Reliable Power for Today and Tomorrow
By Mike Malandro, President & CEO, Choptank Electric Cooperative
Ringing in a new year sparks a sense of renewed hope and optimism about the future. As the President and CEO of Choptank Electric Cooperative, it’s a time for me to reflect on where we are and where we’re going. At the heart of this reflection, I think about ways we can better serve you, the members of the cooperative.
Our team at Choptank Electric is always looking ahead, exploring ways to innovate and utilize new technologies to improve our services. As our nation increasingly relies on electricity to power the economy, keeping the lights on has never been more important. We’re committed to powering – and empowering – our community at a cost local families and businesses can afford.
So how are we working to ensure reliable and affordable power while adapting to a changing energy landscape and our community’s evolving needs?
One critical component of reliable power is the mix of energy resources used to generate the electricity that keeps the lights on across the Eastern Shore. Choptank Electric doesn’t generate electricity; we purchase it from our energy provider, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), and distribute it to homes and businesses throughout our community. Our current energy resource mix through ODEC is made up of 43% purchased power, 36% natural gas, 13% nuclear, 6% purchased renewable power, and 2% coal. ODEC may sell renewable energy credits related to these purchases to their members and nonmembers.
We’re increasingly using more electricity generated from renewable energy sources, but we still depend on a diverse energy mix to ensure reliable power that’s available to our members whenever they need it. In addition to managing a reliable energy mix, Choptank Electric is using technology to enhance our local grid, limit service disruptions and improve outage response times.
Advanced metering technology, also known as AMI, enables two-way communication between the co-op and consumers. In the event of a power outage, AMI helps pinpoint the exact location of the outage and can even analyze damaged or tampered meters. AMI helps Choptank Electric save money with real-time data, and ultimately improves power reliability for our entire community.
Proactive tree trimming is another way we limit service disruptions. Scheduled trimming keeps power lines clear from overgrown limbs that are likely to fall. Choptank Electric also uses thermal imaging cameras to help locate potential problems and fix them before loose connections create outages.
Since 2009, Choptank Electric has offered Renewable Energy Certificates for anyone interested in reducing their carbon footprint and supporting renewable energy. Co-op members may purchase renewable energy in blocks of 100 kWh for solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biodiesel, some fuel cells, and low impact hydropower.
One of the best methods for improving our services to you is monitoring trends and leading practices from other electric co-ops in Maryland and across the country. Learning from other co-ops is one of the many benefits of the cooperative business model because for us, it’s about cooperation, not competition.
As we turn our focus to 2024, Choptank Electric will continue working to provide the reliable, affordable electricity you expect and deserve – for today and tomorrow.