The concept of “disruption” is finding its way into nearly every discussion about the way your cooperative provides electricity to its members. Disruption can occur on several fronts.
One is the emergence of technologies that give consumers the ability to get some or all of their electricity from sources other than their local electric company. Other examples include account management by a third party and direct wholesale market purchases.
Battery storage is an example of a “disruptive technology”. Battery design is advancing to the point that some researchers think we are just a few years away from systems that could store solar energy for use at night, essentially enabling consumers to move off the grid.
While we can debate the likelihood of a technological breakthrough that would replace poles, wires and power plants, there is no question that our business is being challenged as consumers take a more active role in choosing their source of electricity, reducing their electricity consumption and adopting innovative ways to manage their accounts.
Challenges are nothing new to Wells Rural Electric Company (WREC). In fact, WREC was formed to meet the challenge of providing electricity to communities no other company was willing to serve. Our history of solving past challenges provides a solid foundation for meeting the challenges of the future. For the past several months, your Board of Directors and staff have been developing plans to serve your rapidly changing needs. Through our strategic planning process, we established seven goals to chart a course for the next five years. The goals provide a vision of the future. We will reach those goals through initiatives, programs and projects that focus on our members year after year. Those goals include:
- Enable WREC members to control their use and develop rates to ensure that WREC can meet its financial obligations.
- Develop policies that protect WREC’s financial strength should unforeseen load reductions occur.
- Develop recommendations to maintain adequate voltage and capacity.
- Continue to achieve a high degree of reliability through operational planning, construction and system analysis.
- Develop an assessment of wholesale power supply needs under the current contract with Bonneville Power Administration through 2028, and beyond.
- Define and develop programs and services that meet member needs.
- Demonstrate a Culture of Safety within WREC and its membership.
While we work toward these longterm goals, we will remain focused on our daily commitment to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity.
Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer