By Timothy J. Power, CEO
As the sun sets on another year, I wanted to highlight a few noteworthy items.
New Metering System – In late 2017 we made the decision to replace our aging metering system and began installing the new system. This past year, we finished installing all the communication infrastructure and over 3,000 meters.
The installation process has been very valuable as it has afforded us an opportunity to inspect every meter location on our system. The process has revealed several items that we were able to address before they problematic and possibly cause outages.
Our plan is to finish installing the remaining 5,300 meters in 2020. Prior to replacing meters in any area, we send out a notification call to let you know when we plan to be there to replace the meter. If you have questions on meter replacement, please give us a call.
Residential Peak Reduction Pilot Program – For the third year in a row, we offered all our residential members the opportunity to participate in the peak reduction pilot program; 129 chose to participate.
With this program, we turned off participants’ power when our power supplier, KEPCo, was getting close to setting a high usage peak. In total, we only shut off power four times (one hour a day on four days). In return for allowing us to turn off their power, the participants each received a $50 incentive and were not subject to the higher Red Zone rates. Together, the incentive and lower rates were worth over $110 to each of the participants.
Peak Reduction Programs – The residential peak reduction program was just one of several ways we reduced our peak demand this year. Our rates for irrigators, large power members, and residential members (Red Zone) discourage use at peak times. In addition, we have two generators that we run at certain peak times. Combined, the pilot program, generators, and rates helped save about 5 MW of peak demand this past summer. This translates into over $600,000 in power cost savings. This is important because it represents revenue we do not need to collect through higher rates.
Member Survey – Every year for the past five years we have conducted an annual survey of 250-350 members, chosen at random. Once a member participates in the survey, we remove the member from the list of members to potentially send the survey to for the next two years, which keeps our survey respondent list fresh with newer respondents.
This year, we were extremely happy to find a little over 93% of those surveyed were satisfied with DS&O. That is not to say we don’t have things to work on, but we do our best to make sure all your dealings with us are friendly and helpful.
One thing we asked about in our survey was your interest in buying an electric vehicle (EV). The survey revealed there are very few of you that are considering buying an EV in the next year, but this is something we must watch, as that industry continues to grow. At some point we may need to install EV chargers and design EV charging rates.
Finally, a couple survey comments showed there are some of you with power quality issues. Please call us if you ever have an outage or a power quality issue, such as flickering lights. It is possible we already know about it and are working it, but we want to make sure. If the issue is on our end, we will work to get it fixed in a timely manner.
Of course, there were many more items I could have listed here, but these are all past items that, as Shakespeare said, serve as prologue to 2020. All the items discussed here will carry over to 2020 and play a big role in what we do. And I will discuss that more next month.
Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at DS&O!