Islands' Sounder


OPALCO’s next chapter | Guest column

April 18, 2013 · Updated 11:33 AM

by Bob Myhr

OPALCO board member

These are exciting and challenging times for OPALCO.

We have celebrated our 75th Anniversary and our success in building a member-owned cooperative to meet our electrical needs in San Juan County. OPALCO consistently rates at the top of the co-op world for our safety record, system reliability, financial strength, and innovative approach to solving problems.

The time has come to focus our attention on the next 75 years: the future of our co-op and the legacy we will leave to our children. As our region’s hydro-electric resources begin to reach capacity, energy is less abundant and more expensive than in the past. This presents a new challenge for continued success and new opportunities to engage our membership in energy savings and conservation that will help keep our rates down.

We will continue to use and further develop utility smart grid technologies that help us to be more efficient – but the greatest factor going forward will be increased member understanding of energy usage and changes to our household and business practices in how we manage our energy loads.

With each new challenge we face, we will approach solutions together as a co-op. Our purpose is, as it has been since the beginning, to empower ourselves to improve the quality of our lives.

To create this next chapter of OPALCO’s story, we need your help. What is your vision for the future of our co-op? What are your major concerns? What would you like our co-op to look like 10 years from now?

Part of that picture is our modern communications challenge: how to support our communities with a better, faster, more robust flow of information and data. How can OPALCO best meet this challenge?

We have devoted serious study to the options and drafted the Broadband Initiative plan for member consideration. In this rapidly changing world, we must stay on top of a complex equation of technical, organizational and environmental concerns to keep the co-op – and our communities – healthy and strong. As we continue to refine the plan, please share your input and feedback and help shape the way forward. Broad member support is required for the broadband project to be realized.

OPALCO is always investigating partnerships that may be of benefit to our co-op. By far, the most important partnership is with you, our members. We are here to serve you. Now is the time to create a cohesive vision for the next chapter of OPALCO’s long story, and we want to hear from you.

Please join us on Saturday, May 4 as we get on the ferry for OPALCO’s 76th annual meeting.

Our theme is “The Next Chapter,” and we invite you to bring your ideas, your concerns, and your brightest vision to add into the mix for our future development.

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