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Advanced Technology Enhances Electric Service

It’s a new school year and students and teachers are getting ready for a fresh year of learning!

From kindergarten through college, students attend school to gain knowledge about a broad variety of subjects and learn new skills that will prepare them for the future. Teachers provide that knowledge along with a welcoming environment for learning.

In a similar vein, Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative is continually learning in order to advance technology that improves electric service, reliability, safety and in turn, enhances quality of life for the members we serve in our local communities throughout our 10 county service territory.

We keep abreast of industry trends because the energy sector is rapidly changing. Innovations in technology and energy types are fueling demand for more options. On the member front, people are looking for more ways to manage their energy use with smart technologies. Members expect more convenient payment methods – whether through automatic bill pay, pre-pay, online or in person.

At Eastern Illini, we’re working to help sift through the options for our members in ways that benefit the greater community. At the same time, we never lose sight of the top priority–which is to provide safe and reliable electricity.

Technology improves efficiency at EIEC

For example, automated meter reading (AMR) is the technology of automatically collecting energy consumption data and transferring it from the electric meter to the co-op. Because this information can be collected remotely, it enhances our system’s efficiency, helps control costs and improves work processes.

Similar to AMR, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is an integrated system
of smart meters, communications networks and data management systems that enables two-way communication between utilities and consumers. In the event of an outage, AMI helps to distinguish between events that impact a single home or multiple outages. This is critical because resolving either issue is a very different process. The two-way communication is integral to AMI because it provides a means to verify that power has been restored after an outage. However, one of the biggest benefits from improved technologies, especially for outages caused by extreme weather is pinpointing the outage location, which helps to reduce risk for crews.

In addition to providing essential information during major outages, Eastern Illini analyzes AMI data for anomalies including faults, damaged meters or energy theft. Detecting these problems early helps our cooperative save money and improve reliability for the whole community.

Member’s interest in renewables is at an all-time high. Nationally, the increasing use of solar energy is paving the way for new methods of generating and using electricity. U.S. energy experts say we won’t be able to meet national energy goals without solar. That’s why we continue to research how best to adjust our energy mix and explore emerging technologies for members.

At Eastern Illini, our “school year” is never over. We continue to learn from our members about their priorities, and we will continue to research the issues so that we can better serve you, now and in the future.