On the leading edge

Pat O’Loughlin, president and CEO of Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives

One of the things that makes our family of electric cooperatives so unique within the utility arena is our ability to stay on the leading edge of technical advancements that can make our service safer, more reliable, and more affordable for our members.

Electric cooperatives are leaders in the utility service industry in adopting new technologies, such as advanced metering, more convenient bill payment, and more responsive outage-tracking systems. We aren’t the inventors of new technologies, but we’re able to quickly recognize the benefits for consumer-members and deploy newer, proven technologies to improve our service and reduce our costs.

The areas that we serve are more rural than those of larger investor-owned utilities, but our smaller size and locally based leadership help us to more quickly recognize the advantages to be gained, and that, in turn, enables us to put new ideas to work for you. Innate agility, coupled with our willingness to embrace innovation, has allowed us to find ways to employ technology to keep rates as low as possible and to make our service increasingly reliable.

Electric cooperatives, for example, were among the first to use load-management systems and peak-demand alerts to hold down costs for members across the state. New smart meters and automated systems have further improved our efficiency and help us to restore service more quickly when power outages do occur.

In the final issue of Country Living, Magen Howard, our manager of communications and member services, examines some of the next-generation technology that’s already in use at your electric cooperative, and takes a look at some current industry-standard technology that came about because of cooperative innovation.

Look for your improved member magazine, coming in March.