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.