When Washington state’s Mason County Public Utility District 3 decided to upgrade their decades-old utility infrastructure to leverage modern grid technologies, staff knew this required two major elements: the installation of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure solution and the implementation of a robust and fully integrated enterprise-wide software solution to not just instantaneously manage available AMI data, but to also streamline their operations. PUD 3 is one of 28 not-for-profit public utility districts formed in the Evergreen State since the 1930s to provide power to mostly rural communities. PUD 3 started off small –– in 1939 it had only eight customers –– but it has grown exponentially over the past 77 years, and now serves about 33,000 customers across a 600-square-mile area in the southeast corner of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. For PUD 3, an integrated approach to its grid modernization project made sense, but they needed a partner who could help them successfully execute their plans. They found that partner in National Information Solutions Cooperative, with its suite of fully integrated product solutions and services. “We started looking at the need for grid modernization a few years ago,” said PUD 3’s General Manager, Annette Creekpaum. An important element, she said, was the installation of advanced meters to allow two-way communication between the utility and its customers. After an extensive review and discussions with their counterparts at other utilities, PUD 3 management decided to use their own staff to install advanced meters across the utility’s service area, and turn to a single vendor –– NISC –– to provide a complete smart-grid software solution package. Several factors led to the decision, said Creekpaum. Most important, NISC provided PUD 3 with the integration for complete infrastructure and systems management [...]
This summer, NISC’s Engineering and Operations team celebrated a milestone when the 250th Outage Management System (OMS) was implemented at Kootenai Electric Cooperative in Idaho.
Since NISC and its parent companies NCDC or CADP were formed nearly 50 years ago, the CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has never visited a campus of the technology cooperative. That changed Friday, July 17, when NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson visited NISC’s Lake Saint Louis, Mo., location for a day of technology talks and a discussion about the utility industry.
IT Co-op Focused On Leveraging New Technology While Maximizing Existing Solutions Orlando, Fla., February 22, 2015 — At the 2015 Annual Meeting, National Information Solutions Cooperative President and CEO Vern Dosch recognized that the landscape is changing for Members in the industries served by the IT cooperative, electric utilities and telecommunications organizations. By leveraging new technologies, though, NISC understands how Members can stay ahead of industry shifts. "It is great to be here and to be your technology partner. It is an exciting time to see and experience many new innovations and solutions,” said President and CEO Vern Dosch, to the crowd of more than 500 NISC Members and Customers in attendance at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The Chairman of the Board of Directors, John Smith of Pella Cooperative Electric, recognized the accomplishments of NISC’s 2013-2014 fiscal year. "Our commitment lies with our Members, therefore our Members should reap the biggest benefit from the solutions NISC creates. That is why we increased our Member returns by nine percent." The meeting also discussed some of the challenges utilities and telecoms will face in the upcoming years, increased or changing regulations and consumers that are living in more connected homes than ever before. Dosch, along with David Bonnett, Vice President of Marketing and Todd Eisenhauer, Vice President of Engineering and Operations addressed the crowd. The key message from the group was getting the most out of NISC’s suite of solutions to help combat some of the industry challenges through increased customer service, better data access and more efficient analytics. During the meeting, NISC Members ratified several new and newly re-elected members to the Board of Directors: James Mangum: Wake EMC, North Carolina John Smith: [...]
NISC Building Expansion to Begin this Month Lake Saint Louis, Mo., October 7, 2014 — National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), a leading provider of technology solutions to utility and telecommunications organizations worldwide, will officially break ground at the Lake Saint Louis, Mo. location in October. This expansion will accommodate the continual growth of the cooperative and make room for an expanded mailroom facility. "It is with much anticipated excitement that NISC is going to expand our Lake Saint Louis facility. As the company continues to grow, we also are adding new employees—which presses us for space in our current building,” said Jackie Rocha, Manager of Office Services and Facilities at NISC. “Our Automated Mailroom Services division continues to add new accounts and equipment to process our customers monthly billings to their customers which accounts for the 1st floor production expansion. We look forward to completion of this project by early Fall 2015. We can't get it done soon enough." The expansion was marked by speeches given by Vern Dosch, President and CEO of NISC, Harry Barnes, NISC Board of Directors Vice Chairman, and by Kathy Schweikert, City of Lake Saint Louis Mayor. “The City of Lake Saint Louis is excited to have NISC, one of our top employers in the city, expanding their facility with a 44,000 square foot building addition,” said Schweikert. At a time, when many companies are downsizing, NISC is increasing their business and adding jobs. We are happy to share in NISC’s growth!” The event was attended by many NISC Lake Saint Louis employees, members of the community and business leaders. The Lake Saint Louis location, one of four NISC campuses in the United States, has been the Missouri home of [...]
At the annual CFC Forum 2014, Vern Dosch, NISC’s President and CEO, led a panel on cybersecurity which included Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania Governor and the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, and Howard Schmidt, Cybersecurity Coordinator for President Obama from 2009 to 2012. During the presentation, which can be viewed in its entirety on CFC’s website, Dosch tracked the panelists’ recommendations. You can listen to a recap of recommendations and review the panel’s list of actions designed to protect organizations against cyber attacks. Adoption of PCI compliance best practices as it relates to protection of credit card information is critical. Adopt a social engineering policy specifically as part of employee education, and do mandatory education in this area as it relates to social engineering, phishing, Internet look-alikes as well as email hoaxes such as survey and prize scams. Coordination between operations, outside employees and the IT department. Perform annual security audits, and, if possible, aligning the organization with a vendor that can do continuous cyber-monitoring. Consider purchasing cyber insurance. Perform an inventory of the system and work to identify the organization’s vulnerabilities as well as potential high profile targets. Establish a local mobile security strategy as it relates to the organization’s network to address the growth and pervasiveness of mobile devices that are either issued by the organization or belong to the employee.
Utility Bill Pay Service Enters into a LLC; Now Known as Capturis New Name Leverages Strength of Company and Brands Services in a Single Name Mandan, ND, August 7, 2014 — Due to unprecedented growth, National Information Solutions Cooperative has formed a wholly-owned limited liability company for its Utility Bill PaySM service. The LLC will be doing business as Capturis going forward. Capturis, an NISC company, has been providing multi-site utility information management as well as bill processing and payment services to more than 275 clients including Fortune 100 and 500 companies for over the past decade. Capturis employs more than 180 Bismarck-Mandan residents as well as virtual employees from rural communities in North Dakota, Montana, Iowa and Wisconsin. “The growth of the Utility Bill PaySM service since its inception in 2000 is remarkable. We began the service to fill a need in the market for a solid, reputable bill payment and processing company,” said Tracy Porter, CFO of both NISC and Capturis. “Each year our client list would grow dramatically. It was a testament to the accuracy of our data and efficiency of our service.” Capturis realized accounts payable was a necessary function of all companies, big or small. From the mailroom to accounts payable, Capturis has created an effective utility information management process based on prioritizing on a “First Due, First Through” basis. Capturis gathers the necessary energy information needed to make sound business decisions in a powerful, user-friendly database-reporting tool available online. “National companies were dealing with late fees and disconnects due to the volume of utility bills they were receiving each month and the challenges to pay these bills in a timely manner,” said Porter. “Capturis services not only minimized our [...]
South Central Telephone Association (SCTelcom), headquartered in Medicine Lodge, Kan., has selected National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) as its primary software solutions provider.
IT Cooperative Recognizes Successes, Aims for Continued Progress in 2014 Nashville, TN, March 3, 2014 — "NISC has always has been a leader, but now it's recognized around the country as the technology IT cooperative for software," said Michael Miller, President and CEO of Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative, who is retiring from the NISC Board of Directors after 15 years of service. "If (the industries) grow in the next 40 years like they did in the last 40, there's no limit to what can be achieved…it's going to be a whole new world in the coming years for IT." During the 2014 NISC Annual Meeting, Miller, along with Ron Brothen, Director of Northwest Communications Cooperative, reflected via video on how much the utility and telecom industries have evolved during their time on the NISC Board of Directors. NISC Board Chairman Roger Yoder, CEO of Union Rural Electric Cooperative, and NISC President and CEO Vern Dosch picked up where they left off, looking to the future of NISC and the industries it serves. "I believe that NISC's future has never been brighter," Yoder said. "Today, the spirit of innovation and possibility runs deep. With the guidance of the NISC Membership, NISC's staff is ready and excited to develop solutions for the future. Our success is building momentum and our collective ability to tackle the big challenges is growing." Dosch discussed several industry trends, how having a connected household and social media are affecting utilities and telecoms well into the future. He also discussed the critical importance of cyber security and protecting the data that makes these new technologies possible. "This is not your grandfather's co-op anymore," Dosch said. "We're able to leverage technology like never before, [...]
Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), based in Johnson City, TX, has selected National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) as its primary provider of software services to support its operational and member services efforts.