Season’s greetings and thank you for another great year! Being part of a cooperative means being part of something special. Our goals this past year were designed to improve service reliability, our community involvement and our members’ quality of life, all while working to keep costs low and provide our service at a good value to you.
One step toward ensuring reliable service was the completion of our Mebane Oaks Substation. This substation was recently energized, and its increased capacity supports the continued growth in Mebane, Efland and southwest Hillsborough.
We also foresaw a need to improve our data transfer capacity and provide better backup capabilities for our IT systems. Installation of high-speed, fiber optic cable between our offices is underway and phase one is complete.
While we might not always know the future, we do know that we are stronger when we work together. In September, Hurricane Irma downed miles of power lines in western North Carolina. After ensuring our grid was secure, we upheld the cooperative value of “Cooperation Among Cooperatives” and sent 16 linemen to Haywood Electric to assist in restoration efforts.
Helping communities thrive both near and far is the cooperative way, and it has never been as apparent as it has been this year in our local community.
This past October, we began the operation of the Piedmont Electric Helping Hand Foundation to better support our community. Commonly called a “Round-up” program, the spare change that members donate is combined to support grants for local educators, youth programs, emergency preparedness efforts and to help pay electric bills for families in need.
While you can always opt out, we appreciate the 99 percent of our members who have remained in the program and are donating these extra pennies to their local communities. This level of community support is not possible without strong member commitment, so I want to thank you for your dedication.
We continue to have positive results by our members participating in energy saving programs like Load Management, Time of Day rates and Beat the Peak. Since 2013, Piedmont Electric members have helped the co-op save more than $7.5 million, which we’ve returned to you.
On a more somber note, we anticipate higher wholesale power costs next year as a result of Duke Energy’s coal ash compliance efforts. We continue to monitor the actions of the North Carolina Utilities Commission regarding Duke’s rate hike requests but hope other previously mentioned power cost-saving programs will at least partially offset these added expenses.
As we look forward to another year, know that your local co-op will continue to keep your best interests at heart. We will stay true to our mission of enhancing the quality of life in the communities we serve by providing you with affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible energy.
As the year comes to a close, I thank you for being a member of Piedmont Electric. We again wish you a joyous holiday season and a safe and prosperous New Year. It is our honor to serve you!