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In 2010, Central Rural Electric Cooperative sponsored Smart Energy Source Field Days to demonstrate to the Stillwater community concepts being developed for the partner- ship. The event included tours of CREC member-owned alternative energy projects, such as a solar panel array. Courtesy photo/CREC


SMART ENERGY Continued from page 6


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As a single utility, we don’t have the re- sources to evaluate, test and utilize these emerging technologies, but in a partner- ship, we reach a critical mass that allows us to use innovations quicker.” Blankenship sees economic benefi ts not only for the partners, but for their custom- ers, too. Awareness of the benefi ts of en- ergy management, especially among com- mercial and industrial users, is feeding a growing demand for those services. “Offering commercial and industrial customers real-time data about their ener- gy consumption can result in cost savings for them,” said Blankenship. “When you have information, you can make educated decisions about how and when to use elec- tricity.”


An energy management software ap- plication developed by CREC in collabo- ration with OSU offers many coopera- tive members access to that information. CREC members use the MySource Meter app to view their monthly and even daily energy use. The partnership plans to make MySource Meter available to Stillwater customers soon.


In September, the boards of the Still- water Utilities Authority, CREC and C.H. Guernsey signed agreements to join the collaboration. OSU is reviewing the busi- ness plan and is expected to consider its commitment to the venture soon. Once all partners offi cially sign on, the fi rst order of


10 OKLAHOMA LIVING


business is organizing a board of directors, which will consider services and business initiatives Smart Energy Source will begin to implement next year.


An important part of the process has been a public education effort known as Building Our Energy Future Together. The campaign asks consumers to “Join the Journey” to fi nding smarter energy so- lutions. Information is available at www. BuildingOurEnergyFutureTogether.com. Another goal is to impact energy policy discussions, and the partners are doing just that by meeting with state officials and Stillwater-area elected representatives about the collaboration’s development. A common observation made at many of these meetings is the urgency of the need for public and private organizations to work together, rather than compete, to solve problems.


“We have to think differently about how we do things, so I’m excited about this model,” said Dana Murphy, chair of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, at a recent Smart Energy Source update. “There is so much pressure on the rate base because of rising costs. We have to fi nd new ways of doing things and sharing services could be one way to do that.”


For the Smart Energy Source partner- ship, 2012 will be a pivotal year as concepts and ideas are hammered into projects and initiatives. Following three years of devel- opment, the Smart Energy Source vision has crystalized into true benefi ts for con- sumers and the community. OL


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