It’s hard to believe my first year as Marshall County CEO has already come to an end. In preparation for the new year, we spent the last several months planning for 2022 and beyond. I want to take this opportunity to give our members a high-level view of what we will be focusing on this year.
To start off, this spring we are scheduled to get a new roof on our warehouse and a re-coat on the entire front office roof of the Marshall County REMC building. As you can imagine, this is an expensive project, but is much needed.
We recently had American Energy Services, our pole testing contractor, test over 3,100 poles in the northeast part of our system from U.S. 30 north and from U.S. 31 east. By the end of the year our goal is to change out roughly 500 poles that were identified as “bad” as a result of the testing.
Another project that will span several years is the replacement of all the old, unsafe and unreliable copper wire throughout the system. This year we will focus on the section of line where we experienced the most outages in 2021. This area is on Muckshaw Road from 12th Road north to the railroad tracks and from Muckshaw Road east on 11B Road to Maple Road. This should greatly reduce the number of outages long-term for this area, including the east part of the Nutmeg Ridge subdivision.
We are scheduled to have a new “Marco” substation complete and online by Dec. 31 of this year. The new substation will be located on 18th Road just east of Michigan Road and will replace the existing NIPSCO metering point currently being used. This substation will feed south of Argos all the way from Mentone to Culver, adding reliability and much needed capacity.
Lastly, we are currently working with Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) to complete an electric rate analysis. The last time this was done was in 2011, which was also the time of the last rate increase. The rate analysis will look at the impact on our system from the increased onset of electric vehicles and member interconnection of distributed generation (solar, wind, batteries) as well as the continued rising cost of power production. The rate analysis is scheduled to be completed by May 31. Members will then be informed of the findings and any necessary rate changes that result.