Delaware Electric co-op reports record reliability in 2022

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Delaware Electric Cooperative reported that 2022 was its most reliable year.

Member-owned Delaware Electric, based in Greenwood, is the second largest electric power provider in Delaware, coveirng rural and suburban areas in Kent and Sussex counties that are not part of Delmarva Power or municipal electric systems. Many areas in its territory have experineced rapid growth, especially in Sussex.

The cooperative reduced the number of outages per member by 20 percent in 2022 when compared to 2021.  On average, co-op employees were able to restore power five minutes faster in 2022, the co-op reported.

“We know that every minute counts when members lose power, and our DEC family has spent decades replacing electrical equipment, upgrading power lines, and installing advanced devices across our distribution system that help to restore power faster. I’m proud of every employee for helping to improve our service to members, and I hope those we power are pleased with the co-op’s performance,” said CEO Rob Book.

In 1994, an ice storm devastated Delaware Electric Cooperative’s system, leaving many members without power for more than a week. Since then, DEC has invested tens of millions of dollars in system improvements that better protect electrical equipment from snow, thunderstorms, high winds, and animals. 

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Delmarva Power experienced similar problems during that period that when combined with deregulation of the utility industry led to the investor-owned company being sold. It is now part of Exelon, the nation’s largest electric utility and has been focused on improving reliability.

Delaware Electric Vice president of operations Jesse Spampinato said aggressive tree trimming played a role in achieving record breaking reliability. “As a coastal state, Delaware experiences a lot of nor’easters and tropical storms. Fallen trees from high winds are the leading cause of outages and each year we spend millions of dollars to keep trees as far from power lines as possible. We still experience outages during severe weather events, but outages would be more extensive if we weren’t taking these important steps.”

Later this year, all co-op substations and circuits will be outfitted with advanced self-healing technology that can sense problems with power lines and equipment, isolate the issues, and restore power to member homes. The upgrades in technology should result in addtional increased reliability for members, a release.

Due to inflatrion and higher natural gas prices, Delaware Electric has raised rates of late, but still has lower rates than other utilities. Profits are returned to members under the cooperative system.

Delmarva has filed for a rate incease with the Delaware Public Service Commission. Delaware Electric and municipal power systems do not have to take rate increases to the PSC.

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