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CEO January Message - 2024

01 January 2024

Reliable Power for Today— and Tomorrow

Ringing in a new year sparks a sense of renewed hope and optimism about the future. As the CEO/GM of Hill County Electric (HCE), for me it’s a time to reflect on where we are and where we’re going. At the heart of this reflection, I think about ways we can better serve you, the members of the cooperative. Our team at Hill County Electric is always looking ahead, exploring ways to innovate and utilize new technologies to improve our services. As our nation increasingly relies on electricity to power the economy, keeping the lights on has never been more important. We’re committed to powering— and empowering—our community at a cost local families and businesses can afford.

So how are we working to ensure reliable and affordable power while adapting to a changing energy landscape and our community’s evolving needs? One critical component of reliable power is the mix of energy resources used to generate the electricity that keeps the lights on across our service area. You may not realize it, but HCE doesn’t generate electricity. Instead, we purchase it from our energy provider, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), and Basin Electric. From there, we distribute it to homes and businesses throughout our service area.

We are increasingly using more electricity generated from renewable energy sources, but we still depend on a diverse energy mix to ensure reliable power that’s available to our members whenever they need it. In addition to managing a reliable energy mix, HCE is using technology to enhance our local grid, limit service disruptions and improve outage response times. Advanced metering technology, also known as AMI, enables two-way communication between the co-op and members. In the event of a power outage, AMI data helps pinpoint the exact location of the outage and can even analyze damaged or tampered meters. AMI helps HCE save money with real-time data, and ultimately improves power reliability for our entire community.

HCE offers several bill pay options including: online bill pay, prepaid metering, budget billing and paperless Billing. Energy Assistance is available for HCE members who qualify to receive assistance by applying with the Havre District IV Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) who administers the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP). Learn more. 

One of the best methods for improving our service is monitoring trends and leading practices from other electric co-ops in Montana and across the country. Learning from other co-ops is one of the many benefits of the cooperative business model because it’s about cooperation, not competition. As we turn our focus to 2024, HCE will continue working to provide the reliable, affordable electricity you expect and deserve—for today and tomorrow. Please remember to stay healthy and stay safe!