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March 2023 | Volume 85 | Issue 3

Championship Team

In The News

PCEC Receives Recognition From Local School District

PCEC Receives Recognition From Local School District

Nearly 400 people gathered at the Abbot Feb. 8 in Kansas City, Mo. for the Real World Learning event. Photo courtesy Real World Learning

The Smithville School District recognized Platte-Clay as their 2023 Business Partner Champion at an event hosted by Real World Learning on Feb. 8.

Real World Learning is a Kansas City initiative with support from the Kauffman Foundation that works to prepare our region, students, and employers for the future. Through immersive experiences like projects and internships with leading business partners in our region, students get a head start on achieving their career goals. Real World Learning actively supports over 30 districts and over 80,000 students in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Carol Noecker, the Real World Learning & Community Partnership Facilitator for the Smithville School District, has enjoyed partnering with PCEC to support their district students through this initiative.

“Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative never hesitates to support us and our students in our RWL efforts,” Noecker said. “They are passionate about providing opportunities that will help our students be successful, and their entire organization is a dream to work with. We are so appreciative of their partnership.”

View the full list of event honorees and learn more about the Real World Learning initiative.

Co-op Leaders Advocate For Members At State Legislative Conference

Co-op Leaders Advocate For Members At State Legislative Conference

Left to right: Rep. Josh Hurlbert, Rep. Sean Pouche, PCEC General Manager/CEO Dave Deihl, Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer and Rep. Chris Lonsdale.

Around 150 electric cooperative directors, staff and grassroots advocates descended on the Missouri Capitol Jan. 30-31 for the annual State Legislative Conference hosted by the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. The event gives Missouri’s electric cooperatives an opportunity to meet one on one with elected officials to help them understand the issues that affect our goal of supplying reliable and affordable electricity to members.

“This was a great opportunity to meet with important decision-makers at the state level who shape policy that affects our consumer-members,” Deihl said. “Co-ops provide an essential service to so many Missourians. We have to ensure our ability to continue to provide safe and reliable electricity to our members.”

During the conference those gathered heard from Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who praised the electric cooperatives for their work.

“I know how important this organization is and what it does for the people of the state of Missouri,” Bailey said. “I don’t know what I would do without good energy at an affordable price in rural Missouri. That is critical to the people that I know and love. This organization is absolutely essential and a critical piece of our infrastructure in Missouri.”

The issues shared with the legislators included grid reliability, rural broadband deployment, sales tax exemptions for some electric distribution and transmission costs and electric cooperative governance.

Manager's Report

Winter Storm Puts Our Co-op System To The Test

Dave Deihl PCEC General Manager

Dave Deihl, General Manager

From the General Manager

On Thursday, Feb. 9, we experienced our worst snowfall event of the winter. For electric distribution utilities, our biggest adversaries are wet snow and ice. And we experienced both that day. This type of weather ends up putting our whole system and team to the test.

Outages began occurring on our system just before 5 a.m. Our crews were ready and began tackling service restoration throughout our service area.

In total, we had 55 outages that day impacting 790 member accounts. Most of the outages ended up occurring west of Smithville Lake. Power was restored by 1:30 p.m. to the last of the members impacted by the storm. Looking at the numbers, 96.88% of our membership were unaffected by outages.

What we see as the primary causes of outages ends up being the weight of ice and snow accumulation. It can cause trees and limbs to fall onto lines, and it can even cause lines to sag onto trees that are normally far enough away to avoid problems. Another common problem is when a line sags onto another line, which can also cause blinks and outages.

Winter Storm Puts Our Co-op System To The Test

A winter storm produced widespread outages across the service area on Feb. 9 2023.

Obviously, we would prefer zero outages, but I was pleased with our preparedness and overall performance during this storm. I’ve enjoyed reading all of the positive feedback, as well, from members on our social media. Our cooperative has invested heavily in updating and maintaining our system over the last several decades. We take great pride in having one of the best maintained and technologically advanced systems in the area.

Our cooperative has invested heavily in updating and maintaining our system over the last several decades. We take great pride in having one of the best maintained and technologically advanced systems in the area.

Another source of success has been our continued commitment to right of way management and proactive tree trimming. We spend a lot of resources in these areas, and it pays off on days like this.

I have to also give credit to our staff. From our Dispatch team, to linemen, to member services — our whole staff rose to the occasion. It takes all of us doing our jobs each day to meet challenges. And with the collaboration of our team, I know we can handle anything.

Email PCEC General ManagerNo matter the day, our goal is for that light to come on when you flip that switch. Sure, things can happen outside of our control, but we’ll be here ready and willing to help when the time calls for it.

The focus of my tenure has been prioritizing our core business. We want to provide the best reliability, the best member service experience, and help support our local communities. When we do these things well our co-op thrives.

As this winter comes to a close and a new season begins, we’re proud to serve you and your family, and we’ll keep working to get better everywhere we can.

Linemen Take On All Challenges

Linemen Take On All Challenges

A line went down over a 700-foot-wide pond near Trimble that required the use of a boat to restore service. The boat belonged to Journeyman Lineman Seth Henry, who was safely able to carry the fallen line back across the pond where it could be reinstalled. For anyone wondering, he did have a life jacket on board under the seat. Although we have used a boat to assist with various work in the past, this was the first winter outage in memory that has required working in water.

At a separate outage near Trimble, a large tree fell down over Highway O and got into the line on the opposite side of the highway. Although the tree was far from the line, when a large tree falls, it can fall out of the area we normally clear, which is 30 feet on either side of the line.

Future Rates Below State and National Averages

Board President’s Column

Kendall Davis

Kendall Davis
Board President

I’m very proud of our cooperative’s track record of being able to offer affordable and reliable energy to the communities we serve. We’ve only had to raise rates two times in my last 10 years on the Board. The last increase was in 2016, and there’s a whole heck of lot of things that have happened in the world since then that have increased the costs of everything around us.

At the December Board of Directors meeting, Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative’s leadership presented their annual budget report and financial forecast to the Board. Inflation has been on the rise for a while now, and our cooperative has fortunately been able to absorb the costs without impacting rates. Continued increases in wholesale power and operations costs have finally forced our hand.

As co-op consumer-members, each of the board members pay the same rates as you. When faced with the prospect of an increase, no one on the Board wants to have to go that direction. But our role requires us to act on the best interests of the cooperative and ensure we maintain a balanced budget.

Average Prices For Residential Electricity

After analyzing all of the data with management, we determined a 7.5% increase in overall revenue is necessary to maintain responsible financial health for the cooperative. I have taken a look at how we compare on rates, and with this increase we will still be below the average rate in Missouri.

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average residential rate per kilowatt-hour in Missouri in November of 2022 was 11.94 cents per kWh. Our cooperative’s average residential rate is currently sitting at 11.03 cents per kWh based on average usage. Projections with the increase would put it roughly at 11.85 cents, still below average, even with rates anticipated to rise further across the country this year.

I feel even more encouraged when looking around at our neighboring states that our cooperative’s three-tiered system places us in an enviable position. In Kansas, the average rate is 14.64 cents per kWh. In Iowa 12.49, Oklahoma is 12.46 respectively, and in Illinois it is an eye-popping 17.27 cents per kWh. The nationwide average rate is 15.6 cents.

The new rates will help keep us in a strong position of providing reliable power. This change will not go into effect until your November bill. I feel like we have made a sound decision based on all the data at our disposal. We’ve done our best to ensure we can meet the needs of the cooperative without overcharging members. I am confident our cooperative is one of the best around, and we will continue to offer safe, affordable and reliable power along with the excellent member satisfaction we have all come to expect at Platte-Clay.

Safety First

Stay Safe Outside This Spring

Outdoor activities kick off in a big way this month. We want you to stay safe no matter what gets you outside.

Look up before using that ladder.
Check to see if power lines are nearby and pick a different spot if they are.

Digging? Call Missouri One Call first.
It’s the law and also a good idea. You never know what might be buried under your yard — but they do! It’s as easy as calling 811 or by visiting www.missouri-811.org.

Ready for yard work?
Before you connect a cord for outdoor chores, make sure it’s plugged into a GFCI outlet.

Service Spotlight Surge Protection

Follow Platte-Clay On Social Media

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.