OPALCO manages miles of transmission and distribution power cables as well as fiber-optic lines that form our grid communication infrastructure. Grid control describes how we manage the electric (and fiber) grid, as well as the two-way communications needed in this digital age. Modernization describes the work being done to give our grid intelligence and automation.

In 2016, OPALCO Board member, Vincent Dauciunas, addressed the membership to provide a brief overview of the importance of modernizing our utility grid. He stressed three points in particular:

  1. Modernization lets us get more out of the existing grid that has historically been one-way energy transmission
  2. Lets us integrate local renewables as the grid incorporates two-way energy and information flow
  3. Gives users new ways to manage their energy usage, for example, more control over when they use energy

When the first strands of fiber were laid as part of improved infrastructure management back in 2001, many of the connected devices were only imagined, and today we are seeing them in place to help us manage energy use, control power switching, and more and more to help manage demand. There’s so much more to come. View the talk given at the 2016 Annual Meeting. Or read along with a reprint of the Dauciunas talk from the 2016 Annual Meeting.

We all benefit from the grid as the modern technologies help keep operational costs down and provide monitoring and control of our far-flung utility system.This same communications grid provides the backbone for Internet services that OPALCO sells access to at a cost to Rock Island Communications, as well as other communications enterprises.