Messages from the CEO
A Message from Price Electric CEO William L. Caynor Sr.
I wish to express a hearty welcome to all member/owners, non-members, and potential members of Price Electric Cooperative to our website! This year is among the most historical for the Cooperative as we are celebrating eighty years since incorporation. Over that time, the Cooperative has grown to 9,255 members, spread out over 1,800 distribution line miles, that traverse nine counties in rural north-central Wisconsin. The region is one of Wisconsin's hidden treasures with more outdoor activities than any one person can do in a given day. Many of you have chosen this part of the country as your home, while others have sought to enjoy the comforts offered on a seasonal basis.
Price Electric is a distribution cooperative served by six substations owned by Dairyland Power Cooperative and a seventh owned by Xcel Energy. The transmission lines interconnecting with these substations are owned and operated by Xcel. For those not familiar with distribution systems, it is the last phase of electricity being delivered to the member/owner. It is essentially the lines and equipment from the substation to the home. Price Electric is one of 24 Class "A" electric cooperatives that purchase their energy from Dairyland Power Cooperative (Generation & Transmission Cooperative).
Our mission "to provide access to safe, reliable, and affordable electric services," is the core of the Board of Directors and staff ideology, and the results from our concentrated efforts illustrate that our reliability and safety records are the best in the history of the organization. Several initiatives have been put in place to accomplish this feat, and I am proud to communicate the positive results to you.
Establishing our first right-of-way cycle was a prime contributor to our reliability, but there's a lot more. Trees are the number one contributor to outages in the Northwoods, and they also lengthen restoration times by limiting access or obstructing the cause from identification. A seven-year cycle of pole and underground equipment inspections, system improvements, and electronic field equipment installations have enhanced the regulation and coordination of the system to increase reliability and have minimized the number of members affected during outages.
Member satisfaction is second to none, so we want to hear from you in good and bad times. Let us know what you think so that we can continue to enhance our service to you. Last year's membership survey illustrated that cost and reliability were the main factors of interest and continues to be our focus. I mentioned reliability, but what about cost? This one has been difficult given the minimal membership growth, and sales guided by the milder weather in recent years. Some expenses are controllable, and thus we have been able to reduce rate increases in recent years. We were fortunate with the ability to sustain the rate for three of the last six years, whereas it increased every year for the previous ten years.
Being stewards of the environment, the energy industry continues to go through a generation evolution to minimize their impact by decreasing carbon emissions in the electric and transportation sectors by introducing electric vehicles to the marketplace and renewable energy to the electric generation portfolio. The “Clean Power Plan," to reduce CO2 emissions, continues to remain somewhat stagnant, but Wisconsin has elected to take the lead by vowing to eliminate all carbon-based fuel by 2050. The next time you’re at the Cooperative office, check out the electric vehicle chargers; these are the only public chargers in the county. We also have the only all-electric vehicle in Price County. Look for this vehicle at Cooperative events this year.
The Midwest has experienced low-cost and abundant coal-fired generation for years and thus is experiencing a substantial transformation. The largest of these new generation resources within Dairyland Power’s footprint is the Nemadji Trail Energy Center Project (NTEC) in Superior, WI. Dairyland Power and Minnesota Power continue to advance the 625MW combined-cycle natural gas plant, which is expected to come online in 2025. Natural gas emits half the CO2 as conventional coal. Dairyland Power continues to increase its renewable generation portfolio, which includes 18 solar projects at selected electric cooperatives that total 25MW. Price Electric was fortunate enough to receive one of the largest projects, a 20 acre, 2.5MW array interconnected to the Crane Chase substation on Short Cut Road. Pretty impressive. Dairyland Power also added the 98MW Quilt Block Wind farm in Seymour, WI. Dairyland Power recently received approval to proceed with the 148MW Ranger Power’s Badger State Solar facility in Jefferson County, WI. Dairyland Power’s renewables are expected to grow to 48% of its total generation by 2028.
Dairyland Power has decided to close their 345MW Genoa # 3 coal plant in 2021. The closure of this 50-year-old plant amounts to one-third of Dairyland’s generating stations, but is being augmented by 279.2MW of contracted renewables. Dairyland’s total generating capacity hasn’t changed much in recent years, but the generation mix has.
The world continues to evolve, and we will evolve with it, but if you want to take a break and you like solitude or camaraderie of the outdoors where four-wheelers and boats are heard more often than cars, this is the place for you. The northern scenery in spring, when the leaves are naturally evolving, will take your breath away. If you're not here already, we hope to see you soon.
More Messages From the CEO:
Solar Gardens (September 2019)
Electric Vehicle, The Argument (August 2019)
We Are You (June 2019)
Survey Says (April 2019)