Similar to our current investment in electric vehicles and research into broadband internet options, Noble REMC has always strived to be at the forefront of new technology and services that could better our members’ experience.
Our 85 years of archives mentions everything from essential items still in use, such as automated metering infrastructure, to the ones we had to look up online. (What in the world is an “electronic secretary” anyway?)
There were a lot of firsts in technology at the co-op, but these really stood out:
Computers and the internet
From preparing for a possible crash of our system in the age of Y2K (Does Gen Z know about the hysteria surrounding the year 2000?) to now primarily working online, like many industries, computers and access to the internet brought a new age for the co-op.
Meters can now be automatically read from co-op headquarters. Members can view and pay their bill electronically, rather than receiving it in the mail. Outages, and their restoration, can be followed instantaneously on our website or SmartHub app. Members can also more easily connect with us through social media.
From the first mention of our “homepage on the Internet” (yes, with a capital “I”) in 1997, the internet has only brought us closer to you, our members, and helped you to have easy access to the services you need most from us.
Branching out with new products
Our foundation will always be providing reliable electricity to our members, but over the years, Noble REMC has dipped its toe into other technologies and products.
The first mention is in 1958 when we began selling retail electrical products, specifically the Mirro Matic line of pressure cookers. Over the years, we’ve sold lightbulbs, electric grills and smokers, water heaters and more.
Then in a progressive move, the board of directors in 1999 approved the creation of a subsidiary corporation in case there was an opportunity to diversify. And funny enough, in 2000, Noble REMC entered into two different business collaborations.
The first was to re-sell long distance telephone service. It was so popular that four years later, the program exceeded more than 10,000 customers! But as with everything, purchasing long distance service became obsolete with cell phones and new phone plans taking the spotlight.
Later in 2000, the co-op entered into a joint venture to provide metered propane service to our members. The endeavor was successful for 15 years before the co-op decided on a natural transition out of the industry.