Innovation is key in progressing any business or industry, and ours in not any different. Imagine a day when every pole has a device that can detect if it is about to fail, or systems that can self-heal the grid, and minimize outages when a storm does occur. Imagine a day when the technology you install can cut your power bill by a third, or when technology can be installed to allow more efficient use of the grid, saving everyone money.
We are constantly engaged in research to keep an innovative edge in providing your power. Innovation comes with trade-offs, and for a product as critical as electricity, we do not enter into any technology without fully testing and understanding the reliability, economic, environmental, and cyber risks. Just because we can do something, does not always mean we should do something, or do something immediately. We continue to utilize technological advancements to improve reliability, energy and grid efficiency, and lessen our impact on the environment, however, we are not always seen as progressive or as swift in adoption of some of these things due to the vast amount of research we do with the risks outlined above. Our primary focus is to keep the lights on with the most economically priced product as practical.
We continue to work with national partners, such as General Electric, Google, and Tesla, to find new solutions to make lives better. We also work with our National Laboratories to research solutions to industry challenges. We continue to work with the Department of Energy on critical issues, such as cyber security. Most importantly, we come together with each other, much like we did when we were formed 75 plus years ago, to solve challenges with keeping the lights on in rural Nebraska.
We have a strong strategic focus on protecting the grid from cyber attacks. Cyber issues are a real threat to America, not just the grid, and by bringing the proper attention to it, and developing the proper cultures and tools, we are staying ahead of the threats. Recently, several rural providers in Western Nebraska applied for and received a Department of Energy and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association grant, to come together and develop tools to help small and medium sized utilities protect themselves from cyber attacks. This will be an ongoing focus for us, and our hope is it will yield a very robust and innovative solution to this challenge, not only for us, but for the industry.
Every change we make is done to reduce a risk and improve our system. By reducing risk, it does not mean it goes away, it just means we lessen the risk and need to continue to improve and innovate. We will continue to work hard for you, to bring you a cost effective and reliable critical product.
General Manager Wheat Belt PPD