by General Manager Steve Stroshane
In the field, in the office and at the annual meeting, we're here for you
We're all learning to do things differently and our lives have forever changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm grateful for our essential co-op employees in the field and in the office who continue to provide reliable power with efficiency and extraordinary service, even as all of our families, schools and communities have been affected.
Work in every co-op department is ongoing to ensure a strong future for the co-op and our members. Below is one example of how the co-op is working to improve reliability and provide the energy you need to power your lives.
Upgrades coming to restore substation outages faster
One of the areas Polk-Burnett prides itself on is providing reliable service. Our goal is less than one hour of outages per year per member. However, sometimes situations are out of our control. When a problem occurs on a high-voltage transmission line, it impacts multiple substations in a large geographic area. The people impacted may even be served by different utilities.
Polk-Burnett does not own, operate or maintain any transmission lines. We only own the lines from the substations to your electric meter. One of our strategic initiatives has been to improve service when a transmission line has a problem. When a transmission outage occurs, we would like to install technology that would transfer the flow of electricity, so your home receives power from a different substation.
The first substation to get this technology upgrade is the Meenon Substation, serving the area around Webster (towns of Union, Meenon, Lincoln and Oakland). The Meenon Substation is served by a Northwestern Wisconsin Electric transmission line and has experienced an above average number of outages.
The improvement plan will occur over three years. We began last year by upgrading the substation equipment. This year, new equipment will be installed on the power lines, and in 2021, we plan to be able to remotely control all of the equipment installed in 2019 and 2020. While these upgrades cannot prevent the outage from the transmission lines, we hope that it will restore power faster. If it works at Meenon, it will be deployed to other areas of the system.
I invite you to learn more about the work of the cooperative at our 82nd annual meeting. Because of uncertain times, we will host a virtual annual meeting July 8. We hope you can join us as we try this new format!