I remember sitting through my 8th grade US history class and learning about Neil Armstrong and his famous words as he became the first person to set foot on the moon. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

That quote came to mind in March when we installed the new supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system onto our electric distribution grid. “That’s one small step for Midwest, one giant leap for our membership.”

For two years now we’ve been upgrading our electric distribution infrastructure with a robust, two-way, fiber communications system. We’re creating a “smarter grid” to power utility solutions into the future. This investment gives us access to information and data, and positions us to deliver the next generation of energy efficiency, safety, and reliability standards and measures.

The new SCADA system is that first step into our future – a small step that will create giants leaps for our members. SCADA is the backbone that provides information allowing us to monitor and control power delivery.  We’ve used SCADA for years, but this new version, working with our enhanced communication system, introduces distribution automation (DA) to your value mix. DA will help us improve reliability with real-time intelligence, allowing automated locating, isolation, and outage restoral of sections of our electric grid. In other words, we can monitor and manage system devices to reduce outages. We can also pinpoint and isolate issues causing short circuits, minimizing the overall impact of an outage.

This investment will result in many utility and member benefits, and we will share some of those relevant stories in future blog entries. This is just the beginning of a story that will continue to unfold as technology evolves. Investments in our system are investments in our membership, and your Utility of the Future is prepared to give you the best options and service available.