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April 2023 | Volume 85 | Issue 4

Capital Credits To Be Refunded To Members In May

Capital Credits To Be Refunded To Members In May

This year, Platte-Clay Electric will return $3.5 million of capital credits to consumer-members. Capital credits will be applied to members’ bills using the auto-apply system beginning in May. Members will be notified of the amount they are being refunded on their bills as well as in a separate letter from the co-op in the mail.

Automatically applying the capital credits to members’ bills allows for credits to be accessed quicker and reduces the possibility of check fraud from stolen mail.

Three Point Five Million Capital Credits Refunded This YearCapital credits are one of the many benefits of cooperative membership. As a co-op consumer-member, you share in the profits of the company. The longer you use the service, the more monetary equity you accumulate.

The actual credit amount each consumer-member receives is determined by the cooperative Board of Directors and is usually a percentage of your total allocation amount from a previous year of service. By refunding only a portion at a time, the co-op is able to maintain a stable financial structure.

If you are a consumer-member and have plans to move out of the co-op’s service area, make sure our office has your social security number and a forwarding address. This will allow us to send you the prior year allocation statement notifying you of your entitled amount and a check when the allocation comes due.

If you have questions please contact us at (816) 628-3121 or by email at memberservice@pcec.coop.

Manager's Report

Sustaining A Reliable Electric System

PCEC uses common sense approach to energy transition

Dave Deihl PCEC General Manager

Dave Deihl, General Manager

From the General Manager

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This popular adage is often used in conversation or a story when someone is about to do something foolish or risky. If they heed this advice, it means they did not commit to “one basket,” but instead hedged their bets with multiple options.

This strategy is how I describe Platte-Clay’s common-sense approach to the current energy transition. We know that consumer interest in renewable energy continues to grow.

Recent innovations and advances in renewable energy technologies have led to sharp decreases in costs, making renewables more feasible, accessible and scalable. Over the last few years, our generation provider, Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. (AECI), has adjusted our fuel mix by utilizing more renewables, and today, 13% of our fuel mix is comprised of wind energy. An additional 4% is hydroelectric energy, which is 100% clean power, however, it isn’t classified as a renewable power source.

Nationally, there is increasing reliance on renewable energy sources at the same time that we’re seeing fossil fuel plants taken offline, often ahead of schedule. Additionally, we’re seeing more pressure on the electric grid due to the increasing frequency and intensity of severe weather events and rising electricity demand.

Contact General ManagerCOMPETING PRESSURES
So how do we reconcile these challenges of grid pressure and a changing fuel mix? Solar and wind energy are certainly beneficial for the environment, but they are limited resources because the sun does not always shine, and the wind does not always blow. Our primary responsibility is to provide electricity 24/7 to you and our community. To do this, we need reliable sources of power that will meet all the peaks and valleys of ondemand energy in our connected world.

So where are we netting out? That’s where our familiar adage comes into play. While utilization of renewables is increasing, we still Ineed to incorporate other forms of energy, such as coal and natural gas, in the mix to ensure reliable service. Remember, solar and wind are intermittent power sources.

That’s why we spread our eggs into multiple baskets. There is great value in maintaining a diverse mix of fuel sources––fossil fuels and renewables to ensure reliability, resiliency and meet the growing demand for electricity.

Associated Electrics Overall Resource MixReliability also means repairing and replacing utility equipment to prevent wearand- tear, ensuring our equipment can withstand severe weather. We are laser-focused on providing our consumer-members with reliable, affordable energy. That’s why fuel diversity––or placing our eggs in multiple baskets––is essential to reliability.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Lowering the overall carbon footprint in this country means we’re going to electrify more and more of our economy. Solar and wind power are an important part of a broader energy portfolio, but they are not available 24/7. In today’s ever-connected world, people need power around the clock.

As our nation increasingly depends on electricity to power the economy, Platte-Clay is working alongside AECI to anticipate, plan and respond to market trends and policy shifts. That’s how we can power your home and our economy, while continuing to serve as your local energy provider.

Platte-Clay Moments Heading

Platte-Clay Moments 1

1. PCEC sponsored the March Smithville Chamber of Commerce meeting and provided a safety demonstration.

Platte-Clay Moments 2

2. PCEC Journeyman Linemen Mike Bigus shows off the tools of the trade to 7th grade students at the Platte County Middle School career day. 3. PCEC Marketing and Community Relations Coordinator Amanda McQuerrey reads to 4th graders at Lawson’s Southwest Elementary as part of Read Across America Day on March 3. 4. Students at Smithville Middle School try on lineman gloves at their career day March 21.

Sparking A Conversation Q And A With PCEC Foreman Tom Hale

Q. HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR PLATTE-CLAY?
A. I started in 1990 as an intern as summer help. And I got the job on my birthday, June 3 of 1991. So I’ve been here going on my 32nd year full time.

Q. WHAT HAS MADE YOU WORK AT PLATTE-CLAY SO LONG?
A. Being in a co-op is really rewarding, and I love being able to help people. And I like the co-op where the members are the ones we serve. I really enjoy that and working out here in the rural area.

Q. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING A LINEMAN?
A. My favorite part is being able to meet with the people, and getting their power restored. I know I don’t like being without lights, and it’s very rewarding to get people’s power back on.

Q. WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF THE JOB?
A. Well I don’t think about that too much. Getting older and older, I guess getting up and getting to work is about the hardest part. The benefits outweigh the negative things that happen in the job, like the weather and the temperatures.

Q. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF AS A LINEMEN?
A. I am really proud of being in a brotherhood with all the other linemen that I get to work with. When we get on storm assistance, I like being part of the lineman title nationwide and being part of that group.

Q. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU HAVE SEEN OVER YOUR TIME IN THE INDUSTRY?
A. Safety. When I first came to work here I can’t believe that we didn’t have as many accidents as we could have had by the way we worked. We actually just didn’t know the risks we were taking back then. Now, we have better equipment, better tools. It makes the job a lot easier. It can prolong our lives and joints and everything. When I first came to work here none of the service trucks had buckets on them. We had to climb everything. Our climbing gear now has safety devices where we can’t really fall off a pole. In the early days we did fall off poles every once in a while and it was pretty dangerous. There are so many other things that can happen to you besides the electricity part.

Q. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE SO CLOSE TO HIGH VOLTAGE LINES?
A. We work around 7,200 volts, which is lower voltage compared to some linemen. I have been energized up to 345,000 volts in a test facility for transmission lines. That kind of voltage runs through your whole body. The electrons are running all over your body and all the hair on your arms and legs are sticking straight out and your whole body is humming. But 7,200 is equally as dangerous and every voltage can damage or kill you. Being around it now, I feel more calm and not as anxious anymore. Because I know what I’m supposed to do and how to stay at one potential at all times to stay safe.

Lineworker Appreciation DayQ. DO YOU HAVE A STORY THAT STANDS OUT FROM THE FIELD?
A. Oh, there’s too many to even go through. One time, going out on a storm, there was a lady that was very excited we were there to fix the power. And she said, “When you guys get the power on, I’m going to bake you guys a plate a cookies.” And my foreman I was with at the time said, “You know, that’s a coincidence, cause we can’t actually get your power on until you give us a plate of cookies.” I’ve always remembered that one.

Q. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO WITH THE REST OF YOUR CAREER?
A. Actually, with being here so long I still don’t know everything about the job. There is always so much to learn every single day. It doesn’t matter if you’re with a guy that just started, you can always learn a new way, a safer way, or perspective of seeing things. I am always amazed by that.

Energy Spotlight

Efficiency Upgrades To Help You Save This Year

Spring and summer are opportune times for home upgrades and DIY projects. If you’re planning to make improvements to your home, consider upgrades that promote better efficiency.

Here are a few projects that can help you save energy and money––and increase the comfort of your home.

Installing a smart thermostat is one of the simplest ways to manage home energy use and keep summer bills in check. Smart thermostats are easy to install and allow you to control your heating and cooling system from your phone. You can purchase an ENERGY STAR®-certified smart thermostat for as low as $100, which can save you 8% on annual heating and cooling costs, about $50 per year. This upgrade will quickly pay for itself, and you’ll gain insight into better ways to heat and cool your home.

Efficiency Upgrades To Help You Save This Year

Sealing air leaks around your home is a simple, effective way to save energy and lower your bills.

Speaking of smart, additional devices like smart LED bulbs also offer convenient control and help boost energy savings at home. With smart lighting, you can set a schedule for when and how your lights should be turned on or off. And the next time you head out to run errands and realize you left the lights on, all you have to do is turn them off through your phone. Smart lights come in a variety of shapes, colors and brightness levels––and you can purchase bulbs for indoor or outdoor use. Schedule outdoor smart lights to illuminate your home at night and when you’re out of town for better security.

While it’s not as trendy as incorporating smart technologies, sealing air leaks around your home is a simple, effective way to save energy and lower your bills. Applying new (or replacing old) weather stripping around doors and windows can instantly make your home more comfortable and reduce energy waste. Applying caulk to fill gaps can also improve the seal of your home. Caulk can be applied to a variety of areas, including windows, doors, bathtubs and sinks.

If your home feels too warm during summer (and too chilly during winter) even after you’ve sealed with weather stripping and caulk, your home may need additional insulation. Insulation is considered a more expensive efficiency upgrade; however, if your home is underinsulated, additional insulation can make a big impact on reducing energy use and costs. The cost of new insulation depends on a variety of factors like materials, size of the home and whether you use a contractor. Typically, the project costs can be recouped in a few years and your home will immediately feel more comfortable.

Of course, there are additional efficiency upgrades that can make a big impact on energy use, like replacing old appliances with ENERGY-STAR® models or replacing old, leaky windows with new, energy efficient windows. But these upgrades can be a bit pricey.

If you’re wanting to make your home more energy efficient but you’re not sure where to start, your best bet is to enlist the help of an expert to conduct an energy audit of your home. An energy audit can easily identify areas to boost efficiency, and then you can determine the projects you want to tackle first based on your budget and needs.

We can help with energy audits
Consumer-members can sign up to have an Energy Use Specialist do a thorough review of their energy usage and home energy efficiency for a minimal fee. Learn more at www.pcec.coop/energy/energy-audits/

Storm Safety Kit

2023 Membership Election

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The Northland Connection is published monthly by Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, Inc., 1000 W. 92 Highway, Kearney, MO 64060. Postmaster: Please send address changes to: Northland Connection, PO Box 100, Kearney, MO 64060 or mail@pcec.coop.

Platte-Clay is an equal opportunity employer.