Change happens fast!

Posted on Aug 31 2019 in Orange County REMC


Three years ago, in the September issue of what was then the Electric Consumer, I asked members to fill out a survey of interest that would begin laying the foundation of something new. The results of this initial survey were of resounding interest and formal discussions and work began to execute the board of directors’ vision; which was to see if the electric cooperative could begin providing broadband internet to our members.

What a vision and what a huge undertaking! After that initial survey, we decided to obtain a financial feasibility study that was executed by an independent third party. The study found that if 48% of our members took our service and if the hundreds of other assumptions related to the success of the project became true, it could be financially feasible. We then surveyed you again, this time with specific package details including speed and monthly cost. This survey also came back with resounding interest. And as they say, the rest is history. 

This month marks the first year of construction for our rural broadband project. By the time you read this, we will be serving over 300 members and have placed over 1,000 drops to homes served on approximately 275 miles of fiber. Construction on Phase I will be completed this month, with 67% of our members in that area subscribing to the service … far exceeding the 48% we hoped for. Phase II construction is now underway. 

While the fiber construction is ongoing, we are also converting to a new business operating system, NISC. This will change nearly every aspect of how we execute the business behind the scenes but no doubt, it will greatly enhance our members experiences with the co-op. While the great member service we offer and the care that we take ensuring the details are right for you won’t change, please know that the process those member service representatives and billing analysts are going through to answer your questions certain has. Some consider change in and of itself to be as enough to completely consume cooperative personnel, but we are managing it while starting up an entirely new business and acquiring two others. 

So why all this change all at once? Quite frankly, for you. These changes will help us serve you better, well into the future. The amount of information we have available to better serve you is greater and we will be able to access this information faster than before. These changes also position us for even more efficiencies in the future when you consider the automation of electrical distribution equipment and 15 minute interval meter data. 

What we won’t do is compromise our ability to be your electric provider. We will always strive to bring you safe, reliable and affordable electricity, as that is our core mission.