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MarkGabriel_400x500.jpgWe are finally nearing the end of the beginning — United Power’s journey toward operating as an independent cooperative, focusing on the growing needs of our members.

This journey began many years ago when it became apparent our power supplier was not keeping up with the times and our members were paying a disproportionately large part of the power supplier’s overhead. Additionally, we were being throttled by a rule limiting the freedom our members had to increase their share of power supply alternatives. Despite United Power’s numerous attempts to resolve these issues outside of the legal arenas, the courts and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ultimately proved the place for our relief. The freedom to make decisions based on what is best for United Power members is at the heart of this years-long effort. 

A few short months before United Power officially celebrates its 85th anniversary, the cooperative will embark on the beginning of operations that take advantage of the variety of available power suppliers while also engaging members who want a more active role in their power decisions. The benefit over time will be lower costs and reduced carbon emissions, as dictated by state and federal regulations. 

United Power continues to see significant growth in all sectors — residential, commercial, and industrial. We have many new businesses moving into our great communities, including high-tech battery and solar panel manufacturing, data centers, and a railroad logistics center and intermodal shipping facility. In addition, we are working cooperatively with our oil and gas members to help them electrify their operations. 

Our future includes new wholesale power contracts that will stabilize costs and immediately reduce our carbon footprint, the utilization of localized battery arrays to control peak power periods, an increasing number of distributed energy resource projects with member partners, and the movement to become a distribution system operator — all while remaining responsive and nimble.

As part of this new beginning, we are buying back our substations, land, and other equipment to ensure local control and decision making. The tremendous engineers and planners at United Power will be better able to plan for growth to support our members when they need it rather than having to wait for a third party to make those planning decisions. Our power supply team has secured sufficient capacity to meet immediate needs with longer term contracts reflecting even lower costs.

The investments made by United Power — and strongly encouraged by the Board of Directors — have made us one of the top-performing utilities of any type in the country. This is reflected in engineering measurements as well as member satisfaction. United Power’s outage rate, for example, is in the top quartile in the entire nation. Local control will allow continued focus on making the right infrastructure investments at the right time.

“Here for Good” is our 85th anniversary message, reflecting our commitment to the communities we serve. We will maintain our commitment to supporting members and meeting the growing needs for electrification. Our members are making investments every day at the edge of the grid, and United Power will be there to ensure the system is strong, robust, and reliable.

Every day the women and men of United Power work to follow the plan laid out in Our Cooperative Roadmap. We always remember our efforts are there to support our members. This new beginning shows we are here for good.

As always, please feel free to reach out with your questions, comments, or concerns. I enjoy hearing from our members and commit to responding personally. Thank you for your continued support.