Northland Connection March 2024


Managers Report 2024

Current Energy Policies Create Unknown Road Ahead

Dave Deihl PCEC General Manager And CEOIn February, electric co-op leaders around the state headed to the state capital in Jefferson City to meet with legislators. This is part of an annual event where we get the opportunity to advocate on your behalf the importance of the cooperative model and ensure elected officials understand the important issues impacting the electric power industry and rural Missourians.

At the event, I was able to meet with state leaders Rep. Chris Brown, Rep. Josh Hurlbert, Rep. Sean Pouche, Rep. Doug Richey and Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer. I enjoyed sharing with them the benefits of our cooperative model and about the challenges facing our industry.

The key issues we discussed with legislators included strengthening grid reliability and the passage of sales tax exemptions related to electric distribution and transmission. Grid reliability remains a primary concern as current energy policies are forcing the early retirement of fossil fuel plants across the country.

“We need to have policies in place that are friendly to what we currently use to generate the power families rely on. We can’t shut down what is working until we have something in place that is proven.”

The problem with this is that right now we don’t have an answer for new generation to replace the always available power that fossil fuels create. There is talk of things like small capsule nuclear, or even hydrogen power being the next big thing and maybe it will be, maybe it won’t. But that simply won’t be available until at least the next decade.

We know wind and solar aren’t the answer because they only provide intermittent power, and there aren’t enough batteries out there to store the amount of power needed by electric providers across the country.

The current administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are pursuing sweeping new regulations that would force the premature closing of fossil fuel plants, and there is nothing to replace it with. That’s a big problem.

I want to be clear that we aren’t against new technology or environmental stewardship. PCEC’s generation partner Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AECI) has already invested millions of dollars over the last three decades to add renewables like wind generation and improve air quality on existing plants, reducing nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions.

But we need to have policies in place that are friendly to what we currently use to generate the power families rely on. We can’t shut down what is working until we have something in place that is proven. Our energy needs continue to grow and peak demand is steadily rising. As it continues to go up, we have to plan where it will come from — either by purchasing it on the market, adding new generation or reducing consumption. These are the only options.

It’s simply going to take more time, technology and transmission to get where we need to be. Time to plan and build new infrastructure; new technologies to emerge to generate electricity; and more transmission lines to carry the increased power loads across the country.

The transmission grid works fine until we get into extreme weather conditions, and then it is like rush hour traffic. The grid struggles to handle the overwhelming demand. You can only push so much out through those wires. Just like I-35 at 5 o’clock, you’re going to slow down.

I think our state leaders are realistic to the needs. And we have the support of our local political leaders on reliability. They understand that it is important. The biggest thing is that we don’t have a solution. It’s vital we continue being able to operate fossil fuel generation plants until we reach one.

We encourage you to talk with your elected officials as well. Let them know that reliability and affordability are important to you.

We are so divided in this country politically that every four years we can’t keep turning our energy policies around. We can’t head this direction, and then in four years turn back and go the other direction. We are a big ship. It takes a lot of money and a long time to move.

Today’s energy decisions and policies will determine if there are enough resources to meet tomorrow’s energy needs. Electric coops will continue advocating for our members to ensure a reliable supply of electricity continues to power our everyday life.

Dave Deihl Signature


Energy Spotlight Header

Diverse Fuel Mix


Prepare For Spring With These Energy-Saving Tips


1. SERVICE YOUR AIR CONDITIONER.
Easy maintenance such as routinely replacing or cleaning air filters can lower your cooling system’s energy consumption by up to 15 percent. Also, the first day of April could serve as a reminder to check your air conditioner’s evaporator coil, which should be cleaned annually to ensure the system is performing at optimal levels.

2. OPEN WINDOWS. Opening windows creates a crosswise breeze, allowing you to naturally cool your home without switching on air conditioners. This is an ideal tactic in spring when temperatures are mild.

3. SWITCH ON BATHROOM FANS. Bathroom fans suck out heat and humidity from your home, improving comfort.

4. COOK OUTSIDE. On warmer spring days, keep the heat out of your home by using an outdoor grill instead of indoor ovens.

5. CAULK AIR LEAKS. Using low-cost caulk to seal cracks and openings in your home keeps warm air out — and cash in your wallet.

6. INSTALL WINDOW TREATMENTS. Energy efficient window treatments or coverings such as blinds, shades and films can slash heat gain when temperatures rise. These devices not only improve the look of your home but also reduce energy costs.

7. BRING IN SUNLIGHT. During daylight hours, switch off artificial lights and use windows and skylights to brighten your home.

8. SET THE THERMOSTAT. On warm days, setting a programmable thermostat to a higher setting when you are not at home can help reduce your energy costs by approximately 10 percent.

9. SEAL DUCTS. Air loss through ducts can lead to high electricity costs, accounting for nearly 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption. Sealing and insulating ducts can help lower your electricity bills.

10. USE CEILING FANS. Cooling your home with ceiling fans will allow you to raise your thermostat 4 degrees.This can help lower your electricity bills without sacrificing overall comfort.


Sparking A Conversation With PCEC Director Dennis Fulk

Q. You have served as a board director for over 30 years. What has this time meant to you?

A. A few years back I learned that there were 22 people responsible for incorporating Platte- Clay in 1938. One of these individuals was my great uncle — my grandmother’s brother. He was one of the ones that were going out and signing people up to become members. He even lived at one time on the same acreage that I do now that has stayed in our family. So, I have a deep connection to the co-op that goes back a long way that I’m proud of.

Q. What has kept you serving PCEC for so long?

A. Primarily two things come to mind. One is the people. That’s been the big thing. I’ve had the opportunity to serve on different boards in connection to being on the PCEC board at the state and national level, and I have good friends all over the state that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t on this board. And I appreciate the people that work here at PCEC. It has just been a great experience.

The other thing that comes to mind would be all the challenges that we have faced over the 30 years at Platte-Clay. A lot of things are the same as far as what the basic principles of the service are — delivering electricity that’s reliable and as inexpensive as possible, but there are always different challenges that come up and it’s been interesting dealing with those and being a part of helping hopefully solve a lot of those problems and issues. So, I enjoy that part.

To me, in the board room it is valuable to have a couple of us around that can remember some of the things we’ve dealt with in the past. Everything is not always a new problem. Sometimes those problems have been dealt with in the past or there is a history behind something that’s happening. So, there is value in having a good mix on the board, old and new. And we have that now on the PCEC board.

Q. What are some of the most significant changes or progress you’ve seen over your three decades serving PCEC?

A. Expectations of membership would be one of the biggest things. I can recall seeing when Platte-Clay first came into existence, and I wasn’t on the board at that time (laughs), but I do recall seeing where someone had written a postcard to the co-op saying, “My electricity has gone out and when you get the chance in the next few days if you could get it back on that would be fine.” And we have gone from that back in the 1930’s to the point now where every little blink messes up everyone’s electronics, so you know the expectations are just so much higher. And just a whole gamut of things have changed with technology to have what we’re delivering be reliable so people can depend on it.

Q.Tell us about CFC and your role on their board of directors.

A. CFC is the primary lending institution that serves the electric co-op industry. Their function is to be a lending agency for the rural utility industry. It provides a lot more flexibility and efficiency to co-ops than having to go through the federal government. A strong suit for CFC is how they work with co-ops to meet their needs when disaster strikes. CFC is there to meet their emergency financing needs to help co-ops restore service. I’m biased, but it is an excellent financial institution helping co-ops meet their needs. I feel fortunate to be a part of it in my small way.

As of the end of December, their total loans were approximately $34.5 billion dollars, which is kind of a mind boggling amount. So they are crucial to the electric energy industry in our country.

I represent Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana on their board. You’re elected to a three-year term and you can serve two terms. I am in my fifth year. If I get re-elected as a Platte-Clay board member, which is a requirement to be on the CFC board, I will finish out my term there in June of 2025.

Q. How does this experience with CFC help you as a director for PCEC?

A. CFC is a co-op owned by the individual electric co-ops. The board is made up of half managers of co-ops and half board members of co-ops. They want to have input from the end of the line members. Me being on the board specifically gives Platte-Clay a voice in what’s going on at CFC and gives me an opportunity to relay what some of the needs are. There have been many times in PCEC board meetings where I can draw on the experiences that I’ve had serving CFC to help our co-op.

Q. What is something thing you wish all members knew about PCEC and its operations?

A. A lot of people don’t always know what a co-op is, specifically people who have not been a part of one before. Basically, they own the place, at least a portion of it anyway. And we’re here to be their representative. The board members are members and part owners themselves. Any decisions we make affect us as well. I’ve made decisions and votes on this board that negatively affected me economically, and it was because it was the best decision for Platte-Clay. It wasn’t necessarily the best decision for me personally. But I want to always do the right thing for the cooperative.

In The News

PCEC To Celebrate Arbor Day With A Member Tree Giveaway

PCEC Arbor Day Member Tree GiveawayPlatte-Clay members will have the opportunity to reserve a free tree in recognition of this year’s Arbor Day. A limited number of 1-gallon trees will made available on a first-come, first-served basis to interested members.

Participants will have access to customized resources that will allow them to ensure trees are planted in the best location on their property away from power lines.

The tree giveaway is part of a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. More details on the tree giveaway will be made available in April on PCEC’s social media channels as well as the April edition of the Northland Connection.

Platte-Clay Moments

Energy Efficiency Tips

Tree IconA well-designed landscape can add beauty to your home and reduce home heating and cooling costs. Plant deciduous trees with high, spreading crowns to the south of your home to block sunlight in the summer and reduce the need for air conditioning. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter, allowing sunlight to warm your home.

Plant evergreen trees and shrubs with low crowns to block winter winds. Dense evergreen trees and shrubs planted to the north and northwest are the most common type of windbreak and can help lower energy used for home heating.

Always remember to call 811 before you dig to locate utilities, and remember to look up for power lines. Trees should be planted at least 30 feet from power lines.

Source: energy.gov

Service Spotlight Surge Protection

Prepare for the spring storm season by safeguarding your electrical equipment with Platte-Clay surge protection. PCEC offers whole-house surge protection that can help you protect sensitive electronic equipment against power surges. The device provides complete household hard-wire protection for up to 70,000 amps. You can lease these devices for only $4.95 per month, which can be added to your electric bill.

Members may get a surge protector by emailing mail@pcec.coop or calling (816) 628-3121 to schedule an installation.

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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.