As reported a month ago, OPALCO is on the home stretch in its year-long effort to explore the feasibility of expanding our existing fiber-optic network to create a telecommunications infrastructure that would serve San Juan County. The goals of the Initiative are to:
Upgrade our electrical system by adding Smart Grid capabilities that will improve reliability and help members save money on energy costs;
Improve the communication system for local public safety first responders, including OPALCO, Sheriff, Fire, and EMS;
Provide our members with access to high-speed Internet service at speeds of at least 10 Mbps, fostering new opportunities for economic development; and
Create infrastructure that would make it easier for wireless carriers to expand cellular coverage in the County, including 911 service.
OPALCO‘s Board of Directors will review a proposed business plan at the October 19th board meeting in Friday Harbor. A decision to move forward or not is expected before year end; the details of how to move forward, however, would be developed with member feedback and additional public forums in early 2013. As always, co-op members are welcome to attend this OPALCO board meeting. We expect the business planning materials will be posted at www.opalco.com in November.
OPALCO is our cooperative electrical utility serving about 11,000 co-op member-owners on 20 islands in San Juan County. We provide electricity that is 95% greenhouse-gas free and is predominately generated by hydro-electric plants. OPALCO was founded in 1937 to bring electricity to our rural islands.