Merger to Benefit Co-op Tech

Remember the old commercial where the Remington CEO said he was so impressed with the product that he bought the company?

ERMCO displayed the TIGER Pad Transformer at the 2017 TechAdvantage expo. (Photo By: Michael W. Kahn)

ERMCO displayed the TIGER Pad Transformer at the 2017 TechAdvantage expo. (Photo By: Michael W. Kahn)

That's pretty much what happened with an electric cooperative subsidiary and the manufacturer of a device that's helping revolutionize transformers.

For several months, ERMCO, part of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, has been making the Total Integrated Grid Energy Router (TIGER) Pad transformer. The TIGER Pad—developed with co-op input—simultaneously manages voltage and power factor, right at the transformer.

On June 19, ERMCO announced it is acquiring GridBridge, the Raleigh, North Carolina-based firm that came up with the Grid Energy Router.

Bill Reffert, ERMCO president and CEO, noted that the Grid Energy Router has proven it can solve problems that his customers need help with.

"Equally attractive is that their product pipeline and power electronics expertise enables us to continue to support customers over time as they seek to manage distributed generation and storage, while also improving efficiency and reliability," added Reffert.

Chad Eckhardt, GridBridge CEO, called ERMCO "the perfect partner."

"As a combined entity, with access to ERMCO's manufacturing capability, financial resources and market expertise, we can scale quickly to deliver a wider set of solutions to our customers," said Eckhardt, who will hold the title of GridBridge president when the company becomes an ERMCO subsidiary.

In developing the Grid Energy Router, GridBridge sought input from NRECA's Business and Technology Strategies unit. BTS, in turn, brought a group of co-ops into the development process.

BTS is also impressed with what GridBridge is doing.

"We have conducted field trials of the GridBridge technology at multiple co-ops and in each case the system has exceeded expectations," said Brian Sloboda, BTS program and product line manager. 

"The addition of communications, voltage optimization and power quality correction makes the combination of the ERMCO transformer and the GridBridge power electronics a new product that can help co-ops meet a variety of member needs."