To Heartland members served by our Devon, Urbana, and Greenbush substations:
As a distribution co-op, Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative is generally not in the business of generating power. Instead, we purchase power from wholesale suppliers, use our substations to transform that power to voltages appropriate for home and business use, and then deliver it to members through our distribution lines.
The rise of distributed generation technologies such as home solar has brought exciting new opportunities for the cooperative and its members to save money by generating power locally and reducing how much we have to buy, but it has also created new challenges. One challenge is related to our contract with our power supplier, KEPCo. Simply put, no matter how much power we generate locally, we cannot push it back onto the transmission grid without extremely expensive upgrades to ensure the safety of the bulk electric grid could be maintained.
That means that within any given substation, at any given time, the total amount of locally generated power cannot exceed the total demand for electricity among all of the members connected to that substation. To feed excess power back onto the transmission system would pose a significant safety concern and place us in violation of our contracts.
At three of our substations – Devon, Greenbush, and Urbana – we have reached a point where local generation is in danger of exceeding local demand. That means we must issue a moratorium on new solar and wind interconnections for members served by those substations, effective immediately.
Do be aware that members on those substations can still choose to install home solar but cannot feed excess power back to the distribution system. Any power generated would have to be used immediately or stored on the premises.
We understand that many of you have expressed interest in solar, and we share your enthusiasm for the financial and environmental benefits of this technology. But given the restrictions imposed by our power supplier, we have no choice but to impose these limitations.
We will keep you updated on any developments and progress regarding the expansion of our local generation capacity. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Thank you for your cooperation and continued support as we work together to navigate this time of great change in the electric industry. We remain committed to powering rural lifestyles in eastern Kansas.