How Cass County Electric Cooperative Is Staying Reliable And Affordable

Written by: Brady Drake

Cass County Electric Cooperative knows that its consumer-members need reliable power. That’s why they’re using everything from drones to mobile apps to advanced meter technology, keeping the lights on for the more than 52,000 accounts they serve every single day.

In 2018, Cass County Electric was number one in the nation in terms of reliability among Cooperatives of the same size. Cass County Electric Cooperative CEO, Marshal Albright, says that that’s no coincidence.

“We focus on and invest in our power distribution system, making sure that it’s designed so when there’s an outage, we can get the power restored as quickly and as safely as we can,” said Albright.

Power outages happen, and it’s impossible to prevent every single one. That’s why Cass County Electric has some of its substations equipped with automated switches so that an outage can be managed from their power control center and back-fed from a different direction.

“In the past, we had to go out and troubleshoot an outage manually, checking the system pole by pole. Today, technology helps us locate the issue so we can restore power safer and faster,” said Albright.

Cass County Electric also utilizes automated switches for critical members such as some of the hospitals they serve. These switches work on a two-way power feed so that if power is disrupted on one, the power is immediately switched to the other, minimizing the outage time to a flicker of the lights.

Smart switches are just one technological advancement that Cass County Electric is using to keep its affordable power reliable. They focus on maintaining the electric grid to provide maximum reliability and recently added another UAV (drone) to their fleet to inspect overhead power lines and other electrical equipment. When partnered with their advanced metering infrastructure for outage detection, specialty equipment used in stormy conditions to restore power faster, and their dedicated line crew whose passion is safety its easy to see why reliability is so vital to the cooperative.

If all of that isn’t enough to make you appreciate Cass County Electric, the capital credits that the company offers its members should be. Because Cass County Electric is a cooperative, they pay back money to their members over time. This year alone, Cass County Electric will return $2 million to their consumer-members. And, with the cooperative not having to raise rates for running the cooperative in over a decade, more returns are sure to follow.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.