Rappahannock Electric Cooperative Discusses Fiber Deployment

Rappahannock Electric

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, or REC, is a local utility that provides electricity services to more than 100,000 customers in Louisa County, Virginia. REC also maintains over 12,000 miles of power lines. Services include free water heater repair, customer support services, electrical safety programs, outdoor lighting, individual outage notification, and energy auditing. In addition, the company offers electronic equipment made by HomeGuard.

REC serves nearly 170,000 connections

The Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, founded in 1980, provides electricity to almost 170,000 accounts across 22 counties. The cooperative serves customers in parts of Albemarle County, Caroline County, Clarke, Essex County, Faquier, Goochland, and Rockingham County. The company’s services are not limited to the local area; its service area includes all of southwestern Virginia.

The REC’s Chief Strategy, Technology, and Innovation Officer, Dr. Peter Muhoro, is also Vice President and General Manager of RE Communications, a wholly-owned subsidiary of REC. He oversees long-term technology strategies, the development of new member services, and business planning. He is a veteran electric utility executive with more than 15 years of experience. A member of the board of directors, Dr. Muhoro brings a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to the REC.

The REC owns the fiber network and will serve customers throughout its four-county service area. Firefly will manage the construction and maintenance of the fiber network. Its partnership with the REC will enhance the reliability and resiliency of its electrical system and modernize the grid. Meanwhile, Dominion Energy has been expanding fiber across the state, and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative leases Dominion Energy’s electric service area.

REC is based in Louisa County

Bringing broadband to rural areas has been a persistent problem in the United States. Recently, the Louisa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved earmarking $15 million for the fiber deployment project. This money will be used to prepare for construction and cover project-related expenses. Once completed, REC will own most of the county’s fiber network and provide the use of infrastructure to its members. The initial phases of the project are scheduled to begin in early 2021.

A recent announcement by the REC is promising. The partnership will allow the county to reap the benefits of fiber broadband across the county. A fiber network will improve resiliency and reliability, modernize the grid, and deliver advanced energy solutions to its customers. Dominion Energy is also building fiber in rural areas. By partnering with REC, the company will be able to reduce broadband deployment costs for internet service providers in the area.

The Betty J. Queen Intergenerational Center, a facility managed by Louisa County Parks and Recreation, features various rooms for social gatherings. The center is also equipped with a walking trail that wraps around the playground and the Health Department. The Center is open to all citizens of Louisa County and is situated at the North Creek Reservoir. For more information, visit the Louisa County website or call (804) 444-7722.

The REC continues to define the order of work in Louisa County. Authorized contractors from Pike Engineering are currently working on the Shannon Hill area. After this, they will move to the Mt. Hope substation in the eastern portion of the county. This project is scheduled to last six to eight months. The project will include the addition of fiber optic cable to all electric facilities. The construction process will be completed in phases.

REC uses firm load dispatch technology to reduce wholesale power costs

REC, a utility in Virginia, relies on EnergyHub Mercury DERMS for its demand response program. The utility has been using EnergyHub’s Firm Load Dispatch technology since 2016. REC’s Joyce Bodoh, Government Affairs and Demand Response Administrator, discusses the utility’s use of Firm Load Dispatch technology to reduce wholesale power costs and opt-outs during demand response events.

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