When a flat-line storm knocked down more than 100 poles and shut down 12 of Adams Electric Cooperative’s 13 power substations last summer, the cooperative’s employees found an opportunity to shine.
“For the first day or so, our employees worked around the clock with no complaining or concern for themselves and their homes, which also had no power,” says General Manager Jim Thompson. “Within 24 hours, half of our 8,500 member-owners had their power restored, and everyone was back online within four days.
“Of course, we had help from other cooperatives during the emergency, but our employees were outstanding,” he says, noting that Adams Electric Cooperative has scored the highest among all utility companies in the State of Illinois on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) in 2009 and 2011.
Reliability is at the core of Adams Electric Cooperative’s success. Founded in 1938 by a group of 450 area farmers who wanted electricity for their homes and farms, the cooperative continues to invest in advanced technology to detect and swiftly correct outages.
“Every minute without power costs our commercial customers money,” says Thompson. “So, we recently secured a grant from the Department of Energy to install Smart Grid Distribution Automation Switches on our electric system that feeds the east side of Quincy. The switches detect power failures and immediately switch to a different electric source on the grid restoring power. These switches will significantly improve restoration time during an outage.”
Adams Electric Cooperative secures its power from multiple sources, including coal, natural gas and wind generation facilities along with electric contracts and the MISO market. The Cooperative has a long term relationship with its members and plans its power supply to minimize risk and offer competitive prices over the long haul.
To that end, Adams Electric Cooperative owns and operates two utility-scale wind turbines, one near Payson in Adams County and one in Brown County just outside of Mt. Sterling, that provide nearly three percent of the cooperative’s total energy needs. They also are part owners of Prairie Power Inc., which owns part of a coal generation facility in southern Illinois and natural gas generation facilities in Scott County, IL. Adams Electric Cooperative member-owners utilize approximately 180 million kilowatts of power annually.
Furthering their long-term investment in this area, Adams Electric Cooperative is active in economic development with a revolving loan fund that provides low-interest loans to commercial members. The cooperative developed the 20 acres east of its headquarters in Camp Point as the Camp Point Business Park, site of the Dollar General store, and partnered with Great River Economic Development Foundation to develop the spec building at Quincy Regional Airport. They also offer energy efficiency loans for residents who wish to improve their homes, and their Penny Power program has distributed nearly $240,000 to community organizations.
For more information, visit www.adamselectric.coop or call 217-593-7701 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.