity, and improve the voltage in the area. Additionally, this will alleviate issues with trees on the lines and future clearance issues. This project has been on our radar for a few years and should be completed this Spring.
Several years ago, we began a wiring department. By doing this we were able to meet a need for our members who were having a hard time finding a reliable and qualified electrician. Additionally, this brings in revenue to the Co-op that is separate from our rate base. In late 2020, a new opportunity surfaced to become an authorized Generac Power Systems dealer and service center. As we explored this opportunity, it fit well with what we had previously done in our wiring department. Generac is best known for their residential stand-by generators. But they offer a wide array of generators, from small portable to industrial sized generators, and everything in between. While our service reliability record has been excellent, the reality is we cannot control mother nature, which is the cause of the majority of our service interruptions. With more people working from home these days, many are wanting the security and peace of mind that they will always have power, regardless of conditions outside of their control. We felt this was another opportunity that we would be able to provide a valuable service to our members, while providing added revenue outside the rate base. We are excited to partner with Generac a provide that sense of security to our members.
2021 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for your Cooperative. We have several other projects in the works, which we will announce as these come to fruition. As we enter our 84th year of business, we are positioning the Cooperative for success into the future. We will continue to look for ways to improve our safety, reliability and to add valuable services and products for our members.
Until next month, have a blessed and safe New Year.