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2021: Electric Co-operatives Forge Ahead

By: Dean Dorton | January 19, 2021

As we move through 2021, the landscape is drastically changing for many industries, especially for those who work in energy and natural resources. This article highlights several risks and opportunities that should have electric co-ops on high alert.

Energy & Natural Resources

Key Risks and Opportunities for Electric Co-operatives in 2021:

Cybersecurity and Big Data

Co-operatives need to be proactive in cybersecurity by implementing effective controls to prevent and detect cyber-crime. The increased need to work remotely due to COVID-19 has elevated the importance of secure remote connections.

Power Supply Costs

Management needs to continue to investigate alternative sources of energy, such as wind, solar, biomass, etc., to further diversify power sources as well as work with communities to deploy energy storage and efficiency technologies.

Safety, Including Overtime Management

Safety is a major concern for co-operatives as their employees routinely work in dangerous conditions (i.e. downed power line in a thunderstorm) that, if not taken seriously, can expose the co-operative.

Community and Environmental Responsibility

Electric co-operatives have to balance providing affordable electricity to the communities they serve while protecting those same communities from environmental deterioration. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) programs will become more prevalent by stakeholders.

Succession Planning

As co-operative executives continue to grow older and retire in larger numbers than in the past, there must be a greater emphasis on succession planning and staff development.

COVID-19 Impact

COVID-19 has led to a decline in electricity demand and elevated customer collection concerns Additionally, supply chains have been hampered which has slowed the delivery of key materials, especially those coming from overseas.

Adoption of the New Lease Standard

Co-operatives will need to adopt ASU 2016-02 (Leases) in 2022.

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