The theme for this year’s Annual General Meeting was “Raising the Bar” and you might ask, “What is the value of Raising the Bar?”

Well you could go back to the 1940’s when the big corporate power companies declined to invest in rural Alberta’s future. Rural Electrification Associations (REAs), as independent power providers, raised the bar for rural Alberta economic development by raising the poles to bring critical electricity to farms and businesses. Operating as cooperatives, REAs then, and now, provide the benchmark for the true cost of power distribution because we do not make profits for stockholders; we work to generate savings for members.

But that is not the only way we raise the bar.

Operating as a full service power distribution company, we consistently work to improve our quality and standards of service. Battle River Power Coop, like the large corporate utility companies, submits annual statistics to industry oversight bodies like the Alberta

Utilities Commission. We are 100% compliant with our AUC Reliability Standards and our Alberta Safety Council & Occupational Health & Safety Certificate of Recognition Audit is at 99%. The information gleaned from those statistics is used by our management and staff to challenge our operations to be more efficient and effective in providing safe, reliable and affordable power. We raise the bar by listening to, and implementing, innovative ideas put forward by our administrative and field personnel.

We raise the bar through extensive, honest communications with our members and other stakeholders such as county and provincial elected officials and government. We utilize numerous communication channels, including newsletters and social media, to educate and inform our members and others about timely and pertinent topics.

We raise the bar by employing innovative technologies and facilitating interactions for enhanced distribution operations with all entities involved in the industry and in our integrated distribution system, such as the recent map exchange with the other utility provider in our intermingled service area.

But most importantly, we raise the bar because we are here. We are the ‘comparable’; that is the full service, cooperative utility provider that combats the potential creeping monopoly by ‘big for-profit power’ companies. A monopolistic environment is not good for Albertans. Competition, by its very nature, causes organizations to strive to be better – to work harder be the goods or services provider that consumers want to deal with because through competition the bar is raised.

Battle River Power Coop has been raising the bar and delivering safe, reliable, cost effective electricity to its rural Alberta members for 69 years. While we are grounded in tradition, we will continue to be cooperatively owned and community powered – raising the bar for years to come.