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MarkGabriel_400x500.jpgIncumbency in business has a rich history of companies that failed to plan for the future, even as the facts before them told a different story. It is why planning at United Power resulted in Our Cooperative Roadmap, preparing to continue to support our members with a reliable, resilient, and affordable distribution system.

Most of us can remember a time when almost every community had a Blockbuster video store. At its height, there were 9,000 brick and mortar Blockbuster stores. Then, along came Netflix, with a by-mail rental model. Seeing the future of an increasing digital society, Netflix shifted its strategy to online entertainment and moved a step further by creating its own content. Blockbuster’s response to the evolving Netflix model was to eliminate late fees on its DVD and VCR tape rentals. One company thrived and the other is no longer in business.

In the electric utility world, a similar transition is taking place with more of our members adding solar rooftops (nearly 9,000 thus far), home battery storage (110), electric vehicles (5,200), and dozens of other technologies from Alexa to smart thermostats. More than 700 members have added net metering to date in 2022. This is why United Power embraces technologies and is evolving to become a Distribution System Operator (DSO), which will help facilitate the revolution happening across our member base. Becoming a DSO will allow us to work with our members in controlling power and costs. It is why our team of energy experts is available to answer questions in an unbiased and neutral manner, and it is why we continue developing programs that help you manage your energy costs.

I recently had the opportunity to visit with several of our largest members to listen and understand the critical changes they are facing; how their corporate goals now involve environment, social, and governance requirements; and the criticality of reliable power to keep their businesses operating. Their goals align perfectly with those of United Power as we are “Transforming the Future.”

A big part of acting on the changes in the business is our decision to find a new power supply – one that is more cost effective, less carbon intensive, and keeps dollars in our communities. We held our Power Supply Forum on June 7 where we engaged our members in a conversation about the change which will take effect May 1, 2024. Also, as of June 1, we officially became a member of the Southwest Power Pool, which provides energy market services in Colorado and will allow us to eventually use the collective power as a DSO to better manage the cost of power.

In today’s economic environment we are all concerned with the rising cost of everything. As your cooperative, United Power will continue to find ways to lower costs while meeting member needs. We are there for you in offering energy efficiency audits, recommendations on weatherization, advice on adding solar or storage, as well as piloting programs for in-home electric vehicle charging and battery storage. Please contact us for any of your home or business needs. At United Power, we are working hard to be prepared for the changing demands of our members.

We have a great tradition of excellence, and I want every member to feel empowered to reach out to me and the United Power staff at any time. I welcome the opportunity to meet you where you are; do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Have a safe and healthy summer.