Reliability of Your System

Power reliability is a frequently discussed topic at national, state and regional levels. Because reliable power is something that is many times taken for granted, initial discussions on this topic are often sparked by an event – such as a major outage.

As a member of Access Energy Cooperative, your power is extremely reliable. We’re very proud of our exceptional reliability record. We work hard day in and day out to maintain exceptional levels of reliability. It is part of our mission statement to provide reliability, and we take our mission statement very seriously.

There aren’t short cuts to achieving reliable power. It’s labor and time intensive – and it’s an area of our business where we can’t afford to cut corners or expect anything less that near perfection. Reliable electric service does not happen automatically; it is part of a well-laid plan directed by your local board of directors and carried out by experienced cooperative employees.

The requirements for maintaining a reliable power system has changed little over the decades. Yet, our changing environment illustrates that our members need much more power today than 30 or even 20 years ago, mostly driven by our passion for electronics, gadgets and the modern day conveniences that rely on electricity. By anticipating your needs, today and in the future, we have confidence in the integrity of our system.

Reliable power is just as important to Access Energy as it is to you. That’s why we work hard to ensure reliable electric service by maintaining and inspecting our distribution lines and substations to determine any replacement, maintenance and repair needs. On a regular basis we perform pole inspections, meter testing, overhead and underground line inspections and vegetation management to trim trees and shrubbery that could interfere with safe and reliable power delivery.

Energy conservation programs and educating members on peak alerts and the importance of knowing where overhead and underground lines exist are important in power reliability. When all of us follow simple safety guidelines it has an enormous impact on our system.

While not all power outages can be avoided – such as when Mother Nature decides to intervene – their impact can be diminished. Spring and summer storms in Iowa can be especially severe and cause brief outages. In the event of an outage, you can call Access Energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 319-385-1580 or toll free at 1-866-242-4232. We also have an emergency restoration plan for securing and sharing resources during widespread power interruptions.

Access Energy works hard to deliver power that is safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible. For Access Energy, reliability isn’t just a priority, it’s a prerequisite to serving you, the member-owner.

SCADA

Access Energy Cooperative has installed a system-wide Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. The SCADA system allows your cooperative to monitor voltage and current values by circuit and phase for all 16 substations. It alarms our Operations Department when voltage levels fall outside the allowable range, when fault currents are detected, and when substation reclosers have locked out. Click here for more information on SCADA.

AMI System

Our Automated Meter Information (AMI) system detects early outage detection and assistance in restoring power during system interruptions. 

Vegetation Management

Representatives of Access Energy Cooperative complete our right-of-way maintenance program, consisting of tree pruning, brush pruning, and chemical treatment to impede future growth. The cycles and methods are determined using best judgement and knowledge of local factors; chemicals may be used in impeding future growth. Vegetation management is set up to allow for a general schedule of having the entire system pruned and managed on an approximate 5-year cycle, or 20% of the system annually. Weather situations may affect the annual schedule, such as an extreme ice storm. Click here for more information on our vegetation management program.

Overhead and Underground Line Inspections

Access Energy’s detailed line inspection program calls for the inspection of all overhead electric lines below 34.5 kV over a 10-year period with approximately 10% of the system inspected each year.

Substation Inspection and Maintenance

Substations serving Access Energy Cooperative are owned and operated by our power supplier, Northeast Power. Substation inspections are subject to their reliability plan.

Pole Inspection and Treatment

Access Energy has a program of regular above and below ground line pole inspection and treatment, with the complete system scheduled to be completed on a 10-year cycle. The inspections are done on an area basis with all cooperative-owned poles, within a given area, being inspected each year.

Meter Testing

Access Energy will test all watt hour meters periodically for accuracy and mechanical condition on a 10-year cycle. Please click here for more information on meter testing.

Oil Circuit Reclosers and Sectionalizer Maintenance

Your cooperative has a maintenance program in which all oil circuit reclosers and sectionalizers on the cooperative’s system are scheduled for maintenance every three to ten years, depending on what type of unit they are.

Infrared Inspection

Access Energy Cooperative has available infrared technology that we utilize on our system, which is also available to assist members in pinpointing any air leaks your building may have, and can save you energy by allowing you to make corrections and repairs. Click here for more information.