WREC Board Approves Plan to Build New Operations Center
By WREC Staff
Wells Rural Electric Co.’s Board of Directors announced plans April 11 to build a new operations center next to the main office in Wells.
While WREC has provided safe, reliable, affordable electricity to its members since 1960, the current operations facilities are outdated and too small for WREC’s equipment and employees.
The new operations center represents the board’s commitment to ensuring members continue to benefit from the same level of reliability and responsiveness they have enjoyed for decades.
Built in 1948 to house generators, WREC’s meter shop is the oldest of the current facilities. The main service center building opened in 1975. At that
time, WREC served 1,601 members in Wendover, Wells and the surrounding valleys with 611 miles of energized line. West Wendover was known as Stateline and was nothing more than a gas station and café.
Today, WREC serves more than 6,000 accounts and maintains more than 1,400 miles of line spread across 10,552 square miles of service territory. As times have changed, the cooperative has needed to add larger equipment and more employees to effectively maintain its system.
The new operations center will serve as a hub from which WREC can dispatch crews wherever they are needed at a moment’s notice. Wells is an ideal location because it is within an hour’s travel time from 95 percent of all members.
“We are proud of our legacy,” Board President Scott Egbert said, announcing the plans to a group of WREC members and civic leaders. “But we also understand that it is our responsibility to make decisions that ensure WREC’s success for the next 60 years.”
The new building will move operations and member service employees into closer proximity, which will improve work efficiency, access for members,
and security for both employees and equipment.
The projected cost of the new building is $7.92 million. The board realized the importance of such a significant investment and spent nearly two years evaluating the cooperative’s needs, limitations of current facilities and possible solutions. The board approved the building based on it being a rate-neutral investment for members, meaning the new operations center is not expected to affect members’ monthly bills.
Both the board and WREC’s employees have committed to significant cost controls and budget cuts for items that don’t impact reliability. Whether now or in 10 years, WREC needs a new operations center, and current interest rates and construction costs made now a good time to build.
“Our first concern as a board is always our members because we’re members too,” Egbert said. “So when it came to deciding whether or not to spend that kind of money, we took our time and were very thorough making sure this was absolutely the right decision. We are excited about what it means for the service provided by our cooperative.”
The company expects to break ground on the new building this summer, with a projected move-in during April 2020.