Northland Connection

February 2018

Platte-Clay Northland Connection Newsletter February 2018

We think you’re special

While we’re thinking warm thoughts about love and flowers, it’s also the month to take a few minutes to think about hearts.

In fact, our heart.

Because 1 in 5 of us has heart disease, it’s a great month to call the doc and get our heart checked out.

It’s February so they’ll be expecting us.

Valentines Day Banner

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Dave Deihl Platte-Clay Electric Coop General Manager

Dave Deihl
General Manager

From the General Manager

Since absence makes the heart grow fonder, we thought we’d talk about someone who will be out of the office, in fact out of the country through early February.

Jake Fain, a journeyman line worker, is part of a Missouri electric cooperatives crew building electric lines in the mountains of Bolivia, near a village called Chapisirca. He’ll be working at an elevation of more than 11,000 ft. with five other line workers from other Missouri cooperatives in the project called “Brighter Bolivia.”

In December, an earlier group of Missouri cooperative crews worked with villagers, who dug 100 holes for the poles.

Jake will be part of the second group from Missouri to follow this crew.

Over the past 50 years, NRECA, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Assoc., has built the electric infrastructure to serve more than 126 million people in 43 developing countries. The mission is clear: to design and implement successful, sustainable, scalable rural electrification programs that improve education, healthcare, safety and economic opportunity.

Established in 1962, the international program initially was part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The late President John F. Kennedy signed the inaugural cooperative agreement which began the program to share best practices learned and perfected from building electric lines in rural America.

As in America, those living in rural areas in other countries with electricity now enjoy a higher quality of life, increased agricultural productivity, improved healthcare and new jobs from developing businesses.

For many in rural areas, having light after dark is a dream delivered by hard-working and committed Americans.

If you have questions or concerns, please e-mail me at generalmanager@pcec.coop

 

How cold is it? AECI sets record peak demand

Associated Electric Cooperative set peak production records on January 1 and 2 when temperatures dipped below zero. Members may find that they too have set peak demand.

Platte-Clay bills on half of the highest peak set over the past 11 months or the full amount for the current month, whichever is more. The former simple billing method divided the cost of demand, the largest factor in Platte-Clay’s wholesale energy costs, among all members. That meant that small households careful with costs were subsidizing households with high demand.

With each member paying for demand, and a lower per kWh rate, it’s possible to have lower bills.

Manage demand by not using all appliances at one time. Check the co-op web site, www.pcec.coop and follow the links to the demand calculator. The demand calculator will provide a good idea of the amount of demand each appliance creates and help with ideas on how to manage demand.

 

International electrification program assists Bolivian village

Just another day at the office at 11,500 ft. in the Cordillera Real mountain range

Jake Fain

Jake Fain

A new crew of linemen and safety staff from six Missouri rural electric cooperatives and the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC) will work for two weeks in the mountain village of Chapisirca, in the state of Cochabamba in Bolivia through early February.

Platte-Clay journeyman lineman Jake Fain volunteered to be a part of the second group of co-op employees working to build electric lines to the remote village.

Jake joins a group of experienced line workers that includes Brian Robbins, Barry Electric Co-op; Adam Helton, Central Electric Power Co-op; Joe Cartwright, Crawford Electric Co-op; Hunter Ivie, Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Co-op; and Stetson Shirkey, OsageValley Electric Co-op.

The crew will be working at 11,000 to 13,000 ft. above sea level in the Cordillera Real mountains building lines to bring electric power to a village sustained primarily by potato and onion farming.

Brazil And Bolivia Map
The Village of Chapisirca is about 1900 miles south of Kansas City International. The crew will fly into La Paz, the capital city and travel south and east by car. Bolivia is about the size of California and Texas combined.

Local residents have helped by hand digging holes for the poles that carry the distribution lines.

The crew will be working with the construction supervisor for ELFEC, the distribution utility for the area.

The National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. (CFC) International Projects is providing a matching grant to fund the project.

“Our matching grant assistance, exclusively channeled through statewide organizations like AMEC that sponsor an overseas electrification project, allows more skilled electric co-op volunteers to participate in international endeavors and experience what it’s like when someone flips a switch and watches the lights come on for the first time,” said CFC CEO Sheldon C. Petersen.

The next opportunity for Platte-Clay to participate in an international project will be 2020.

 

Solartech Community Solar Array

SolarTech Clean Renewable Energy

The Platte-Clay pilot community solar array, Solartech, continues to reliably generate renewable energy for co-op members.

Platte-Clay was among the first 100 co-ops in the U.S. to build a pilot community solar array for its members after three surveys said that a majority of co-op members were interested in solar energy.

The first inkling that members were truly interested in renewables and solar energy was the result of the 2013 American Consumer Index Survey (ACSI).

More than half of the members responding, 60 percent, said that Platte-Clay should develop “renewable energy sources like solar and wind, regardless of cost.”

Also during that time, Platte-Clay was routinely fielding calls requesting information on solar energy from members, many of whom wanted to buy home solar arrays from Platte-Clay.

That came as a surprise to co-op management, and high member interest resulted in a second spot survey taken during the 2014 annual meeting where again there was majority support for solar energy.

To confirm solar interest without question, a third comprehensive survey went to all co-op members where again members said they support solar energy.

In fact, the third survey found that 80 percent of the members who responded said they would support a pilot community solar project.

Platte-Clay then convened a Solar Committee to review how the renewable energy would be integrated into the co-op’s power generation. More than 500 co-op members applied to be a part of the Solar Committee with the number whittled down to around 50.

Since those early days Solartech has provided a number of tangible benefits to Platte-Clay members.

  1. The co-op met the majority of member requests to become involved with renewable energy.
  2. Platte-Clay worked with the USDA and received a grant to offset a portion of the cost of the solar array, thus reducing the overall cost of the project.
  3. Co-op employees built the solar array, giving both management and line crew workers a thorough understanding of how a solar array operates and what’s involved with safely connecting to and disconnecting from the grid.
  4. In-house construction has saved co-op money, both with the initial cost of construction and with practical knowledge in the field as members install home solar arrays.
  5. Since Solartech became operational, it has generated enough energy that equals 369 tons of CO2 saved. Or the amount of CO2 that more than 9,000 trees would have absorbed. The live monitor is on the co-op web site, www.pcec.coop Scroll down to Solartech. (We recommend looking at it in the daytime.)

Although in surveys half of Platte-Clay members said they would be willing to pay varying amounts for renewable energy, $1 to $24 a month, panel leases or buying Solartech energy at approximately $2.50 a month per panel remains sluggish with 30 percent of panels committed to members.

The solar energy contract is available on the web site, from the home page, scroll down to the Solartech area and follow the links.

Solar industry update
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in January, 2017, found that 75 percent of the 18-29 year-olds, 72 percent of the 30-49 year-olds and 59 percent of the 50-64 year olds surveyed support alternative energy sources. The Social Security set was well-represented too: 50 percent favor alternative energy sources such as wind and solar.

 

Move Over law now includes utility workers and vehicles

Legislation passed in the last session added utility workers to the “move over” law that requires drivers to vacate the lane nearest the utility vehicle, and if that’s not possible, to slow down.

Drivers who fail to give police, firefighters and now utility workers room to safely work are subject to a misdemeanor ticket.

Utility Workers And Vehicles

 

Pros And Cons Of Driving Electric Vehicles

Pros And Cons Of Driving Electric Vehicles

 

Degree days help explain high energy costs

National Weather Service LogoMost of us are going to have higher bills this winter. Even with our best efforts and longer days, our bills will increase. The cold has been brutal.

For the number crunchers among us, it’s a great opportunity to determine the “heating degree days,” those days when the temperature was way below 65 degrees.

The National Weather Service (NWS) bases its assumptions on a 65 degree day–one when we didn’t need cooling or heating.

To determine just what the NWS “degree” is for a specific day, take the difference between the daily temperature mean (high temperature plus low temperature divided by two) and 65 degrees. If the temperature mean is above 65 degrees, we subtract 65 from the mean and the result is a cooling degree day. If the temperature mean is below 65 degrees, we subtract the mean from 65 and the result is heating degree day.

We use heating and cooling degree days to help understand why our bill is so high. On one level we understand that when it’s very cold or very hot, our energy use will be more. On another level we want to see the numbers in black and white.

Those who have added insulation and made other energy efficiency improvements can compare their home’s performance year-over-year by calculating the degree days during the hottest and coldest months and reviewing energy consumption. To find the daily highs and lows, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin. (NOAA) at https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov

In the meantime, this winter could be a great time to break out a warm sweater or fleece jacket.

 

First deadline for Board candidates

Members of the Nominating Committee will cover requirements with the co-op members who have expressed an interest in running for the Board before Feb. 22 or by petition by March 1.

For information on Board requirements, visit the co-op’s web site, www.pcec.coop and review the by-laws in the About section.

Then members who are still interested in serving on the Board must call Ms. Kinard, 903-7302 or e-mail her at angiek@pcec.coop and let her know of your interest.

The co-op by-laws prescribe three-year terms for the three Directors who represent the three Districts.

The terms are staggered, which means that each year there is one member from each District up for re-election.

A member of the Board nominating committee will discuss the requirements and time commitment involved.

The final deadline for a member’s name to appear on the ballot for the 2018 election is March 1, with candidates’ names posted April 20.

The annual meeting this year is May 10 at the Kearney office, 1000 W. State Route 92, 64060, on the west side of I-35.

Although not recommended, because members won’t have a chance to learn about an individual, a member may be nominated from the floor as a write-in candidate.

 

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.

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