Three decades of energy infrastructure investments have paid off for Delaware Electric Cooperative. The not-for-profit utility has announced 2022 was its most reliable year ever. Cooperative members are losing power less often and, when the power does go out, DEC employees are restoring service in record time.
DEC reduced the number of outages per member by 20% in 2022 when compared with 2021. On average, Co-op employees were also able to restore power five minutes faster in 2022.
According to DEC President and CEO Rob Book, “We know that every minute counts when members lose power and our DEC family has spent decades replacing electrical equipment, upgrading power lines, and installing advanced devices across our distribution system that help to restore power faster. I’m proud of every employee for helping to improve our service to members and I hope those we power are pleased with the Co-op’s performance.”
In 1994, a historic ice storm devastated Delaware Electric Cooperative’s system, leaving many members without power for more than a week. Since then, DEC has invested tens of millions of dollars in system improvements that better protect electrical equipment from snow, thunderstorms, high winds and wildlife.
Vice President of Operations Jesse Spampinato says aggressive tree trimming has also played a role in achieving record-breaking reliability. “As a coastal state, Delaware experiences a lot of nor’easters and tropical storms. Fallen trees from high winds are a leading cause of outages and each year we spend millions of dollars to keep trees as far from power lines as possible. We still experience outages during severe weather events, but outages would be more extensive if we weren’t taking these important steps.”
Later this year, DEC expects to mark another important milestone: All Co-op substations and circuits will be outfitted with advanced self-healing technology that can sense problems with power lines and equipment, isolate the issues and restore power to member homes. The upgrades in technology should result in increased reliability for members.
–Report by Lauren Irby, Manager of Public Relations & Community Affairs, Delaware Electric Cooperative.