This past year presented everyone with challenges. It’s been a tough year for many members. Despite 2020’s unusual circumstances, I am very pleased to tell you that it turned out to be a successful year on many levels for your cooperative. Because of this, your board of directors authorized a COVID-19 Relief bill credit. You’ll receive the $25 credit on your January electric statement. The total amount of the bill credit relief for Lake Region members is $583,650. It is our sincere hope that this will help set the tone for a good year to come, for you and for the cooperative.
This past year made one thing very clear — new challenges drive new solutions. I want to thank each of our employees for their outstanding contributions to the cooperative during the last several months. While they always have done a great job for our members, they went above and beyond this past year. They successfully coped with changing situations and work practices, while continuing to stay focused on safely serving our members. Our employees implemented new technology and adapted to remote work practices. All this upheaval was not easy, yet they approached the situation with considerable willingness and some innovative ideas.
Lake Region Electric Cooperative continued to grow in 2020. We built electric service to 346 new service locations. Upgrades continued to be made to our distribution system with the goal of reducing outages. Technology is becoming a significant element in how we approach system upgrades. Lake Region is working with Exacter technology that scans electric utility lines and equipment (see video below). This guides our line workers to trouble spots before faults occur, thus preventing outages and allowing equipment to be replaced in a planned manner rather than during emergency situations.
Proactively pinpointing potential faults allows us to prioritize the utility equipment upgrades, making wise use of our resources and employee time. Trained professionals using state-of-the-art technologies is a winning combination for improved member satisfaction!
Our natural gas subsidiary also had a good year. We had 152 new services connected. Approximately 800 customers now benefit from natural gas extensions in our local region. This endeavor has been an exciting and rewarding experience. It is nice to see how we’ve enhanced the quality of life by providing this valuable service.
Just as we always have, Lake Region continues to plan for the future. There are some goals from which we will never waiver: Keep the cooperative financially strong; make certain the safety of our employees and the public remains paramount; keep rates stable; and increase service reliability.
Maintaining open lines of communication and being responsive to our members’ needs will be essential as we move ahead. District Meetings will still be held in February; however, they will be held virtually rather than in person. See the details in the column to the right.
Let’s work together to continue to bring forward the success of the past year into 2021!