Broadbanding Together: How Standby Generators Provide Reliability

Cooperatives are committed to their members, co-op principles and communities.

Cooperative membership embodies the true spirit of what makes a rural community so beautiful.
“It is a source of pride to be both pro-business and committed to small

town values at the same time,” says Jessica Parr, manager of communications for Community Electric Cooperative.
As the world around us shifts to more sophisticated and complex infrastructure needs, electric cooperatives do not shy away from the opportunity to grow, invest, and look out for their residents and their ability to continue to enjoy life, no matter what is happening to a key service — even an essential service like electricity.

Recently, Prince George Electric Cooperative’s broadband subsidiary, RURALBAND, recognized an area that needed immediate attention: 10 substations powered by PGEC around the service territory needed backup generators to support the growing broadband network.

A standby generator is a back-up electrical system that operates automatically. When a power outage occurs, an automatic transfer switch senses the power outage and triggers the generator to start and then transfer the electric load to the generator. Within seconds, the generator can supply power to the substation electronics for RURALBAND services. Once power is restored, the automatic transfer switch then transfers the electric load back to the utility and shuts down the generator. In this case, RECORE (CEC’s subsidiary), was able to provide the generators installed, which are specifically designed to serve as backup power for PGEC’s broadband network.
“They asked if there was anything that RECORE could do to help make it happen in a pretty quick manner,” says Glen Presson, director of operations for RECORE. As a certified Briggs & Stratton and Generac dealer, RECORE has the expertise and equipment to handle this specific PGEC project.

RECORE was established by CEC in 2001 to serve the membership better by focusing on a particular service niche —municipalities, commercial and industrial clients, distribution utilities, and government agencies, specializing in standby emergency power generation.

Electric cooperatives help each other all the time. Storm response and emergency situations aren’t the only time they come together. It is in the spirit of working together in times outside of emergencies that relationships between CEC’s entities really have an opportunity to shine. This structure allows CEC to better fulfill its mission of providing reliable, affordable electric service to its members, while also branching out into new markets that create additional revenue streams and further serve its members’ needs. It also extends a cooperative’s ability to assist other local electric cooperatives in need of a specific expertise.

Sarat Yellepeddi, chief operating officer at PGEC, knew he found the perfect solution with RECORE as a key partner to RURALBAND. “We were assured that RECORE could make the project come to fruition in a reasonably short amount of time. The pricing was right, so we engaged them in this project aimed at ensuring additional reliability on the electronic side of our substations,” says Yellepeddi.

It was the perfect partnership between two cooperative subsidiaries. RECORE installed Briggs & Stratton 20-kilowatt Fortress standby generators at 10 of PGEC’s substations located in Prince George, Sussex, Dinwiddie and Surry counties. RECORE is a Briggs & Stratton Diamond Dealer and the only certified distributor in eastern Virginia. They have a current supply of whole-home generators, ready for member-owners to purchase. “Electric cooperatives around the country have mutual-aid agreements, so that we can call on each other for assistance during major power outages,” explains Presson. “That’s what most members think of when you mention Cooperation Among Cooperatives. But we just took that concept a step further, from the cooperative level to the subsidiary level.

We helped their subsidiary through our subsidiary … all in the cooperative spirit.”
“Our members truly need this [broadband] service … so to enhance the reliability part of it, RURALBAND and RECORE worked together to solve the problem even when there is an electrical outage,” says Yellepeddi.
A word of caution from Yellepeddi is that the generators are only one piece to a two-pronged solution. Member-owners still need power through a personal home generator or backup battery to have communications abilities during utility and broadband outages.

“We cannot solve that part of it. But what we can solve is doing our part to ensure that our substation electronics are up and running all the time,” he says. The banding together of cooperative entities is not an unusual thing. It happens all the time, Yellepeddi says. “Co-op family is co-op family; everyone helps each other.”

If you are interested in getting a whole home generator, contact RECORE at info@recore.energy and use code RBR10 for special pricing and membership benefits.