Yellow Warbler, near Salmon Lake

2018 – A Year In Review

Posted: January 1, 2019
Mark Hayden
Mark Hayden

Looking back on the highlights of the past year, one has to start at the very beginning. While most people were ringing in 2018, many of the dedicated employees of Missoula Electric Cooperative (MEC) were working tirelessly to restore power lost during a record winter storm. Over the next few days, our ability to respond to this major outage would be tested. I want to thank those impacted for their patience, our neighbors for coming to our aid, and our employees for a job well done! Our year, however, was not defined by the New Year’s storm, but instead by the tremendous amount of work accomplished in a variety of arenas.

AMI Meter installation

2018 marked the completion of a major three-year project that called for the installation of new meters and equipment at every substation and metering point to replace the obsolete TURTLE system. The new TWACS system uses the same powerline carrier technology and is employed by cooperatives across the country. The benefits of the upgraded system include faster reporting, improved outage detection and seamless integration with our Smarthub payment system.

MEC Solarshare K3 Garden

We are always looking for creative ways to deliver value to our members. In 2018, this manifested as a partnership with Kettlehouse Brewing to generate locally-sourced renewable energy at their new Bonner location. Following the tremendous success of our community solar installations in Lolo and Frenchtown, MEC Solarshare K3 Garden was constructed atop Kettlehouse Brewery. It is a 189-panel array that delivers energy savings to participating members. This array differs from the first two, because it couples renewable energy with FREE beer! For $650, members can purchase the output of a K3 panel which automatically enrolls them in the “Renew-A-Mug Club” and entitles them to a complimentary mug and one free beer per day at the K3 Taproom for up to 25 years. If you are interested in participating in community solar, there has never been a better time to invest!

2018 comes to a close with the retirement of four key employees. Thank you to Bart Peterson, Debbie Gaffney, Louie Miles and Dave Romsa. The knowledge, dedication and commitment you brought to our organization will be greatly missed.

In 2019 our goal remains unchanged; to deliver on our commitment of service excellence while providing safe, affordable and reliable electricity, offering innovative energy solutions and supporting the communities we serve. Thank you to our dedicated employees for your commitment to MEC and for always working smart and safe. Finally, thanks to our members for your continued support. Here’s to a new year and new possibilities!