Innovation at Your Co-op - Message from the President & CEO

A lot can happen in a few years. The technology we have today forms a critical part of our lives, but even just 20 years ago cell phones and e-mail were virtually unused outside of military and academic circles.

Times have certainly changed. I often text friends and family on the go. Laptops are becoming passé—my smart phone and tablet connect me to all the information I need, and I find new “apps” every day that make life a little easier.

It’s no secret I like gadgets that improve my quality of life. We have the same mentality here at PVREA. As your local, electric co-op, it’s our responsibility to be your trusted energy advisor and offer you the latest products and services to help you save and control your energy. Even though we’ve been around since the 1930s, we don’t want to be defined only by our past. Instead, PVREA is innovative, looking for ways to effectively and efficiently use modern technology to bring safe, reliable, and affordable electricity to members.

In March, we announced a grant of approximately $100,000 PVREA received to research technology that is groundbreaking, and could potentially offer new, beneficial products and services for co-op members. Using this grant, we will continue to be your trusted energy advisor by understanding, embracing and exploring technology that is changing our industry and how you receive service from us.

Over the next two years, we’re using the PVREA headquarters to test different technologies. Our headquarters is the perfect place to test these products since the building is a member of the co-op, so we’ll get a look from the member point-of-view. Two teams, comprised of PVREA employees and members, have been established to evaluate 3 things: specific technologies and services that reduce the cost to purchase electricity, what a member could want and gain from these technologies, how they could benefit individuals members and the membership as a whole, and how the co-op could successfully provide the products and services to the membership.

The PVREA teams are working on five different projects. We are installing a ground mount solar product in the front yard of the co-op and the teams are determining how energy from solar can be produced in the most effective way for our members and the Co-op. They are also looking at ways to curb costs on electricity through the use of a battery storage system and generator use during critical times of the day. The teams are testing energy management software that predicts when there will be a high demand for electricity from members. The co-op could then create offerings to help manage and save energy to curb costs. Lastly, the teams are installing an energy efficient lighting controls system in the building in which we will test and evaluate if it could offer energy efficiency savings to our members.

As we implement and explore these and other technologies and services at the Co-op, we are looking at how we could offer these services, what it could look like, how does it benefit the individual member and the membership as a whole, is it feasible, and does it improve our service to you. In addition, we’re figuring out how we can be innovative and stay ahead of the curve so we can continue to be that trusted energy advisor for members.

Don’t forget about the technology and services already available to you. SmartHub, the Co-op’s free web tool and app, allows you to view your daily energy use, report an outage, pay your bill and many other options. We also offer the Pay As You Go account option, online bill payment, the electronic newsletter, online Home Energy Tour, energy use assessments, and online rebate forms to name a few. You can find all of these services right here on our website. 

As a membership, we’re all in this together, and PVREA understands the need from our members for their co-op to be the energy expert. PVREA doesn’t live in the past. Instead, we honor the past by having a pioneering spirt in finding new ways to meet members’ needs in providing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity.

Jeff Wadsworth
President & CEO


Date Posted: 5/26/2017