Another year has come and gone and as we enter 2016, many of us will make New Year’s Resolutions, hoping to make positive changes. The New Year represents a blank slate. However, for many, once we get a few weeks into the New Year, those resolutions are quickly forgotten. We get caught up in the business of life and forget about the big changes we wanted to make or simply don’t make time for them.

Whether or not you believe in making New Year’s Resolutions, I would challenge you to the following in 2016. These are simple resolutions we all should be able to keep throughout the New Year.

  1. Stay educated. The electric utility industry consists of many moving parts, all of which affect our daily business in one way or another. From regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to cybersecurity to reliability, it is important to stay educated on these topics to anticipate changes and ensure your utility is prepared. Taking a few moments each morning to read about the latest developments can also help you when communicating to the public. The American Public Power Association does an excellent job writing their Public Power Daily newsletter. If you don’t receive this each morning in your Inbox, I encourage you to sign up today at publicpower.org.
  2. Be an active voice. It is not enough to only be educated on the issues affecting our industry. Next, take a stance on one of those issues you feel is most important. Write a letter to your elected officials explaining your position. At Heartland, we advocate on our customers’ behalf. But the more voices they hear, the more powerful the message. Increased regulation is only one concern of ours. While it is an important one, there are many issues that affect our way of doing business. Keep an eye on legislation affecting our industry and take a stance.
  3. Take advantage. Heartland offers a variety of customer service programs for your utility’s benefit. If you haven’t applied for an energy efficiency or economic development grant in the past, I challenge you to look into a project in 2016. Our energy efficiency grants awarded in 2015 helped 14 customers achieve savings of nearly $25,000 per year. Our economic development grant program helped customers improve infrastructure and provide resources to attract new businesses to their communities. These are valuable programs designed to help you and I would like for all of our customers to realize their benefits.

These are not big resolutions, but ones I think can help us all do our jobs a little better. Our industry is constantly changing. It is imperative to stay up to date on those changes, voice our concerns and take advantage of the programs designed to bring us benefits.

Here’s wishing you all a blessed and happy New Year!