A year of transition
From the General Manager
We wanted to take this opportunity to take a look back over the past year, one that has seen many changes and activities that help Platte-Clay continue to provide reliable, low-cost energy to members.
To put this column in perspective, I am the fourth general manager in the history of the co-op. It’s an honor, it’s a challenge and there’s been a lot to learn and accomplish.
I thought I’d share some of what we’ve been working on.
You’ll be familiar with some of the activities, but we want to give you an idea of what your co-op has been doing during this year of transition.
One of Platte-Clay’s annual activities is to develop a comprehensive business plan with a detailed budget.
We know that an electric utility’s revenue is driven in large part by weather: the colder or hotter it is the more energy we use, so we, like farmers, use long-term projections to help develop our budget. Other budget factors, for example, include area growth, projected to be modest to slow this year. In spite of the flat revenue projections, I am pleased to share that we do not anticipate any rate increases in 2018.
Platte-Clay continues to participate in numerous community activities and works to make a difference in the Northland. The co-op is involved in various Chambers of Commerce economic development activities because ultimately that means more jobs closer to home for co-op members and more co-op members.
New this year, Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. (AECI), the co-op’s power producer, is working with the University of Missouri Extension and has started a regional community economic development program called Power 4 Progress. In 2018, co-op employees will be trained on how to best assist and encourage targeted businesses to locate in our communities.
We also continue to assist businesses with a generous commercial lighting incentive that helps existing businesses.
On a more personal note, at the Holiday Open House and during the month of December we collect coats and canned goods to be distributed through area food pantries. That program peaks during December, when the temperatures drop and food pantries need help meeting requests. In addition, co-op employees adopt two families and provide gifts for them.
Annual community projects have included working with Rebuilding Clay County, planting trees in parks and this year planting two Monarch butterfly gardens, one at each office.
Platte-Clay has hosted a successful blood drive at both locations during October, Co-op Month, with donations exceeding the Community Blood Bank’s projections. Our sincere thanks to all who participated.
And we don’t leave out education. The Youth Tour essay contest encourages sophomores and juniors to stretch their thinking—and earn a trip to Washington, D.C., in the summer.
Teachers can earn one free graduate degree credit by participating in Energy in the Classroom. The two-day event introduces teachers to our power sources and an overview of the energy industry with expenses covered by Platte-Clay.
This year the annual focus group reviewed the co-op’s environmental activities in response to a motion made at the annual meeting. Their report will be given during the 2018 Annual Meeting, May 10.
Because so many of us rely on our smart phones, the co-op is working with its software vendors on an app that will allow members to go directly to their account, similar to apps used by many banks and financial institutions. We anticipate the new app will be rolled out during the first half of 2018. We’ll keep you posted.
Behind the scenes, we’ve been working on plans to revamp the co-op web site.
In terms of personnel, we saw long-time general manager Mike Torres retire following the annual meeting in May. He was responsible for several projects that during his tenure gave Platte-Clay a well-deserved national reputation for innovation and we will continue to embrace new ideas and technology.
In 2017, the co-op rolled out demand billing. A new concept to residential members, it is how the co-op has billed large industrial members for many years. Taking the logical next step, now residential and smaller commercial accounts are billed on demand, making the co-op’s billing fair to all members – from the largest industrials to the smallest households.
Platte-Clay representatives now are speaking on panels to other co-ops about demand billing benefits and sharing information as part of Touchstone Energy co-ops’ best practices.
And last, but not least, in August the Board of Directors and staff participated in a two-day workshop to identify the co-op’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats—commonly called SWOT analysis—and from that list, established goals for not only 2018, but for the foreseeable future.
Safety, for instance, ranked at the top and always has been and will be a cooperative goal. Other goals are member-focused and practical, for instance, developing and implementing a plan focused on the long-term reliability of electric service for all members, improving the co-op infrastructure and making certain that the co-op’s assets are safe, among others. And during the course of the year, the Board reviews policies and procedures to keep the co-op current on issues.
As we’re wrapping up a whirlwind 2017, I think we’re off to a good 2018, Platte-Clay’s 80th Anniversary.
Best wishes for the Holidays and Happy New Year.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
New Printing For Rural Missouri
We are pleased to tell you that Rural Missouri, the monthly publication sent out by the Association of Missouri Cooperatives, AMEC, is moving to a glossy paper, similar to the Northland Connection from newsprint.
And, more good news, it’s being printed in Liberty at LSC Communications. We understand some of their employees also are co-op members, so we think we’re in good hands.
We aren’t as pleased to tell you that we will be in the center of the publication — flip it open to the staples and the Platte-Clay page will be the one to the left.
We’ll continue to send out the Northland Connection with the bills, as it’s the most cost-effective method for staying in touch with co-op members.
The Rural Missouri magazine will continue to serve as the official annual meeting notice, since it is sent to all members at the same time, within the by-law requirements.
Finding a new printer after 29 years at the other one was a bit difficult.
Unfortunately, Tribune Publishing was sold to Gatehouse Media which has been consolidating printing operations, causing layoffs, a decline in employee moral and loss of service for Rural Missouri and the co-ops.
We hope you enjoy the new look.
‘Tis The Season For Students
How About a Scholarship, a Trip To Washington, D.C., or a Graduate Degree Credit?
Attention Sophomores and Juniors – Earn a free trip to Washinton, D.C.
Platte-Clay’s annual Youth Tour essay / video contest is open to sophomores and juniors who would like to take a chance on earning a trip to Washington, D.C., June 8-14.
Many of the Missouri rural electric cooperatives sponsor students, who will be a part of the trip. Two area students will be with other high-achieving students who will visit memorials, monuments and museums, including the Newseum. A national program, students from other states also will be in the capitol June 8-14.
For more information, take a look at these sites: http://www.amec.coop/content/youth-programs and https://www.electric.coop/our-organization/youth-programs/
CYCLE, which stands for Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience, is a three-day program designed for students to have fun, teach students about rural electric cooperatives, have fun, learn leadership skills, spend a day at the state Capitol, learn and have fun. The co-op covers the program, lodging, meals and transportation to and from Jefferson City, if necessary.
Attention Seniors – Platte-Clay will award three $1,000 scholarships
Deadline March 20
Seniors – start your scholarship application. Platte-Clay will award three $1,000 scholarships, one for each District. The application is online at www.pcec.coop
The scholarship will be paid to your school. Scholarship applications are due Tuesday, March 20.
Attention teachers – Earn a free graduate degree credit while learning about energy 2 days in July
Platte-Clay will sponsor one teacher who will earn one graduate degree credit. Free. The class, called Energy in the Classroom, will be held at the University of Missouri-Columbia July 25-26, 2018, and will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday and conclude at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday.
The co-op scholarship covers all expenses including tuition, meals, instructional material and lodging if needed.
Here’s what you need to know for the Energy in the Classroom (ASM 7370) qualifications and details.
The program is open to middle or high school instructors who have a background in or are teaching agriculture science, building trades, life skills, math or science.
Platte-Clay will award one scholarship and select an alternate instructor in the event the first instructor is unable to participate. The alternate will have the first opportunity for 2019.
Participants will have 15 hours of lively classroom training over the two days, for 15 hours of professional development.
Instructors also will receive a free classroom kit to use in the classroom. The kit includes reference guides and tools plus several hands-on demonstration tools to spark the learning experience.
In addition to the co-op paid graduate degree, participants have the opportunity to earn an additional graduate course credit at the teacher’s expense. Energy in the Classroom instructors will share details at the end of the class.
To apply for the class, go to https://applygradmissouri.edu/apply/?sr=7a956bbc-c8c6-4e4b-8ba-3-80c279556e3e
Scroll to the bottom of the application home page and click on Create an account under First Time Users.
Please check your calendars for birthdays, weddings, vacations and other activities which could prevent participating in the July 25-26 program and earning a free graduate degree.
Deadline is Monday, April 23, 2018.
Shop Platte-Clay for gifts that people will really appreciate.
Let’s start with the monster in the basement, the one we’re afraid of: the water heater. Nothing puts dread in a homeowner’s heart like a cold shower or a leaky water heater. So if Mom and Dad’s water heater is on its last legs, head for Platte-Clay.
Your co-op handles energy efficient Marathon water heaters. The super-insulated Marathons are plastic and guaranteed for life.
And, along with water heaters, the co-op requires a water heater service agreement for $2.50 a month with a minimum three-year agreement, or $90. For that $90, members get peace of mind and a licensed plumber to take care of any and all problems associated with water heaters, including unit replacement.
While we’re talking water, let’s talk about Ritchie Waterers. The Farmers’ Almanac is calling for a mild winter, but that’s relative when the temperature is in the teens or twenties—because that’s below freezing. And who wants to break ice on the pond or haul buckets of water to water tanks? Or pay for expensive stock tank heaters?
Energy efficient Ritchie waterers to the rescue.
The very best time to install a Ritchie is before the ground freezes, as it will be necessary to run a water line and an electrical line to the fountain or fountains.
Next in the peace of mind category is a generator large enough to power homes, neighborhoods or businesses.
Platte-Clay is an authorized Kohler dealer and can provide turn-key service, from proper sizing and sale to installation. Generators can be powered by propane or natural gas, if it’s available. The units conduct a self-test each month and provide a warning if something is out of kilter.
Call 628-3121, visit www.pcec.coop or stop by either office for assistance.
Board of Directors
Each month when the Board meets with management and reviews the co-op’s activities we learn something new. It is a joy to come to the meetings and work with a talented group of individuals who for that day share the co-op’s best interests—and your best interests–with one another.
It is because of both the Board and employees’ commitment to working for the membership that after 79 years we have such a strong and vibrant co-op.
One of the first milestones during the 80th anniversary year will be the Youth Tour essay contest deadline, Jan. 25. The essay can be written or students can produce a short video on the topic, “What it Means to be a Servant Leader.”
We see the benefits of servant leadership at Platte-Clay, and it makes for a smoother, kinder management style. It also dovetails with the cooperative model.
While there are several definitions, the one I like is “Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.” That’s from the Greenleaf Organization. I think we can agree that it’s exactly the kind of communities and cooperative we want.
Sophomores and juniors are at a great age to start learning about what it takes to be an effective leader, especially a servant leader.
As an educator, I want to encourage this opportunity for students to think about the kind of a world they want to create. For students, today that includes family, friends, school and any other organizations in which they’re involved. And as our sophomores and juniors mature, their family, their children, their business, their community.
This is a great time of the year to think about caring for others. Plus this opportunity comes with reward: an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June, or to Jefferson City, Mo., in July.
We hope sophomores and juniors will step up and participate in this year’s Youth Tour essay contest and use the theme of servant leadership as a positive learning experience.
On behalf of your Board of Directors, we wish you the best for the Holidays and the New Year.
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 email@example.com.
Platte-Clay is an equal opportunity employer.