As 2020 comes to an end, I want to express how proud I am of our employees’ accomplishments this year. We tested and refined our business continuity plan, remote work capabilities and operations without sacrificing service to our members. Their knowledge, skills, patience and adaptability made this challenging year very successful.
Our call center employees worked diligently to assist members struggling to pay their bills, by proactively reaching out to make payment plans and provide energy assistance resources.
Additionally, our utility and engineering departments designed, staked and built electric services to over 1,000 new homes. Approximately 103 miles of electric line were installed to feed new services or replace aging lines. We completed substation upgrades to meet increases in electric load and improve reliability. Lastly, we embarked on a five-year vegetation management plan focused on safety and reliability. We have trimmed trees along approximately 110 miles of line and are scheduled to trim another 30 miles by year end.
Smart meter update
In June, we started installing smart meters as part of our advanced meter upgrade project. By the end of the month, the project will be 40% complete with over 40,000 meters installed. Read more about the benefits we’re seeing with these installed meters on page five.
Recently, your co-op’s board of directors approved retiring $4.4 million in capital credits to be returned to members. Learn about their strategic initiative to accelerate the capital credits pay-back program on page three.
We are also proud of where our power supply is headed. Our wholesale power supplier, Great River Energy, is making the bold move to close its last coal power plant in 2022, replacing it with a significant amount of wind energy and market purchases. Great River Energy’s generation portfolio is expected to be 95% carbon free by 2025 — well ahead of state and national mandates.
It has been a pleasure to serve you in 2020. We look forward to what’s to come in 2021.