Looking Ahead to 2022: Milestones, Opportunity, and Growth
THE COOPERATIVE ADVANTAGE – January 2022 CCL CEO Article
By Jim Herron, MVEA CEO
I have shared this before, but it bears repeating: The start of a new year is an opportunity to take stock of what we learned the year before as we look forward to the year ahead — to reflect on success and focus on opportunity. I am proud to share that is exactly what Mountain View Electric Association, your local electric cooperative, did as we went into 2021: We focused on opportunity and will be celebrating milestones in 2022 that benefit MVEA’s membership now and in the years to follow.
While there are many lessons that we have learned as a country over the last two years, the importance of having access to fast and reliable internet service has become a national priority. Access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. Long before a global pandemic brought the issue to the national forefront, MVEA sought a partner with whom to develop and deploy a fiber broadband network to better serve our co-op communities. A lot of strategic planning came to fruition in June 2021 when we announced a partnership with Conexon Connect to bring MVEA members access to a world-class fiber broadband network.
Since the announcement, the MVEA and Conexon Connect teams have been hard at work designing and mapping the network — ironing out the path the fiber will take, making sure the footprint follows a logical and efficient path along MVEA’s electric infrastructure. While the full project buildout will take five to six years, the first Connect, powered by Mountain View Electric Association, customers will be connected in the second quarter of 2022. This is a huge milestone for the co-op and for MVEA’s membership.
MVEA completed an extensive digital meter upgrade project in June 2021. Throughout the project, we emphasized the advanced technology that would benefit members and the importance of using MVEA’s online account management program, SmartHub, to extend the capabilities of the upgraded digital meters.
Members now have the opportunity to access daily and hourly energy use data to better understand their unique electric use patterns and to forecast future bills. For instance, this time of year, home heating is often the cause for questions about increased energy use — and space heaters are a common culprit. Through the daily and hourly data that is now available, SmartHub makes it easier to understand the impact of a space heater in the home during the time that it is turned on.
The upgraded meters don’t just provide members with opportunities to take control of their energy use, the expanded energy use data and account management features also provide MVEA with opportunities to develop programs to meet the evolving needs of co-op members. While it is currently in testing, I am excited to share one such opportunity that will be available in early 2022: a prepaid billing option for members who prefer to prepay for their electric use. Look for the official announcement and additional details in future issues of this magazine.
We anticipate another busy year driven by unprecedented growth in El Paso County. Continued growth provides another opportunity to meet the evolving needs of existing and new members alike. Expanded energy efficiency education and electric product rebate promotions are great examples of programs that have been developed based on valuable feedback from the members we serve.
As we enter a new year, I hope you will connect with us and share your perspective as MVEA continues to grow to meet the unique needs of its co-op membership. It’s one of the principles that makes electric co-ops unique: our desire to serve our members, the owners of the co-op.
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