Innovation Through Collaboration!
From MJM President/CEO Laura Cutler and Board Chairman Robert Lehmann
Innovation is best achieved through collaboration. Sharing resources and ideas among many people and organizations has enabled electric cooperatives to focus on current and future challenges in the industry, while maintaining their traditional foundation.
During more than 75 years, your electric cooperative and you, our member-owners, have experienced a seismic change. Everything from setting poles, communicating with you and how technology is used has required your co-op to work collaboratively with other cooperatives, outside entities, and within the changing workforce within our office to provide the best possible service at the best possible price.
Innovative solutions from technology cooperatives are enabling us to provide more effective two-way communication with you than ever before. Through this technology, you can log onto our website and access your accounts when it's convenient for you. You can pay your bill online, view and get a better grasp on your energy use, report service issues and access outage maps, all without directly communicating with the office. Through this system, we can send customized messages to alert you of planned service interruptions and to convey other important information.
Cooperatives are joining forces to create economies of scale. For instance, some Illinois cooperatives share resources such as right-of-way maintenance employees and equipment, and accounting and cyber security employees. During power outages, the Illinois Electric Cooperatives emergency work plan enables Illinois cooperatives to quickly access personnel and equipment from neighboring co-ops to help restore power faster, and send help to cooperatives in other areas of the country during widespread outages.
Generation and transmission cooperatives (G&Ts) are seeking ways to balance their power supply portfolios, while maintaining affordable rates. To achieve this, G&Ts that serve Illinois distribution cooperatives have an ownership stake in the Prairie State Generating Campus in Marissa, the most energy efficient, state-of-the-art coal-fired plant in the country. They have also partnered in solar and wind farms throughout the state and continue to seek innovative ways to diversify their power supply, based on what’s best for their member cooperatives, and you.
Through embracing technology that has been implemented well ahead of many investor-owned utilities, we’ve proven that though we may be small in comparison to other energy providers, we’re mighty. Our workforce now spans five generations. Tapping into the strengths and skills of each generation and working collaboratively ensures that we can serve you even more innovatively for years to come.