BY GARY GLOVER, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer –

Electric Operations

What is Grid Resiliency?

When we mention the electric grid, perhaps you think of large towers and transmission lines that intertwine across the United States to deliver generated electricity for the power companies. Well let’s narrow that picture down a bit to the system that directly serves you. Let’s talk about our system at The Energy Cooperative.

Grid resiliency means several things to us. Simply put, it is the reliability of your electric system. Resiliency is our ability to efficiently restore power to you. It ensures we can meet the demands of new technology, and that we serve our members with various generation sources without skipping a beat. Ultimately, resiliency is how we deliver on our promise to provide you with safe and reliable energy.

How Weather Impacts Our System

Let’s talk a little bit about the leading cause of power outages on our system, and across the United States– weather. When it comes to having a resilient electric grid, it begins with a system that is designed and built to withstand certain wind strengths and ice loading for the areas being served. Currently we review our electric system for lines that don’t meet those standards as well as our aging circuits that do not meet our design. We identify ways to back feed, isolate or tie circuits together to minimize the exposure of an outage to the members. Resiliency includes reconstitution and general readiness such as pole and line maintenance programs, vegetation management programs, and participation in mutual aid assistance.

Smart Meters

Until recently, most cooperatives were aware that members had lost power when the member called to report an outage. This can result in a delayed and inefficient response due to having incomplete information about the outage, its location, and the extent. This year we will begin replacing our AMI meters with a Smart meter that has outage notification capabilities, which make it possible for the cooperative to know when the member has lost power, pinpointing the location and extent of the outage. This new meter will also alert us when the members power is restored after an outage.

Coupling this technology with SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) points in our substations allows The Energy Cooperative to save both time and money by having the capability to remotely monitor, open and close devices in a safe manner resulting in significant improvements in our restoration efforts, giving us the ability to deploy crews more efficiently.