More Power to You: Cooperatives see the future

More Power to You: Cooperatives see the future

Dramatic changes are transforming all aspects of the energy industry. Consumers want greater control over their energy use and payment methods. The use of smart-phone apps and smart technology for the home is increasing.

Shane L. Larson
Shane L. Larson
Chief Executive Officer

There’s no denying that energy providers will have to make changes to accommodate these trends. Fortunately, Rock Energy Cooperative is uniquely positioned to meet these changing energy needs because we are a cooperative.

Co-op Month logo

October is National Co-op Month, and this year’s theme is “Cooperatives See the Future.” Cooperatives are locally governed, looking out for the long-term needs of their members.

Energy cooperatives belong to the communities they serve. This heightened community focus allows us to quickly adapt to evolving consumer expectations. Our closeness to the community ensures a better response to these needs because we are led by the people we serve.

Cooperatives exist to meet a need that was previously unmet in the community, and they are always striving to anticipate and plan for the future needs of their members.

Our new metering system is one of the ways Rock Energy is positioning itself to continue meeting your needs well into the future. Installation of new meters required to support the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system started this summer and will continue throughout the year.

In the June co-op magazine, this column explained how the new AMI system will help us serve you better by improving reliability and making our operations more efficient. That column is available here.

During National Co-op Month, we like to remind members that the co-op business model is unique. It puts people first. Co-ops strive to be a trusted voice in their communities. Co-ops have earned that trust because they always have their members’ best interests at heart and are determined to enrich the lives of those living and working in the communities they serve—now and in the future.

One of the seven principles of cooperatives around the world is “Cooperation Among Cooperatives.” That teamwork was demonstrated on Aug. 29 when Rock Energy linemen Matt Meichtry and Bill Wright helped restore power to Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative members after high winds and heavy rains caused widespread damage in that area.

We’ve had our share of outages due to storms this summer, but we’ve fared better than areas to our north. Most of our storm-related outages have one thing in common—trees.

High winds topple trees, which then fall onto power poles and lines. I’ve said many times in this column that trees and power lines shouldn’t be near each other. To reduce potential tree-related problems, Rock Energy operates a vigilant tree-trimming program. It’s a job that’s never finished. By the time we finish trimming along our 1,265 miles of distribution lines, vegetation has started to grow back and the cycle continues.

Members can help us keep a safe, reliable, and affordable supply of power flowing by letting us know if you notice trees or branches that might pose a risk to our power lines. We will do minor branch trimming near secondary lines, which carry low-voltage electricity from pole-top transformers to members’ houses, barns, and businesses.

If you need more extensive trimming or tree removal, you can hire a contractor to do the work. To help with the process, we will de-energize and drop the line so you can have the tree safely removed. Then we’ll reconnect power when the work is finished. This is done without charge during our regular operating hours if scheduled in advance.

The best tree maintenance program, however, is careful planning. Before planting trees in your yard, think about how tall they may grow and how wide their branches may spread. Generally, 25 feet of ground-to-sky clearance is needed around utility poles.

Remember to give us a call if you notice that any of your trees have dead branches near our power lines. Also, let us know if there’s anything we can do to improve our service to you. We are truly proud to be your energy provider.