No question about it, 2018 was a big year for Lake Region Electric Cooperative. It’s been exciting and productive, as well as setting up our cooperative for the year ahead.
Responsiveness. Reliability. Resiliency. Renewables. Rates.
Much of our work during 2018 focused on these five critical goals. I’m proud to say that Lake Region made very good progress on each of these fronts.
At Lake Region, we always strive to listen to the concerns of our members. This is a member-owned and member-controlled business, after all. So, it is imperative that we keep open our many lines of communication. This newsletter is just one example of how we strive to constantly update you on the progress made, as well as challenges we face. Communications are essential if we are to be responsive to our members, their needs, and our communities.
Speaking of responsiveness, we recently received the results of a random survey of Lake Region members. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest score possible, Lake Region received a score of 8.75 in overall member satisfaction. While there is always room for improvement, this is a very solid score and considerably higher than companies in other industry sectors, as well as in the energy sector.
To address electric reliability, we’ve reinvested in grid improvements and vegetation management along miles of right-of-way. We’ve employed technology and worked with our wholesale power suppliers to identify potential trouble spots. Our goal is to reduce outage occurrences, as well as improve alternate routes for the flow of electricity when an outage does occur. Not only are we thinking about system reliability and outage repairs, but also about how we can restore power safely and quickly. We call this grid resiliency.
We look forward to bringing on-line our new wind/solar hybrid project for electric generation. Having a new local renewable energy source within our service area will help with rate stability. As the generation of electricity becomes cleaner, we will seek out ways to use renewable energies towards what the industry has dubbed “beneficial electrification.” This means turning renewable-based energy into new ways to power our daily lives and electrify our local economies. Essentially, the electric cooperative industry has entered a new era—an era we welcome whole-heartedly.
Financially, 2018 was a good year for Lake Region. In our current financial position, the board of directors does not see a need to raise electric rates. No rate increases are planned for 2019. Rate stability is possible only through knitting together many factors in this new era of electric energy. We welcome this as good news for everyone!