Northland Connection

January 2018

80 Year Anniversary – 1938-2018

80 Year Anniversary 2018A lot has changed in the 80 years since Platte-Clay began building that first line north of Platte City in 1938. We won’t even hazard a guess about what the next decades will bring. But we do believe it will involve providing reliable, low-cost electric service. Happy New Year.

 

Happy New Year

Dave Deihl Platte-Clay Electric Coop General Manager

Dave Deihl
General Manager

From the General Manager

Every New Year is like starting over with a clean slate. And for the Gen Zers out there, those in their 20s who’ve always had the Internet and cell phones, it’s like getting a new phone and installing the latest apps that will only work on a more powerful piece of equipment.

Starting anew.

Each year at Platte-Clay is a bit like that.

We build on our previous experience and make improvements to provide better or faster member service. Each year the co-op develops a comprehensive business plan that blends both long range capital requirements and annual objectives to reach those goals. For example, in 2018, Platte-Clay will be rebuilding older electric lines, replacing 30 miles at a cost of $4.2 million. By gradually replacing aging lines and re-routing them when appropriate, such as when roads are straightened, members will enjoy increased reliability and quicker restoration time. This measured approach allows the co-op to wisely manage capital resources while improving reliability.

While building new lines in 2018 is important, we’ll also be building our communities, working through various civic, educational and economic development groups.

In addition to support geared to youth—scholarships, Youth Tour and CYCLE (Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience)—Platte-Clay traditionally reaches out to work with many other organizations.

Based on the last American Consumer Survey Index (ACSI) survey feedback, it appears that some members aren’t aware of the extensive community organization funding and support Platte-Clay provides.

Although the co-op’s score from the most recent survey was a high rating, in fact members ranked Platte-Clay among the top five co-ops in Missouri at 8.57 on a 10-point scale, we think that it’s important to take a look at some of the ways Platte-Clay gives back to our communities.

Representative examples include assisting communities through organizations and activities such as helping sponsor after-prom events at area schools, youth sports teams, civic organizations, such as the Lions, V.F.W., American Legion, garden clubs, Special Olympics and area Chambers of Commerce.

In 2018 we’ll be working with the focus group for suggestions to target other opportunities.

And while we’re rooted in our communities by our poles and lines, from time to time we reach beyond our boundaries—in fact, to the moon.

On August, 21, 2017, we had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a total solar eclipse here. And as part of that once-in-lifetime, Platte-Clay provided a supporting role in a live broadcast covering the solar eclipse that stretched across the U.S. and right across the Platte-Clay service area.

The Smithsonian Institution’s online educational show, STEM in 30, is a program that encourages learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

The show host, Marty Kelsey was livestreaming major segments with KSHB Channel 41’s Gary Lezak from Liberty, Mo., on Aug. 21, 2017. Platte-Clay provided a bucket truck for aerial shots for the Solar Eclipse Special: Live from the Path of Totality.

80 Year Anniversary 2018To see the program, visit https://airandspace.si.edu/events/solar-eclipse-special-live-path-totality. You’ll get a brief glimpse of the Platte-Clay bucket truck and enjoy several cutaway aerial shots.

So while we remain rooted in our communities, we’ll see what 2018, our 80th year, brings.

We’re up for it.

Happy New Year.

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

 

Manage household demand to manage cost

The very, very easiest way to manage demand is to not use all devices at the same time.

Most families create high demand in the mornings, when everyone is getting ready for work or in the evening, when we’re cooking the evening meal, doing the laundry—using both the washer and dryer–and opening and closing the refrigerator door.

There’s also the time in the shop when we’re using our power tools, which, when combined with other appliance demand, adds to our overall demand and at times, creating new peak demand.

Not plugging in or using everything, or many things that use electricity at the same time will keep demand down.

Truly, it is that simple. And by contrast, at $2.50 per kilowatt for not managing demand, it can become a pricey component of the bill.

This is the time of the year when members are concerned about high bills, in general, and demand in particular.

Platte-Clay’s rates dropped when the co-op separated demand from consumption, and now members pay .079/kWh, down from .11/kWh, the blended rate before November, 2016.

Some of the prime culprits include space heaters, which draw 1500 watts.While a delightful device that will warm us, a pair of warm socks and a fleece throw or sweater is much more practical and less expensive.

The glowing electric furnaces and electric fireplaces also create high demand.

Add that to a couple of 1500 watt hair dryers and the regular appliances we always use, such as the refrigerator, and before long we’re talking real demand.

Manage Demand To Manage Cost

Above Left – space heaters can spike demand, especially when other appliances are in use. Above Right – microwave ovens are quick and efficient. Below – At .079/kWh, Platte-Clay’s rates are lower than the U.S. average of .1255/kWh and among the lowest in the U.S. This map does not show the co-op’s current lower rates, which went into effect Nov., 2016, when the co-op separated the changes into kWh, demand and the customer charge.

Average Prices For Residential Electricity

To help members manage costs, the co-op bills on half of the highest preceding 11 month’s demand or current demand, whichever is more.

One easy way to sort out how much demand your household is creating is by using the co-op’s demand calculator on the web site, www.pcec.coop There’s a link from the home page.

Using the demand calculator is a great exercise for kids who seem reluctant help control costs.

 

Electric vehicles coming to a home near you

We are hearing more and more about electric vehicles (EV)and wondering what it means for us. We now know that in general, it means cleaner and cheaper to operate vehicles.

Platte-Clay was early in supporting electric vehicles by building a charging station at the Kearney Platte-Clay Fuels station, just west of I-35 on Sam Barr Drive. The charging station is on the national charging map, and like many other things, “there’s an app for that.” Just Google electric vehicle charging stations to find a number of resources.

Occasionally we’ll see a Nissan Leaf or a Tesla charging, usually with the owner working on a laptop or reading.

Members have wondered about demand and time of use rates. The co-op does not have time of use rates. And by charging an EV off “household peak,” co-op members may see a minimal change in demand.

But are electric vehicles pie in the sky?

Probably not, and we have new words to learn. Battery operated vehicle, BEV. Fuel cell electric vehicles, FCEVs.

Ford is developing 13 new EVs to be introduced within the next five years including a hybrid F-150 and a Mustang.

Ford is building two hybrid police vehicles and a Transit. Also in the works is a small electric SUV with a 300-mile range.

Stepping into the future, Ford is working on an autonomous hybrid vehicle to be used for ride hailing or vehicle sharing.

So those of us who can’t or who don’t want to drive can tell the car where we want to go. Driving Miss Daisy will take on a new meaning when this Ford gets off of the drawing board and pulls into our driveway.

Looking ahead, Toyota plans to have an electric version of every model by 2025. In addition, it is entering into a joint venture with Mazda build EVs.

Most other major manufacturers also are gearing up now and offering consumers some version of an electric or hybrid vehicle. Tesla, in fact, is working on an electric semi truck.

Ford Focus EV And Tesla 3

Above, Ford Focus EV, from $29,120. Above right, Tesla 3, from $35,000. Below left, all electric Chevy Volt powered by two electric motors with a range of some 400 miles. Below right, Tesla X, starting at $135,000 with gull-wing doors, reminiscent of the classic Mercedes 300 SL built in the mid ‘50s.

Chevy Volt And Tesla X

Below, the Tesla semi. Below right, the Chevy Bolt at a charging station.

Tesla Semi And Chevy Bolt

 

Plan now for shade and blooms

Tree and flower nurseries know how to tickle our fancies.

Especially now when most of us are looking out our windows at a mostly tan landscape punctuated with skeletons of trees and if we’re lucky, some evergreens.

Or maybe a coating of snow or ice, which adds a chill to the winter view.

Hooray for evergreens to remind us of the color of summer.

While we’re looking at a blank slate, it’s a good time to plan for next year’s garden(s) and what we’d like to see.

When planning the co-op’s Monarch butterfly gardens, we were impressed with the Missouri Wildflowers Nursery catalog and web site. The photos are beautiful.

In addition, we learned that they, along with Family Tree Nursery and Soil Service do not use neonicotinoids (insect poisons) in the soil of their plants.

We understand that some of the big box stores have committed to selling plants without the toxins that kill butterflies and beneficial pollinators, along with everything else, although many employees say they do not know about their growers’ practices.

Buyer beware.

For those of us who would like to develop a green thumb, we recommend the Master Gardeners of GreaterKansasCity(MGGKC), which includes our area.

The group, which includes several Platte-Clay members, hosts events throughout the year and holds classes for aspiring gardeners. In addition, MGGKC has demonstration and partnership gardens providing a rewarding volunteer opportunity and practical experience. The Master Gardeners are associated with the University of Missouri Extension offices. For more information, visit MGGKC.org

Plant Trees In Right Place

 

PCEC Security

PCEC Security Logo

Keep your family and home safe with a PCEC Security system.

Get an alert when your children get home from school, use the video capabilities to see who’s at your door.

Call 628-3121 for more information on how PCEC Security can give you peace of mind.

 

Interested in serving on the Board?

Your co-op offers several ways of being involved beyond flipping on a light switch and paying for service each month.

One of the ways, in addition to serving on a committee, is to run for and if elected, serve on the Board of Directors.

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.

For information on Board requirements, please visit the co-op’s web site, www.pcec.coop and review the by-laws in the About section. Then call Ms. Kinard, 628-3121 and let her know of your interest.

A member of the nominating committee will discuss the requirements and time commitment involved with serving on the board.

The final deadline to appear on the ballot for the 2018 election is April 20.

The annual meeting this year is May 10.

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

 

Interested in serving on the Focus Group?

We think what you have to say is fascinating.

We think you’d be great on the focus group.

The group will discuss co-op activities and marketing campaigns, for example, and provide feedback and member insight.

Ideally, we’ll have a representative mix of older and younger members from across the co-op service area–generally Weston to around Richmond and Hwy. 152 to Cameron.

It’s a fast-paced evening that starts with a meal at 6:00 p.m. and discussion until 8:30 p.m. at the latest. The group meets quarterly and members of the group receive a $50 stipend.

If it sounds interesting, there’s a form on the web site, www. pcec.coop or call the office, 628- 3121, and we’ll mail one to you.

 

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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