Shading for energy savings
The south-facing windows and doors that warm the house in the winter, called passive solar or solar heat gain, works against us in the summer, heating up our homes and creating more work—and expense—for our air conditioners.
Summer is peak demand for Platte-Clay, and it will be the same for most members—on the hottest days, usually in July and August. South and west walls and attics will heat up and long after the sun has arced toward the horizon, heat will continue to radiate throughout the house.
Heat goes to the cold, and will be making its way into our homes through walls, down through ceilings, and through every crevice and opening, challenging our air conditioners to keep our homes at a comfortable temperature.
What’s a homeowner to do?
Spring is an excellent time to figure out short term and long term ways to use plants to shade our home.
First, find the south and west sides of your home and determine if it’s possible to plant on those sides of the building.
One of the quickest and most inexpensive ways to prevent summer heat gain is to plant vines on a trellis or arbor now to shade first-floor windows and help prevent solar heat gain.
We like morning glories because their blue-purple and white colors remind us of the Royals. Heavenly Blues, or Ipomoea tricolor (left), open in the morning. Also planting the vining moon flowers, Ipomoea alba, which open at night, provides a nice combination of the blue flowers in the morning and the pleasantly scented white flowers in the evening.
The vines are an annual in our plant zone range, Zone 5B to 6A, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
It’s possible to start morning glories indoors, and since they don’t like to have their roots disturbed, it’s best to plant in peat pots, biodegradable pots or pots made from newspaper or cardboard.
Both morning glories and moon flowers are fine in a sunny location with average, well-drained soil.
Although not necessary, for more blooms and larger plants, experienced gardeners suggest using an all-purpose fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, such as a 10-10-10. Mulch to keep the weeds down and to retain moisture.
A well-positioned trellis covered with morning glories, moon flowers or other vines will provide shade for south and west-facing windows and walls.
Place the trellis at least 6 inches away from the building to allow air circulation, good for your home and your plants.
Expect the morning glories to grow from about 6’ to as much as 15’ tall, depending on the variety.
For those interested in low maintenance plants, natives are a good bet. Specialty nurseries suggest these vining plants (common names): American Bittersweet; Blue Jasmine; Carolina Moonseed; Cross Vine; Dutchman’s Pipe-vine; Coral, Grape or Yellow Honeysuckle; Leather Flower; Passion Flower; Pitcher’s Leather Flower; Supple-jack; Trumpet Creeper, Virginia Creeper and Yellow Passion Flower.
In addition to colorful blooms and leaves, natives are especially beneficial to pollinators and birds.
For more information, a couple of resources include the Missouri Prairie Foundation, www.moprairie.org and Down to Earth, www.dtekc.com The closest recommended nursery that specializes in natives is Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, Jefferson City, www.mowildflowers.net
Taking care of your business
From the CEO
I am pleased to let you know that your co-op has completed its Cost of Service Study (COSS) and we now can announce the new rates that will take effect this fall.
Beginning in November, demand will bill at $2.50 per kW and the energy rate will drop to $.079 per kWh of all energy used. The customer charge will remain at $25.38.
November bills also will include the co-op’s rate increase of 4 percent, effective with October usage, in addition to the change in rate structure.
Note – Mike, I think we have to say that the overall co-op rate increase is 4 percent; otherwise when the bills come out and the rates are nearly 6 percent for some members we look dishonest.
Separating demand from consumption allows your co-op to drop the price-per-kilowatt from the two block rates of .11 for the first 200 kWh and .0816 for all energy above that block to one new, lower flat rate of .079 per kWh.
Beginning in November, bills will show three charges: a fixed customer charge of $25.38 a month; the demand charge and the energy usage for the past month.
There’s good news about this billing method: each member now will have an opportunity to manage their own demand to reduce their monthly bills based on the prior 11 month peak demand or current month peak demand. A rolling 12-months looking at the most current 12 month period of time.
Mike, how about –
There’s good news about this billing method. Each member now will have an opportunity to manage their own demand to reduce their monthly bills. Demand will be calculated based on the current month’s actual demand or 50 percent of the prior 11 months’ peak demand, whichever is greater. The COSS study indicates that more than 90 percent of members will be billed on their current month’s demand.
In addition to ensuring the co-op will continue operating on a sound financial basis, both COSS and staff analysis found that most members will see little change in the overall amount of the bills, as we already have been paying for demand averaged in with the energy component.
Beginning in November, it will be a matter of simply showing each member’s individual demand and billing each member accordingly.
Because it is a major change, and may be a bit of a challenge to understand, Platte-Clay will have several presentations with question-and-answer sessions before the annual meeting May 12. Doors open at 4:30 with a light meal, kids carnival, displays and the demand presentations, for those who receive the newsletter before May 12.
Later in the month following the annual meeting, your co-op also will hold a series of four community meetings to cover the new billing structure. The first meeting is May 19 at Elkhorn School; the second meeting is May 24 at Plattsburg Community Center; the third meeting is June 7 at the Platte-Clay Kearney office; and the fourth meeting at Platte City YMCA on June 14. Sessions will begin at 6:30 p.m. I hope to see you at the annual meeting May 12 or at one of the community meetings.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Learning about demand
Electric demand refers to the maximum amount of electrical energy that is consumed at a given time. Demand is measured in kilowatts, kW.
We tend to think of demand as “peak” demand, but it is fairly constant, with some spikes, for most members.
Beginning with November bills, October usage, we will be billed for our peak demand at $2.50 / kW. Members’ demand will be billed at the greater of the current month actual demand or 50 percent of peak actual demand established in the preceding months.
When we set a higher peak demand, we’ll be billed for half of the new peak at $2.50 / kW.
Peak demand isn’t about how much energy we use; it is about when the energy is used–how much is used at one time.
Comparing member demand
Learning about the load factor
Load factor is the average energy usage, or load–demand– divided by the peak load, called peak demand. A low load factor means a member’s home will have high peaks of energy use.
To manage peak and get a better ratio of load-to-peak demand, when possible, space out using appliances and other devices.
To see demand examples, visit the co-op web site, www.pcec.coop Click on Services and in the drop-down menu, Energy Demand Calculator.
At right, the lower box shows what a typical member’s bill could look like next November, based on October usage.
Visit www.pcec.coop, click on Services and Energy Calculator to find the estimated demand and monthly bill at the new rate, effective with November bills, October use. Members may stop by the office for assistance with estimating bills at the new rate.
Pull for Conservation Shoot
Geiger Shooting Range, St. Joseph
May 14 – Fun shoot — open to the public
Win prizes – fish fry lunch included
- 8-9 a.m registration
- 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. shooting
- Noon – Open lunch – fish fry (incl. in registration)
- 4 p.m. – Awards Ceremony
- Individuals $35 (50 clays)
- Two-shooter scramble team $50 (75 clays)
Bring a friend
Presented by the Northwest Missouri Electric Cooperatives
Atchison-Holt, Farmers’, Grundy, North Central Missouri, Platte-Clay, United and West Central
Supporting CMF’s conservation mission to protect our outdoor heritage and natural resources
Contact Rehan Nana (573) 634-2322 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-op schedules summer maintenance
Platte-Clay contractors and crews in well-marked vehicles will be working throughout the service area checking poles and changing out aging meters as part of the co-op’s routine maintenance program.
Platte-Clay employees will be changing out meters as their schedule permits. The meter changeout program is expected to run four to five years.
Platte-Clay’s contractor is Lee Pole Inspection, who inspected poles last summer.
The pole inspection crews will be working in the rights of way and following co-op lines.
The contractors will verify the equipment on the pole, the exact GPS coordinates and model and type of equipment.
Platte-Clay will compare the field work to the database and update it if necessary. Crews now have digital maps and use a robust database which helps restore service quicker.
While checking the poles and equipment, crews also will determine if the poles need to be replaced.
Members are encouraged to call the office anytime, 628-3121 if there are questions or any suspicious activity.
Platte-Clay announces new rates
Demand – $2.50/kW
Electric service – .079 /kWh
Rates effective with October usage, November bills
Platte-Clay members will see changes in their bills beginning in November based on October usage.
The co-op is moving to a three-part billing structure to give members more control of their bills by managing demand, currently a cost averaged across all co-op members.
For most members, separating demand from energy costs will have minor impact on monthly charges.
The co-op also has a new interactive calculator on the web site to show members the effect of using multiple household appliances at one time and how that can effect demand and the monthly bill.
Demand will be measured each month and billed on a monthly basis, based on the highest demand established over the past 11 months, a rolling look back and billed at $2.50 per kW.
The co-op no longer will have two blocks of energy charged at .11 for the first 200 kWh and .0816 for all energy above 200 kWh; the simplified energy cost will be .079 per kWh.
The new rate of $.079 includes the co-op’s overall rate increase of 4 percent determined by an extensive cost of service study.
The customer charge will remain the same, $25.38.
To help members learn about how billing separately for demand can affect bills, the co-op has developed an interactive calculator, which is available on the web site, www.pcec.coop Click on Services and then Demand Calculator.
Members without computers can stop by either office for assistance.
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.