Your cooperative is embarking on some exciting opportunities. Last year, your leadership team reviewed Kankakee Valley REMC’s strategic plan. This “road map,” established by the leadership team, identifies the co-op’s key areas of opportunity. Each area will strengthen and advance our rural communities now and in the future.
One of our focuses is the digital gap in our rural communities. Bringing broadband to rural America is a priority for electric cooperatives. (Please see story on pages 22-24.) We already have the technology and infrastructure to design and build broadband networks. We also have a network of community partners to help us create sensible programs. For these reasons, your board of directors has tasked the cooperative leadership team with preparing a broadband business plan. The first segment of the project will connect our substations with a fiber ring, allowing for faster, more reliable communications. Our team is also evaluating construction options, with plans to begin this project before the end of the year.
We will also conduct a pilot program and feasibility study to fully understand what it takes to bring fiber to our members’ homes and businesses, and to other rural areas. To be a true high-speed internet provider, you must know the challenges, and the ins and outs of the business.
Those who attended the annual meeting heard about the progress of the Jasper County REMC and Kankakee Valley REMC consolidation. Since the meeting, the boards from both cooperatives have closely reviewed financial data and expected savings for the consolidated entity. Both cooperatives’ boards believe the consolidation will positively impact operating costs, and save you money. For that reason, the boards have recommended to take the consolidation proposal to the membership for a final vote. We’ll keep you informed with updates and a voting timeline.
Your leadership team is focused on providing value-added services that exceed our members’ expectations. All decisions are carefully evaluated to ensure they align with the cooperative’s strategic goals. Stay tuned for the latest progress on these exciting opportunities.
DENNIS WEISS is CEO of Kankakee Valley REMC.