It’s a simple premise: when you flip the switch at home, the lights should come on. And at Access Energy Cooperative, we work hard to ensure you have electricity every hour of every day. It’s what we do; we’re here for you, our member-owners. Even as we upgrade the distribution system to improve reliability, we face continual threats, like a tornado or ice storm. Maybe a neighbor forgets to call before he digs up his backyard. Maybe someone would slide off the road and hit a utility pole.
With over 2200 miles of electric distribution lines, we have a lot of ground to cover. So when the lights go out, we cover it as quickly as possible. Not too long ago, our only option was linemen driving throughout large areas to investigate a problem. We have invested in smart technologies that allow us to monitor our system remotely and pinpoint problems more quickly and accurately as they occur.
We also have great employees with tremendous expertise in maintaining and repairing our infrastructure. As your locally owned and operated not-for-profit utility, we deeply care about the areas we serve. We evaluate and deploy cost-effective system upgrades and preventive maintenance strategies across our 10 counties. And, we work hard all year to keep trees away from power lines to prevent outages.
In 2017 our outage reports show a slight increase in the number and length of outages incurred by our members, mostly due to weather. There were no major storms last year, which helped tremendously; but our stringent equipment and vegetation management plans are doing their job to keep outages down and your power reliable.
Our 2017 reports continued to show an increase in number of poles rejected during inspection for safety over the last 5-year average. We have been emploring new technology for the testing process, which is helping strengthen our pole testing program for a safer system for you.