Dakota Electric board members pose with Dakota County commissioners (L-R): Board Chair Jim Sheldon; Board Member Margaret Schreiner; Commissioner Joe Atkins; Board Vice Chair Jerry Pittman; Commissioner Kathleen Gaylord; Commissioner Mike Slavik (chair); Commissioner Mary Liz Holberg; Commissioner Liz Workman; Commissioner Chris Gerlach; and Commissioner Thomas Egan.

Dakota Electric Association recently welcomed the Dakota County Commissioners who have been visiting county businesses. The commissioners have been connecting with local companies to hear about their needs and learn more about those who help make Dakota County successful.

Dakota Electric was represented by some of its board members, President and CEO Greg Miller and other staff members who met with the commissioners and provided an overview of the electric distribution business and the cooperative’s economic development efforts. Miller discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by the not-for-profit electric cooperative as it seeks to provide reliable electricity at competitive rates to homes and businesses in the county. He also discussed Dakota Electric’s exploration of Advanced Grid Infrastructure (smart grid).

As Dakota Electric explores upgrading its distribution system in its service territory, the cooperative is leasing space on the county’s fiber-optic network. That network will provide needed infrastructure to allow the cooperative to quickly communicate with meters and other components on its distribution system.

“It is a win-win partnership between Dakota Electric and the county,” Miller said.

Some of the commissioners toured Dakota Electric’s system control center where they learned about technology the company uses to monitor power outages and keep the lights on.

During their visit, commissioners and Dakota Electric board members and staff discussed workforce needs, job creation, renewable energy and other topics related to economic development and the county’s economy.

Commissioners toured Dakota Electric’s system control center, where dispatchers are on hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to monitor the system and call in crews to repair outages when necessary. Commissioners saw how technology and personnel work to provide Dakota Electric’s extremely high reliability.

“We had a great visit with Dakota Electric today whose more than 200 employees serve thousands of Dakota County residents, businesses and farms,” said Mike Slavik, chair of the Dakota County Commissioners. “As a not-for-profit co-op with more than 105,000 members, they are a major contributor to the economic success and high-quality of life in Dakota County.”