Several Southeast electric cooperatives had good press for their smart implementation of advanced utility technologies:

  • Brunswick Electric Member Cooperative (EMC), headquartered in Shallotte, North Carolina, is using software that analyzes and learns from weather data to more efficiently position equipment and crews before severe weather hits.
  • Wake EMC, based in Wake Forest, North Carolina, is in a pilot study for a cybersecurity tool that can detect anomalies in system operations.
  • An installation by Sandhills Utility Services, formed by four North Carolina coops provides power to military base, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and addresses technical issues such as stabilizing voltage, correcting power factor issues, and mitigating harmonics in real time.
  • Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation has begun getting a whole new look at the condition of its lines and poles. The co-op is one of several using drones for system inspections.
  • Cobb EMC, based in Marietta, Georgia, uses data analytics as a member engagement tool. The 180,000-member co-op analyzed information from its databases to improve communications across the co-op’s diverse membership.

These are taken from a report (left) by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: 10 Key Technologies – Essential tools and devices for enabling the distributed energy grid. “Managing the grid, both at the transmission and the distribution level, in the midst of this change requires rapid two-way communication, a massive increase in data analytical capability, and sophisticated solid-state control technology,” said the news report.

It’s not just coops that are making these changes. Utilities of all stripes are making plans, or putting actual capabilities in place, to manage new electric generation and distribution technologies for customers. There are big changes underway. Terrific work by these coops!