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Firelands Electric Cooperative breaks ground on new all-in-one facility

• Oct 30, 2017 at 3:00 PM

NEW LONDON — Firelands Electric Cooperative held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for the construction of a new facility.

The organization currently operates from three separate buildings. The cooperative’s existing office building has major structural damage that would be costly to repair. Firelands Electric’s board and management exercised due diligence by researching costs to maintain and repair their present deteriorating facilities, versus building a new structure that would incorporate all of the co-op’s needs.

Consolidation to a single facility that will enable the not-for-profit electric distribution co-op to enhance communication, streamline member services and to implement operational and technological efficiencies, co-op officials said.

“The transition from a scattered-site system to a centralized facility will allow Firelands Electric Co-op to better serve our nearly 9,100 members,” General Manager April Bordas said. “The new building is an investment in both our future and in the community, and is reflective of the comprehensive strength and financial health of the cooperative. If our service area grows, so too will our ability to expand and offer enhanced services to our members.”

The co-op’s board appointed a building committee — made up of Bordas, Board President Dan McNaull, District 1 Trustee Dan Schloemer, District 5 Trustee Carl Ayers, Director of Member Services and Communications Andrea Gravenhorst and Line Superintendent Don Englet — to analyze, oversee, and approve the initiative.

The decision to move forward with a new facility was followed by Firelands’ May 2017 acquisition of 15 acres of land in New London, less than a mile from the cooperative’s existing campus. Monroeville-based firm Janotta & Herner has been selected to construct the building. The property will incorporate a community solar project, which will be available as a generation resource to Firelands Electric members.

The project’s cost estimate has not been announced. At this time, Janotta-Herner is finalizing its bidding process and Firelands Electric Co-op’s board of trustees are planning to release financial details sometime in January or February, Gravenhorst said.

Firelands Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Partner, is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility serving more than 9,000 homes and businesses in rural areas of Ashland, Huron, Lorain and Richland counties, and ranks among the highest energy utilities in the country for customer satisfaction.

For more information about Firelands Electric Cooperative, visit www.FirelandsEC.com.

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