PELICAN RAPIDS, MN— Within the last five years, and especially in 2020, Lake Region Electric Cooperative (LREC) has seen an increased trend of more technology entering our members’ homes. With students attending school virtually and more members working from home, there is a greater demand to increase the reliability of our grid. To meet these needs, LREC’s Board of Directors established a pilot program in October of 2020.
For the last year, LREC’s Distribution Grid Improvement Program (DGIP) has worked on improving the reliability of the electrical grid for our members and increasing safety and serviceability for our employees. In doing this, LREC has focused on 10 selected zones in need of updating and repair. These areas span across LREC’s service territory and affect nearly 2,000 members who experience higher than average outage counts, vegetation issues or other reliability concerns.
With an initial budget of $500,000, LREC employees were encouraged to discover potential projects requiring grid improvement. Using their expertise, crews created a list of projects within the boundaries of the pilot program. With technological advancements, hard work and innovative thinking, LREC is proud to report on what was accomplished over the last year:
- 904’ of underground lines were added
- Feed direction was changed
- Retired 1,350’ of overhead lines and limited access river crossing
- Two fused cutouts to outage prone taps were added
- Main line outages were limited from 81 members to 13 members
- A fused cutout was added to a single member, which resulted in the prevention of an outage impacting 284 members
For members located in the completed project areas, the outcomes were increased member satisfaction and improved grid reliability. To date, $320,000 worth of grid improvements have been identified, with approximately $60,000 of work orders already completed. As we move into year two of DGIP, LREC will continue to map out new projects for the 2022 construction season.
If you have any questions about DGIP, please contact our office by visiting www.lrec.coop or calling (800) 552-7658. To view upcoming projects, please visit the news section on our website or check out our Facebook page (@LakeRegionElectricCoop).
An outline of LREC’s service territory with highlighted sections indicating completed and future DGIP locations.