WINCHESTER — In 2011, East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) began implementing a focused strategic plan to carry the organization forward in the midst of turbulent change in the electric utility industry, the cooperative’s leaders said Tuesday.
Speaking at EKPC’s annual meeting at the co-op’s headquarters in Winchester, Board Chairman Paul Hawkins said the development and implementation of a new strategic plan by EKPC’s Board of Directors has refocused and rejuvenated the organization.
“The strategic plan was EKPC’s crowning achievement last year,” Hawkins said. “The strategic plan has intensified our focus on EKPC’s core mission of serving our owner-member cooperatives by safely delivering reliable, affordable energy and related services.”
To implement the plan, he noted, EKPC has developed 18 business plans with 91 separate initiatives, each with a set of metrics to measure progress toward success.
President & CEO Anthony “Tony” Campbell noted that other cooperatives around the nation are taking a close look at EKPC and its strategic plan.
“EKPC’s strategic plan has had immediate positive impacts,” Campbell said. “It is a road map to excellence.”
The plan identifies safety as one of five organizational values. In 2011, EKPC recorded its lowest ever tally of lost-time safety incidents.
“This is a remarkable achievement for EKPC’s employees,” Campbell said. “It’s especially rewarding because safety is our number one priority. Nothing is more important than our employees working safely and returning home to their families.”
Financial integrity is a key area of EKPC’s strategic plan. Over the past year, the co-op achieved several milestones, including a first-ever investment-grade credit rating. Focusing on cost controls, the co-op continued steady progress toward its goal of achieving 15 percent equity-to-assets ratio by 2015.
Like other utilities dependent on fossil fuels, EKPC continues to plan and position its electric-generating resources for compliance with pending federal regulations. The co-op is wrapping up a major project to retrofit coal-fueled Cooper Unit #2 with emissions-control equipment. Including this project, EKPC has invested nearly $1.75 billion over the past decade in new clean-coal generating units and in retrofits of older units.
To optimize future plant operations, EKPC is seeking regulatory approvals to integrate its system into PJM Interconnection. The proposed move offers several benefits, including reduced reserve requirements and access to an established market to buy and sell surplus power.
EKPC is re-emphasizing its focus on economic development with the hiring of Rodney Hitch as economic development manager. He is working with local and state officials to promote jobs and investment in Kentucky.
EKPC continues to grow new leaders within the organization. This spring, the co-op began implementing a new leadership development program, called “A Brand New Day: Learning In A Brand New Way.”
Hawkins noted that the Board of Directors continues to implement measures to improve governance, including a new committee structure, new qualification requirements for directors and ongoing review of Board policies.