ST. MARYS, OH — Midwest Electric is budgeting $4.5 million in investments in power reliability and electric operations in 2022. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the cooperative is not planning an electric rate increase this year, which would mark 12 years since its last rate change in Aug. 2010.
Primary components of the 2022 work plan include:
- Continuing the multiyear installation of a distribution automation (DA) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, which will reduce the length of major outages by using automation to remotely and quickly transfer load (or “backfeed”) from one source to another. The goal is to eventually make this switching capability available system-wide to 17 substations and metering points.
- Underground line rebuilds are budgeted in Meadowbrook subdivision (Cridersville), Beverly Hills subdivision (Wapakoneta), and Southmoor Shores subdivision (St. Marys). No overhead line rebuilds are planned, as Midwest Electric has reached the milestone of replacing all old copper overhead lines.
- Pole testing in the Lake Substation area. All 33,000 of Midwest Electric’s poles are tested on a 10-year cycle for sturdiness and reliability. Typically, less than 1 percent fail the test, and those are replaced.
- Tree trimming in the Moulton, Cridersville, Amanda, Elida, and Kossuth substation areas. and metering point areas. Tree pruning is performed on a five-year cycle throughout the co-op’s 1,522 miles of power line. Trees and branches are a primary cause of power outages and blinking lights.
- Buying new equipment, which includes a 60-foot bucket truck, meters, transformers, line reclosers, voltage regulators, and poles.
- Purchase an Automatic Vehicle Location System, for enhanced safety and dispatching.
- Additional information technology (IT) hardware and software as technology expands deeper into our electric operations areas such as digital electric meters, SCADA, DA, and remote monitoring and control.
- Create a new, 4-year construction work plan.
“Our engineering staff does an impressive job of planning for the future growth and power reliability needs of our members, and the operations crews are dedicated to restoring power safely and efficiently,” says CEO Matt Berry. “Best yet, we’ve been able to do this – and return millions in patronage cash back to our members – without raising electric rates for the past 12 years. Our last rate change was August 2010.”
Have questions about upcoming construction in your area? Give Midwest Electric’s office a call at 800-962-3830.
Photo cutline: Midwest Electric crews get ready to install a recloser bracket, which is a switching device that allows for automated control to isolate outages and restore power faster. This is part of the multi-year SCADA distribution automation project.
Based in St. Marys, Midwest Electric is the not-for-profit, customer-owned electric cooperative serving over 11,000 homes, farms, and businesses in Allen, Auglaize, Mercer, Van Wert, Shelby, Putnam, and Darke counties. To learn more, visit www.midwestrec.com.