“Member Moment” highlights one of Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives and how they uniquely demonstrate what it means to be a cooperative.
Leading-edge technology might not be top of mind when you think of the heart of rural Minnesota, but Kandiyohi Power Cooperative (KPC), one of Great River Energy’s 28 member-owner cooperatives, is changing that perception.
The co-op is on the forefront of fully integrating technology with the use of its automatic vehicle locator system, GPS, outage management system and smart metering system.
Electric co-ops such as KPC are modernizing laying this technological groundwork that will enable them to offer member-consumers more options, allowing them to further customize their service. This includes, for example, advanced metering infrastructure which automates metering functions so the cooperative can collect meter readings faster and more frequently while also being alerted of outages or other disruptions the moment they occur. Data collected by these meters can be used to identify member consumption patterns and maintenance needs.
Since integrating these technologies, KPC has realized a significant reduction in after-hours overtime as well as many other efficiencies in the way it conducts business.
KPC’s leadership and experience with technology led to the cooperative signing a contract with the City of Olivia, Minnesota, to perform municipal electric and water metering using the co-op’s new system. The co-op has also built relationships in its communities through its expertise in other areas. After more than 30 years performing maintenance for the City of Kandiyohi Electric Municipal, KPC purchased the 275-meter municipal utility in February 2018. The co-op has done the sewer metering and billing for its local county for the last 12 years as well.
Working with Great River Energy
KPC has collaborated with Great River Energy on several grid modernization and technology projects, including the recently completed OATI integration with KPC’s load management system, and data analytics relating to air source heat pumps and water heaters. Looking ahead to the next few years, KPC expects to collaborate with Great River Energy on a load management conversion project and potentially some meter data management analytics.
Concern for community
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities with each co-op demonstrating that in ways that are unique to its membership. KPC employees volunteer many hours to organizations of their choice and are often involved in community projects. Most recently, employees invested in a local YMCA daycare center that will open this fall in Spicer, Minnesota.
The co-op also collects annual donations through Operation Round-up, which are disbursed to local fire and emergency personnel, as well as post-prom groups throughout its service territory.