2020 showed more than ever how critical reliable energy is. When the pandemic caused fear and worry, and many areas of the country were hit with devastating storms and wildfires, utility cooperatives stepped up as essential service providers to demonstrate their commitment to community. We are proud to congratulate the 18 NISC Members who were named among J.D. Power’s 2020 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. It was clear, authentic communication with end-users and compassion through acts such as halting disconnects that showcased a true dedication to service and favorable rankings among members and customers. “These satisfaction scores are evidence that kindness and being a good corporate citizen during challenging times is worth all the effort and communication that goes with it,” said John Hazen, managing director of utilities intelligence at J.D. Power. “The challenge will come in 2021 as electric utility providers go back to business as usual and continue collections and shut-offs. The way to maintain higher satisfaction will be to continue to communicate when these changes will occur and provide excellent service.” At NISC, we share that same passion for service excellence in the work we do for our Members. We’re proud to support them in their goals and look forward to continuing to be a partner to them as our industries evolve. Congratulations to NISC Member Sawnee EMC for ranking no. 1 in the cooperatives segment, and to all of our Members who made the list: Sawnee EMCSECO EnergyJackson EMCCoServSLEMCOCobb EMCRappahannock Electric CooperativeEnergyUnitedGreat Lakes EnergyMiddle Tennessee EMCClay Electric CooperativePedernales ElectricLee County Electric CooperativeWithlacoochee River Electric CooperativeConnexus EnergyIntermountain Rural Electric Assoc.South Central PowerDEMCO Click here to learn more about the study and to view the full list of awardees.
NISC’s Distributed Engineering Workstation software (DEW) was featured in a paper in Energies, an open access journal of scientific research, technology development, engineering policy and management covering energy supply, conversion, dispatch and final use. The paper, primarily authored by National Renewable Energy Laboratory personnel and coauthored by NISC Senior Product Line Manager Robert Broadwater, focuses on the benefits of differing technologies in analyzing today’s complex energy grid, from generation to the end consumer. The paper’s authors compared different ways to analyze the complex grid using various tools currently available in the industry and from the U.S. Department of Energy. One tool considered was the DEW approach of an Integrated Systems Model. The authors conclude that the technologies leveraged within the DEW architecture produces the most accurate results and, as demonstrated by examples, calculates the results quicker. Read the paper at: Integrated Transmission and Distribution System Modeling of Power Systems: State-of-the-Art and Future Research Directions. Learn more about DEW and the Integrated Systems Model at edd-us.com.
Electrical Distribution Design (EDD), an NISC company, has a history of providing analysis tools needed for adapting to the changing electric energy landscape. Continuing that history of innovation, EDD is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy in a project that will create a cyberattack-resistant, more efficient and more stable U.S. electrical grid powered by renewable energy. Additional project partners in this effort are Florida State University, University of Delaware and Virginia Tech. The three-year project is named the Faster-than-Real-Time Simulation with Demonstration for Resilient Distributed Energy Resource Integration. The targeted outcome—development of a Measurement and Model Integrator for Ensuring Grid Security (M2IEGS) system. According to NISC Senior Product Line Manager Robert Broadwater, the ongoing transition to a renewable-based electric grid brings increasing generation uncertainty involving large numbers of distributed generators, and dependence on increased communications. This will require real-time irradiance, wind and other weather measurements, along with defenses against cyberattacks and system instabilities. “The M2IEGS system enables detection of grid abnormalities and coordinates voltage control and grid stability in real time,” Broadwater said. “Well placed real-time measurements and renewable generation forecasting will provide clarity on grid operation, and for the first time ever, operators will be able to holistically monitor the system from transmission through secondary distribution, detecting and reacting to instabilities and abnormal events.” The M2IEGS software is being developed and lab tested in 2021-2022, according to Broadwater, and be tested in the field throughout the second half of 2022. To learn more about the project, visit edd-us.com/m2iegs.
Broadband service demand continues to grow at a rapid pace across the country. There has also been an explosion of WiFi connected devices including mobile devices, smart appliances, voice control, multi-media and gaming platforms, security and more. As service delivery and assurance has become increasingly more complex, there has been a growing need to manage services all the way to the connected devices themselves. There is power in integration. And NISC along with their strategic partners have collaborated to leverage valuable end-user data to enable Members to more effectively market their services with better targeting based on subscriber insights, which in turn increases the average revenue per user. Multi-channel marketing campaigns have been developed to enable Members to address up-sell opportunities while enabling vastly improved subscriber experience. Managed Device Up-Sell :: Leverages subscriber and inventory data to target subscribers who are deploying non-managed customer premise equipmentManaged WiFi Up-Sell :: Leverages subscriber WiFi service entitlement data to target subscribers who are not subscribed to Managed WiFi ServicesWiFi Mesh Device Up-Sell :: Leverages the connected device signal strength data to target subscribers who have poor WiFi coverage and can benefit from additional WiFi access points to improve their experienceService Tier Up-Sell :: Leverages data from service bandwidth reporting to target subscribers consuming 100% of their bandwidth who could benefit from a higher tier NISC delivers solutions that provide the valuable tools you need to operate your broadband service at peak efficiency and provide true customer care and support. Click here to learn more.
When exploring options for an Auto Configuration Server (ACS) device and WiFi management solution, it is critical to consider all elements that deliver true value. Weight should be placed on finding a technology solution that supports your vision. But how does one justify the price tag beyond the promised functionality? Vendor IndependenceThe first and foremost criteria should be to find a solution designed to support any device that implements the Broadband Forum TR-069 standards. The ACS should integrate with a large number of device types from different vendors, allowing for the broadest set of device choices to reduce supply chain risk and provide negotiating power when selecting customer premises equipment (CPE) vendors. Covering a full complement of WAN technologies ensures the solution is designed for any and all broadband providers. SecurityYou will want a solution that ensures maximum security from the carrier data center to the ACS, which is critical for cloud deployments. Ensure the technology has a protocol in place to analyze every device to determine whether it can support the level of transport security necessary to protect device communications. A solution that truly supports a strong cybersecurity strategy will offer a secure device proxy for customers who have legacy-managed devices the industry no longer considers secure. Providing this level of security gives the carrier peace of mind that their customers’ home networks are safe. IntegrationWhile there are a number of competitors in the market today, scope of integration should be a deciding factor in determining which solution best serves your needs. Ideally, a solution should talk to your customer care and billing as well as engineering and operations systems to promote peak operational efficiency and effectively communicate across your organization through automation. Integration breeds automation – and it is core to best serve staff from the front office to the field to ensure the highest level of customer service and satisfaction. Total Cost of OwnershipEnsure you find a [...]
Emotions will be swirling for Bridger Anderson in the moments before his first run at the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). It’s safe to say the same will be true for his mother and biggest fan, NISC Sales Manager Robin Anderson. Bridger, 22, has qualified to compete in steer wrestling (aka bulldogging) at the NFR, which will run from Dec. 3-12 in Arlington, Texas. The NFR, which will be broadcast live on RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel, is the season-ending championship event for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and is widely acknowledged to be the world’s premier rodeo. The NFR consists of 10 rounds on 10 consecutive days, with each round providing Bridger an opportunity to add to his 2020 money earnings. At the end of each NFR, two champions are crowned in each event: the finals champion, which is whoever won the NFR with the best cumulative time or score for that event over the 10 rounds, and the world champion, who finished the year with the most money. Robin and the rest of the Anderson family will be in the stands, and have supported Bridger’s bulldogging dreams since he first declared his rodeoing intentions at age 3. Tears welled up in Robin’s eyes as she reflected on her son’s accomplishment. “You want the best for your kids, and to see him work so hard on this goal from such a young age—it’s pretty amazing, and we couldn’t be more proud of him.” Watch this NISC Spotlight video capturing some of Bridger’s final preparations for the NFR, a rundown of the journey that has led him to this point, and some of the people who have helped him along the way: NISC Spotlight: [...]
Electing board directors is an important process for NISC Members. More importantly, ensuring your customers can vote, and vote safely is critical. Since 2016, NISC Members have been able to provide online balloting through SmartHub via the web, helping to simplify the director election process. Now, this process has become even easier. Through a partnership with Diamond Communication Solutions, an OSG company, NISC Members will have the ability to allow their members and customers to vote not only through the web, but through the SmartHub app on their mobile device. “This is something our Members have been requesting, and something that has become an even higher priority this year,” said David Bonnett, NISC vice president of product management. “Nothing in 2020 has been conventional, and many of our Members have had to shift more of their business virtual, and that includes conducting director elections. With our Diamond partnership, our Members will be able to simplify that process even more and add additional efficiency for their customers.” Providing an online voting component is not only convenient, but essential. Many NISC Members have moved to fully online or even drive-in Annual Meetings, and having an online voting component can help increase participation by simplifying the balloting process while keeping it secure. “We are excited to partner with NISC and its Members," said Dan Tobin, Senior Vice President of OSG. "Diamond has demonstrated a proven track record in the Trustee Election Management Services space over the last 10 years. Since Diamond was recently acquired by OSG, we can offer maximum value by leveraging technology and improving efficiencies that enable NISC Members to thrive."
Among the most visible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are its immediate threat to lives and livelihoods. In the background, however, is another serious result of the pandemic—food insecurity. According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, there are 37 million people—11 million of them children—struggling with hunger in the midst of the pandemic. Effects of food insecurity can include serious health complications, damage to children’s ability to learn and grow, and some older citizens on fixed incomes forced to decide between paying for food or health care. In April, NISC pledged support for Feeding America by inviting employees to donate to Feeding America or purchase “Work From Home” gear, with a portion of proceeds going to the hunger-relief organization. NISC chose to continue its support for combating food insecurity via the Co-op Strong initiative during THRIVE ’20, a virtual learning event for NISC Members taking place Oct. 13-14. “Feeding America is such an inspiration and true example of thriving despite challenging times,” said Susan Imm, NISC vice president of Sales and Marketing. THRIVE attendees have the option to donate or purchase THRIVE T-shirts, with proceeds going to Feeding America. Shirts can be ordered on the THRIVE Co-op Strong web page. When completing the order, be sure to select “Continue As Guest.” The opportunity to order a shirt in support of Feeding America will be available leading up to and throughout THRIVE. “Thank you for your support. We can’t do our work without contributions from individuals and corporations, so we are deeply grateful for the funds you’re raising. It’s really a critical time,” said Lauren Biedron, Feeding America vice president of corporate sponsorships. Hear from Biedron about how you can help make a [...]
The auction is nearing, but it is imperative your vision goes beyond the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) deadline. Successful broadband projects are not happenstance. You need enterprise technology to capitalize and optimize. Best of breed IT solutions won’t cut it. Silos of information impede efficiency. A completely integrated enterprise solution should be the backbone of your broadband project – and the heart of customer satisfaction. With seamless workflows from customer care and marketing to operations and government regulations, it is core to have an enterprise system in place supported by a true technology partner. The time is now to take action. The time is now to partner with NISC. Click here to put your auction plans into action!
Welcome to episode 7 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode we’re speaking with Charlie Cano, CEO of ETEX Telephone Cooperative in Gilmer, Texas. ETEX was formed in 1952 to meet the communication needs of people living in rural northeast Texas. In their more than 60 years in business, ETEX has grown into a company covering a service territory of 710 square miles and providing service to over 12,600 members and customers. In this episode, Charlie shares how ETEX put processes in place to ensure the safety of their employees and customers during the pandemic as well as how their partnership with local schools in their community is helping with virtual learning. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.