10:57 AM

Perspective: Forever Innovative

I never cease to be amazed by how what once was science fiction is now reality. There are examples all around us.

Take debit cards, for instance. Other than the occasional barter, paying with cash was how most people conducted business until just a few decades ago. Looking ahead to a civilization with fewer cash transactions, Edward Bellamy wrote “Looking Backward” way back in 1888. His novel introduced the idea of universal credit with citizens using a card to draw money from a central bank in order to purchase items while no paper money changed hands. The idea was outlandish then, ordinary now.

Another prediction came true in 2010 with the introduction of Apple’s iPad. In 1968, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke wrote in “2001: A Space Odyssey” of a small “newspad” that could be plugged in to “conjure up the world’s major electronic papers.” The marvel Clarke imagined had “its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the postage-stamp-size rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he had finished, he would flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.”

Wow! A full 40 years before the iPad, Clarke had practically drawn the blueprint.

In the electric industry, we’ve seen similar innovative ideas, big notions that seemed impossible when first scribbled on paper. Ever since Thomas Edison perfected the lightbulb and then developed the world’s first central station electric system, the electric industry has experienced continuous evolution. What was imagined as science fiction continues to become reality in this modern world.

At Jackson EMC, we embrace innovative electricity, the new ideas in our industry that lead to better use of resources and improved ways of conducting business. We are forever on the lookout for enhanced technologies that increase reliability while keeping costs down for our 220,000-plus members.

In this edition of JEMCO News, we explore a few of the innovative ideas we are currently exploring or introducing. (See pages 4-5.) For several years we’ve been installing viper switches throughout our system to radically decrease the number of Jackson EMC members affected by power outages. The technology behind this innovation might seem the stuff of science fiction, but what it produces is very real—fewer of you facing the discomfort of doing without power when storms or other events cause damage to the electric system.

Another innovation we’ve been reviewing involves new electric water heaters that work in tandem with our load management system. Last year, we recruited several Jackson EMC families to test this new technology, and now we are studying their findings.

Finally, we continue to explore ways to include solar power in our electricity generation portfolio, and now it’s easier than ever for our members to utilize this renewable energy. By investing in both large- and small-scale solar operations, we can offer our members easy access to affordable and sustainable solar power.

So next time you pull out your cell phone, think back to the first time you saw Captain Kirk use his communicator to tell Scotty to “beam me up.” And, do you remember William Shatner’s speech at the start of each episode of Star Trek? The closing line is “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Part of our vision at Jackson EMC is to be the best, forward-thinking, innovative energy supplier for our members. For all of us at Jackson EMC that means we want to be forever innovative. We’ll boldly go where no utility has gone before and exciting frontiers are ahead.