Looking back, I doubt that too many of us will think of 2020 as a great year. It was strange, sad in many ways, and long — 366 days, to be exact. That’s right: 2020 not only seemed long — it was long.
Many of us are happy to turn the calendar to 2021, but the last 12 months weren’t all bad. There were some bright lights in the electric cooperative world.
- Member satisfaction (as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index) with Ohio’s electric co-ops reached a record high of 86.5 in 2020 (make sure to check out our story on page 4 to see what goes into that rating).
- Co-ops returned $37 million in excess revenue to their members in the form of capital credits — one of the perks of co-op membership.
- Ohio linemen brought the wonder of electricity to the remote, impoverished Guatemalan village of Tierra Blanca Sebol, enabling light, sanitation, refrigeration, and connections to the outside world never before possible — then safely returned home after the pandemic temporarily closed that country’s borders.
- Co-ops awarded 13 economic development grants across the state to assist communities served by electric cooperatives with plans for growth.
- We were able to work collaboratively with regulators to further improve the environmental impact of power plant operations, while continuing to provide affordable, safe, and reliable power.
- Our Central Ohio Lineworker Training program reached a record enrollment of 118 apprentice lineworkers, as we continue to train a new generation of co-op employees.
- Co-ops worked with investor-owned utilities to complete grid upgrades that will improve service to some of the state’s underserved areas.
- As we prepare to close the book on the old year and start chapter 1 of the new, don’t let the 2020 Grinch steal your Christmas. We continue to find blessings — some in plain sight, some deep within our hearts and minds.
Wishing a merry Christmas to all and an even better new year.
Pat O'Loughlin is president and CEO of Ohio's Electric Cooperatives.