By Tom Sobeck, President & CEO
This column is likely to find you preparing for your holiday season. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and Christmas will be here before we know it! It is the time when we look back to review our work over the past year. I must say, it has been a year of significant achievements here at your cooperative! Our employees have spent another year doing incredible things with little fanfare. They simply know what needs to be done, and they go about doing it. I am so proud to represent such a highly-skilled, dedicated group of individuals.
To recap, we have nearly completed our Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system installation and plan to begin reading most electric meters remotely over the next few months. There are still some gaps in communications coverage, and we will spend the winter months determining the best way to address them. Then, next spring, we’ll deploy more equipment to capture those remaining meters. We’ll also begin the necessary steps to deploy this technology to our natural gas meters by adding custom modules. We expect implementation to be completed by the end of 2023.
Our other significant achievement has been the introduction of high-speed fiber internet in our service territory. We are currently providing service in the Onaway area but plan to open zones in the Black Lake, Wolverine, and Mullett Lake areas over the next few months. Then it’s on to Phase 2 and the Cheboygan area, followed by Hammond Bay, Millersburg, Hawks, and Posen. While it took some time to lay the foundations, and we’ve overcome several obstacles, we’ve managed to reach the point where we are connecting members and expanding our mission to provide yet another essential service. Fiber internet access will undoubtedly change the economic prospects of our region in positive ways. We’re excited to be part of such a significant change, and we can’t wait to continue the project throughout the rest of our service territory.
In closing, as Thanksgiving and Christmas draw near, I wish all a safe and prosperous holiday season! In keeping with the season, we thank you for trusting us to meet your energy needs and for allowing us to provide you with the best-in-class fiber internet service for your communications needs!