Last year was another busy one as we continued to provide our members with quality service while focusing on programs that will help our members and strengthen our grid and communities.
Smart thermostat savings program
Members with a Nest or Ecobee thermostat get paid to allow Piedmont Electric to adjust their thermostat a couple degrees on very hot afternoons in the summer. Members will also receive a $50 initial rebate upon enrollment. At year end, we had 171 members participating in this energy and money saving program.
Text outage notifications
Piedmont Electric began offering a text outage alert program for our members. This program gives members the ability to use their cell phone to report an outage through text and receive restoration updates. At year end, we had more than 2,800 members enrolled.
In 2018 we completed the cable installation for Phase II of our fiber project. This will provide us a high-speed communication path to control equipment in our substations and the field. Also, we communicated the opportunity to partner on expanding broadband in rural areas to elected officials and other key stakeholders.
The fast-moving hurricane brought down trees and powerlines knocking out power for more than 24,000 Piedmont Electric members. Staff worked around the clock in conjunction with crews from other utilities to make sure power was restored to all members.
Strengthening our grid
We deployed several projects to strengthen our electric grid this year. By strengthening our grid we increase our resiliency when extreme weather events occur. Completed projects this year include the transformer upgrades at the Red Mountain and Dixon Store substations in Durham and Person counties.
We have secured more than $10 million in USDA funding within Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Orange and Person counties for fire trucks, fire stations, ambulances, schools and a public library. As these federal funds are repaid a large portion is re-loaned to assist with future projects in our local communities.