Committed to Keeping Your Lights on No Matter the Weather

Posted on Dec 14 2023 in Kankakee Valley REMC
Kankakee Valley REMC CEO Scott Sears

With the winter chill approaching, I — like many homeowners — am getting my home ready for the cold, snow and ice. I want to make sure my home’s heating system operates efficiently and safely.

Much like we all prepare our homes for winter, your REMC works year-round to ensure its electric system is in tiptop shape to deliver reliable electricity to you.

This time last year, just days before Christmas, our area experienced sub-zero temperatures. Since we are increasingly depending on renewable resources to generate electricity, these temperatures created an industry-wide challenge. Thousands of people in the electric industry spent their holiday ensuring the Midwest had electricity. Other areas in the country weren’t as lucky and implemented controlled power interruptions to protect the grid. We were able to avoid power interruptions because our power supplier coordinated with ACES Power Marketing and MISO (our regional transmission operator) to monitor grid conditions and weather predictions.

While we hope these extreme situations aren’t the norm, a Nov. 8 article published by Reuters warns us otherwise.

Analysis with the North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) listed the U.S. Midwest, Northwest and Southern regions, along with portions of Canada, as areas that could face the highest vulnerability to electricity shortages this year. It is important to note that we work closely with our power supplier to have a plan should an event like last year happen again. I encourage you to follow us on social media and watch for instructions during possible future weather events.

Just as our power supplier works to maintain grid reliability, your co-op’s commitment to uninterrupted service stays the same despite winter’s unique challenges. Here are a few steps we take to ensure the lights stay on and the heat flows.

  • Our operations team inspects power lines, transformers and substations long before the first snowflake falls. These inspections are part of our standard infrastructure maintenance to ensure we address any wear or damage as soon as possible.
  • Tree trimming is essential for winter storm preparedness and reliability. Winter storms bring high winds and heavy snow that can bring trees and branches down onto power lines. For this reason, we have a comprehensive tree trimming and vegetation management program that we operate year-round. This minimizes the risk of outages caused by falling limbs.
  • Preparing for unexpected power outages or electrical issues caused by extreme weather conditions means having extra materials. Your cooperative reacted early to previous inventory shortages and is now well stocked with critical components like utility poles, wires, and transformers, which are essential during a storm.

Whether it’s the heat of summer, the chill of winter, or a severe storm, your co-op works daily to keep your lights on, your homes comfortable, and your lives uninterrupted.