School bus basics
The thing about school buses is that they’re carrying, picking up or dropping off children.
And there’s almost nothing more unpredictable than a child.
The U.S. Department of Transportation says that the most dangerous part of a trip to school is when a student approaches or leaves the bus.
And the thing about children is that thinking about safety and being aware of their surroundings and watching out for cars is probably pretty far down their list of concerns on any given day.
That leaves it up to drivers to be prepared for almost anything when around a school bus.
So being alert, with or without that first cup of coffee is a top priority.
Yellow flashing lights mean that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload students. Motorists must slow down and prepare to stop.
Red flashing lights along with the mechanical stop sign means just that – kids will be getting on or off the bus, perhaps crossing the street.
Vehicles must wait until the red lights are turned off, the sign pulled back against the bus and the bus begins to move.
Many of us live in neighborhoods with an abundance of children; it’s why we live there. When it’s back to school, it’s important to watch for kids walking or bicycling to school.
School zones require heightened attention, as there are parents dropping off children, who may decide to dart in front of the vehicle, and the parents may be distracted with last minute instructions and concerns.
Getting kids off to school generally is controlled chaos, and it’s up to all drivers to be on our toes and to help keep everyone safe.
Cooperative Principle 5
Education, training and information
From the General Manager
This month we have great examples of Cooperative Principle 5, Education, Training and Information because it fits right in with all of the things we’ve been working on to keep Platte-Clay running safely and smoothly.
When looking back, the thunderstorms over the weekend of June 16-17 that knocked so many members off line and before that, the March 6 tornado that damaged, and even destroyed many homes seems like ancient history.
We’re glad that now, for the most part, they’re faint memories because we had service restored in a reasonable amount of time.
I do want to take this opportunity to thank all of the members for their patience and thoughtfulness during the two weather emergencies. We understand many members were experiencing difficult and frustrating circumstances.
Platte-Clay crews wrapped up the June 16 and 17 thunderstorms on Sunday, June 18, by working long days and nights. It was a tired, but proud group that reported for work on that Monday.
On Thursday, June 22, crews visited two substations for a training and safety review with a checklist to review ways they could help N.W. Electric Cooperative, the generation and transmission cooperative responsible for delivering high voltage power to the substations.
Working with high voltage electric power is especially dangerous and with our tornado season followed by the possibility of ice storms this winter makes the training especially relevant.
In Missouri, we’re always in a season when Mother Nature can throw damaging storms our way. And when that happens, line crews don their safety gear and go to work rebuilding the lines.
In spite of dealing with two tough weather situations with hundreds, at times thousands of members without service, Platte-Clay’s reliability statistics remain excellent.
Counting the two major storms, the tornado and the violent thunderstorms, the co-op holds an average outage of only 90 minutes per member. Taking out those major events, the co-op has an even better average outage time of only 20 minutes per member. Either number is excellent from both a member standpoint and an engineering standpoint. It’s a tribute to the overall commitment to the Platte-Clay infrastructure through reinvesting in the lines and poles that deliver our power.
Although the line crews are more visible, inside employees attend industry or function-specific seminars and training to stay current on software, refresh member service skills and learn about industry issues.
When all is said and done, a day at the co-op is an opportunity to provide high quality member service, to put training to good use and to provide affordable, reliable electric service.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Based in Cameron, Mo., N.W. Electric Cooperative provided substation training for all of the Platte-Clay crews. During an emergency, Platte-Clay crews may be called on to assist N.W. crews to help restore service.
N.W. is responsible for the high voltage 7.2 kV lines that serve the substations. From area substations, the power runs on Platte-Clay distribution lines to co-op members.
N.W.’s Relay Technician Monty Adams provided the training. In addition to working with the seven northwest Missouri rural electric cooperatives served by the generation and transmission cooperative, Monty provides training at the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC) overhead lineman school in a state-wide refresher course.
Platte-Clay’s equipment gets the once-over too.
The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, AMEC, came to the Platte-Clay office to test the strength and integrity of all of the bucket trucks fiberglass arms.
Sophisticated software records test results so the co-op has year-to-year results and comparisons.
Platte-Clay routinely checks and updates equipment down to the rubber gloves the line crews wear when working near the electric lines.
The trip of a lifetime
Above, L-R: Regan Seba, home school student and Christine Folck, North Platte High School.
Every year the Youth Tour trip is memorable, “the trip of a lifetime” for students. For many it’s the first time on a plane, even being miles from home in Missouri. This year the trip will be etched in participants’ memory in yet another way: the day the Missouri Youth Tour group visited the capital, June 14, was the day Rep. Steve Scalise (La.) was shot. As a result, the Rep. Graves visit got re-arranged and the tour changed to include a visit to the House Gallery. The students saw Rep. Paul Ryan come into the House, call Congress to order and the students, along with Congress, said the Pledge of Allegiance. He then gave his response, a speech, to the shootings. Rep. Scalise continues to recover.
Energy Efficiency Awareness Contest
HUEE, the Heartland Utilities for Energy Efficiency, sponsors an annual public service announcement (PSA) contest to create awareness and share information on how to improve energy efficiency.
This year Kearney Middle School took second place winning $2,500. Videos and information on the HUEE web site, www.HUEE.org
Part of the crew of the Kearney Middle School video which included Danielle Barnes, Katie Byrd, Macy Higgins, Emily Shepherd, Ryley Erzen, Christina Rickenbaugh and Mykla Stevens. Shown, three of the stars of “The Energy Villians.”
Solartech, a model for integrating renewals in the 21st century grid
A group of eight national renewable organizations has developed a joint statement outlining their vision for a 21st century electric grid.
The group notes that they represent thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of U.S. employees working in a variety of energy technologies.
The group statement calls for national action:
- Market structures that appropriately value new and existing technologies for the attributes they bring to the grid, including energy, capacity, flexibility, dispatchability and other essential reliability services.
- Tax reform that protects the current incentives for renewable energy, includes extension of the renewable tax credits that have already expired, and levels the long-term playing field to support investment in the electric power infrastructure.
- Expansion and modernization of the power grid to support the operation and integration of renewables and a more dynamic system of meeting reliability needs, including expanded transmission and greater connectivity between balancing areas, distributed generation, more responsive load and community power systems.
The organizations include the American Council on Renewable Energy, the Biomass Power Assoc., the National Hydro Power Assoc., the American Biogas Council, the Energy Recovery Council, the Solar Energy Industries Assoc., the American Wind Energy Assoc. and the Geothermal Energy Assoc.
The renewable organizations note that for the U.S., low, stable natural gas prices, flat electricity demand, and for Platte-Clay, even dropping household demand, are creating changes in the overall electric power system.
For Platte-Clay, an electric power distribution cooperative, decisions are much easier and generally that flexibility already is in place: 1) because power source decisions are made by the co-op’s power generator, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AECI), and 2) Platte-Clay already supports member-owned renewables.
Platte-Clay members who wish to install solar or wind can simply go to the co-op web site, www.pcec.coop and click on the top tab for Services, scroll down to the Net Metering Application, touch bases with the co-op engineering group, download and complete the application and agreement.
Because not everyone can have or wants solar panels on their roof, members can sign up to be a part of the co-op’s community solar array, Solartech, the first co-op owned community solar array in Missouri.
Members have two options. The first is to sign up for the output of one to several panels and pay monthly for the energy produced. The other option is to enter into a long-term lease at $815 per panel, with no monthly energy charge, but a monthly general distribution rate of 5.24 cents cents/kWh and 0.83 cents/kWh for maintenance.
The contracts for both monthly solar energy and the long-term lease are on the co-op web site, www.pcec.coop. Simply scroll down to Solartech at the bottom of the page and follow the links.
Members can be justifiably proud of the co-op’s commitment to renewable energy and support for co-op members who embrace diverse resources.
We can also assure you it is much easier to work with Platte- Clay than moving the Federal government.
Focus Group an extension of Town Hall
We want to thank the following co-op members for agreeing to be a part of 2017 focus group. This year the group, including the members who stayed after the Annual Meeting for that Town Hall meeting, will review Platte-Clay’s environmental initiatives and activities and develop a report to be shared with the membership. The first meeting included an overview of the cooperative structure. Members have committed to meeting through the end of the year on a variety of related topics.
The co-op members participating in the focus group include (alphabetical order): Terry Banks, Alberto Briseǹo, Lee Brown, Muriel Daniels, Catherine Dunn, J. Brent Gerling, Mark Hasse, Richard Hartnett, Jarry Hearne, Jack Huddart, Bryan Ivlow, Kris Karnes, Catherine Lueckenotte, Sarah McKinley, Steven Robinson, Jeff Saxton, Bill Shelley, James Shrimpton, Tom Smith, Duke Snider, Marie Steiner, Allan Tison, Leona Vest and Steve Williams. (Note: not all members were able to attend the first meeting and are not pictured.)
Many area communities are planning eclipse celebrations. Check area town and chamber web sites for activities.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Platte-Clay is an equal opportunity employer.