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August 2023 | Volume 85 | Issue 8

PCEC Serving Into The Night

Manager's Report

Co-op Leaders Sound Alarm on Grid Reliability

Dave Deihl PCEC General Manager

Dave Deihl, General Manager / CEO

From the General Manager

Last month, I wrote about ways Platte-Clay is helping ensure our system remains reliable. Strong storms struck the Kansas City metro area hard the evening of July 14. While many area residents experienced power outages, our system performed very well.

With over 26,000 members on our lines, we only suffered 79 outages. And only 34 of these were what we would call extended outages due to two poles having to be replaced east of Excelsior Springs.

Our continued focus on vegetation management along with infrastructure investments have helped ensure we are meeting our commitment of providing reliable and affordable power to our members.

Reliability can never be taken for granted, however. In May, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) released its annual Summer Reliability Assessment and warned that two-thirds of the U.S. could face energy shortfalls during periods of extreme heat this summer. This followed similar warnings prior to last winter.

NERC’s report cited retirements of conventional generation, substantial increases in electricity demand, and an increase in widespread summer heat events as factors contributing to their assessment.

Platte-Clay’s generating partner, Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. (AECI), has resisted retiring conventional “always available” generation sources such as coal plants. And subsequently Missouri electric co-ops have avoided blackouts during past heat waves and winter storms that have caused widespread outages in other parts of the country.

Local Co-op Leader Called To Capitol HillRecently, AECI CEO David Tudor represented co-ops nationally at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on electric system reliability. Tudor’s testimony highlighted the importance of a responsible plan for a widespread rapid transition away from reliable fossil fuel generation.

“Lawmakers must support policies that include all energy sources to maintain reliability and affordability. Rolling blackouts cannot become the new normal,” Tudor said. “It is critical that policymakers recognize the need for adequate time, technology development and new transmission infrastructure before taking our nation down an energy path that prioritizes speed over successfully keeping the lights on.”

It is clear that renewable energy sources are the future of power generation. AECI and PCEC both support the development and use of renewable energies. AECI uses renewable energy sources in its generation portfolio and is always researching and evaluating its energy mix to ensure reliability for its 935,000 members, including PCEC members. But current federal policies and regulations to drastically reduce carbon emissions within a matter of years are threatening the stability of the nation’s electric grid.

The reality is electricity demand is going up as the U.S. economy gets more electrified. And renewable power generation in its current form is not always available to “ramp up” like traditional fossil fuels during times of peak energy demand.

Our industry simply needs more time, transmission and technology to fully harness the capabilities of renewable energy. And rushing its implementation will cause less reliability and affordability for our country.

The other less talked about reality is that as our country makes positive reductions in carbon emissions and wants to rush to remove coal power generation, just last year China permitted over 100 new coal plants along with heavy investments in renewable generation to fortify their energy security. Any positive environmental effects we are creating are easily being erased across the world.

Contact General ManagerI don’t think anyone wants a future where America’s energy grid is less reliable than other world powers. But that’s why this issue is so crucial, and we are nearing a crossroads. We need longterm planning and consistent policies that don’t change with each political party administration.

I encourage you to watch the highlights from Tudor’s testimony. I know our members want and deserve reliability. It’s our mission, and we take it very seriously. We’ll try our best to keep you informed as this issue continues to make headlines. Missouri co-ops are well represented at the national level, and co-op leaders will continue fighting for our members to ensure safe, affordable and reliable power doesn’t become a thing of the past.

Platte-Clay Moments


Five Crucial Energy Efficiency Tips for Hot Days

As temperatures soar during hot summer days, the burst of cool air when you step into your home feels almost as refreshing as diving into a cool lake or pool. At Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, we work hard to keep your energy reliable and affordable. But when it heats up outside, your air conditioner is working overtime to keep you cool inside.

However, there are a few ways you can keep your energy bill in check without breaking a sweat. Check out five ways to stay cool and energy-efficient on hot days.

#1. Mind Your Thermostat
Your thermostat control and air conditioning usage are central to saving energy and lowering your electric bill in the summer. The ideal energy-efficient temperature for your home in the summer is 78 degrees. If this temperature is too warm, try setting your thermostat to your highest comfortable temperature. The closer your home’s temperature is to the temperature outside, the less energy your air conditioning unit has to use. Every degree makes a difference.

#2. Utilize Window Coverings to Reduce Solar Heat Gain
While natural light can reduce your reliance on artificial illumination, direct sunlight through a window can passively heat your house. This effect is known as solar heat gain, and it causes your air conditioner to run more frequently to keep up with the added heat.

To combat this, use your available window coverings, like blinds, shades or curtains, to reduce direct sunlight coming through your windows. Focus on keeping east-facing windows covered in the mornings and west-facing windows covered in the afternoons and evenings. Allow natural light to filter in from other windows that aren’t receiving direct sunlight. For added solar heat gain and ultraviolet exposure protection, you can install a window film or treatment. You can learn more about window treatments and other advanced coverings at www.Energy.gov.

#3. Become a Fan of Fans
Ceiling and standing fans require less power than your home’s air conditioning unit. The windchill effect from a fan can cause you to feel four degrees cooler than you would without it. Just remember that fans cool people, not spaces; so turn them off when you are not in the room. Kitchen and bathroom vent fans can also pull heat and humidity away from your stove or shower.

#4. Minimize Heat-Generating Activities
During the hottest parts of the day, avoid activities that generate excess heat, such as using the oven or stove. Instead, choose to cook outdoors on your grill or skillet or prepare meals that require minimal cooking. You could also use small appliances like toasters, air fryers and slow cookers. They use less energy and generate less heat in your kitchen. This is especially helpful if your thermostat is near your kitchen area. Additionally, limit the use of heatgenerating appliances like clothes dryers or dishwashers to cooler hours.

#5. Upgrade Your Home for Maximum Energy Savings
If you’ve been in your home for several years, you may need a professional energy audit. An energy auditor looks over your home to see where it is losing energy. After the assessment is complete, you can fix any weak points, which can save money on your electric bill.

PCEC consumer-members can sign up to have an energy auditor do a thorough review of their energy usage and home energy efficiency for $50. After members complete at least 50 percent of the recommended improvements outlined by the co-op within six months of the audit, they may be eligible for a rebate of up to 50% or $750 in matching dollars for improvements with the audit fee being returned.

Common weak points include:

  • Your insulation – If your attic insulation is old, it may be letting conditioned air out. Adding insulation can help maintain the temperature of your home.
  • Your air conditioning units or system – If your air conditioning system is 15 years old or more, it may be time to replace it. New energy-efficient central AC units can be anywhere from 20-50 percent more efficient than older models.
  • Windows and doors – If your windows and doors are leaking air and can’t be fixed with caulk or weatherstripping, replace them with the ENERGY STAR® label equivalent.

In The News

Member Appreciation Events Return This Fall

Upcoming Member Events

Last year’s popular member appreciation events will return this fall with more opportunities for delicious food and fellowship. Mark your calendars now to join PCEC staff at the events. The events are open to all members and food will be served while supplies last. We hope you and your family can make it to one or all of the events!

PCEC Linemen Provide Aid to Neighboring Co-op After Storm

PCEC Linemen Provide Aid to Neighboring Co-op After Storm

Platte-Clay sent several crews to Maryville to assist United Electric Cooperative, Inc. with restoration efforts after storms hit Nodaway and Gentry counties on the morning of June 29.

United had 1,600 members lose power and over 76 broken poles that had to be replaced.

United has provided mutual aid to PCEC after storm damage in the past, and cooperatives are always ready to support one another in times of need.

Cooperation among cooperatives is one of the guiding principles. The principles are a key reason why America’s electric cooperatives operate differently from other electric utilities, putting the needs of our members first.

Energy Efficiency Tip

Easy Ways to Reduce Your Energy Usage

Washing Machine IconYour laundry room is a great place to start. Wash clothes with cold water, which can cut one load’s energy use by more than half. Your washing machine will use the same amount of energy no matter the size of the clothes load, so fill it up when you can. When drying clothes, separate the heavier cottons. Loads will dry faster and more evenly if you separate heavier cottons like linens and towels from your lightweight clothing.

Source: energy.gov

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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.