Northland Connection

November 2016

platte-clay northland connection newsletter november 2016

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

The Platte-Clay offices will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday Nov. 24-Nov. 25
Emergency service available – 816-628-3121. Emergency or large outage info on Facebook.
Web site available for local and state outage info, general info and shopping – www.pcec.coop

 

November – a month for transitions

Message From CEO

Mike Torres

From the CEO

It is the month for transitions, and even more noticeable for a number of reasons this year.

First, we’ll have a new president, a new governor and other elected officials who will take their place in our city halls, county offices, in Jefferson City and in Washington, D.C.

Second, here at Platte-Clay beginning in November, members will see the new three-part billing: the customer charge, $25.38; the energy charge, figured at the lower rate of $.079 per kWh; and the demand charge, figured at $2.50 per kW.

The November bills will be determined by October usage as usual—no changes here.

Breaking out demand is the fairest way to bill all co-op members—as your co-op pays for wholesale energy based on demand.

If you want to manage your electric bill, this method can accomplish that—even a lower electric bill.

And third, as members may have read in the local newspapers, the Platte-Clay Board of Directors named Dave Deihl, a long-time employee Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. We’ll be working together for a few months to ensure smooth sailing.

Dave has held a number of positions with increasing responsibilities in the Member Services area. His latest title was Communications and Marketing Manager, a staff position, or the equivalent of a vice president in other companies.

Please join me in congratulating Dave on his new role with your co-op.

We expect that members will see little change at Platte-Clay.

The co-op focus will continue to be on excellent and responsive customer service, reliable electric service and a commitment to the Northland—our home.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Dave or me.

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

 

Platte-Clay offers student opportunities

Youth Tour
Sophomore and junior high students can earn a trip to Washington, D.C. by writing or producing a video on “How Co-ops Benefit the Community.” There are six winners, with two going to Washington, D.C. and four winning a trip to a leadership conference held in Jefferson City, Mo.

Successful students generally result from the essay or video assigned as a class project, although home school students working at the sophomore or junior level also have won the trip.

There are a number of resources readily available, starting with the Platte-Clay web site, www.pcec.coop, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Assoc. (NRECA) web site and our friend in the computer, Google. Deadline for the video / essay is January 12.

Questions, or if your school would like a presentation, write mail@pcec.coop

Scholarships
Platte-Clay will award three $1,000 scholarships for students with a GPA of 2.5 or better who are permanent residents in the co-op’s service area: Buchanan, Caldwell, Clay, Clinton, Platte or Ray Counties. Students will be selected from each co-op district.

Scholarship form, details and requirements are on the co-op web site, www.pcec.coop

 

Sensible shopping, no crowds

The economy is doing well. The job report is generally positive and there’s virtually no inflation. It’s not a very exciting time to be a business reporter.

And for consumers, that excellent news.

That means it’s a good time to take a deep breath and focus on our homes. Platte-Clay can help with valuable rebates, with an energy audit to determine a home’s efficiency and other products to make life easier.

Gift cards
The thing about families is that sometimes topics, such as finances, are difficult subjects. One way to avoid that is gift cards, prepaying, or simply taking over paying for electric service. That way mom or dad aren’t left in the dark when they forget to make a payment or their retirement check doesn’t quite cover all expenses. Gift cards for electric service and for Platte-Clay Fuels are available in whole dollar amounts.

Generators
Although Platte-Clay has a high reliability rating, it’s very comforting to know that in a few seconds a humming generator could kick in to keep a household running if the power went out.

kohler generator
Kohler generator keeps the power on through stormy weather.

The Farmer’s Almanac says we’ll have freezing cold and average snowfall in 2017. But even a thin coating of ice on electric lines can weigh them down, pulling poles over and damaging other aerial equipment.

Rebuilding electric lines is an exacting job, and certainly slower and more difficult when the wind chill is below zero.

While many families are prepared to handle a storm outage and are prepared for indoor camping, others are not or can not.

And in that event, Platte-Clay, which represents Kohler Generators, can provide a turnkey installation. Platte-Clay will help determine the proper size and best location and work with a homeowner’s schedule. While a generator is pretty big to fit under a tree, in the house, anyway, or in a Christmas stocking, it does make a great gift.

LED lights
While these lights aren’t cheap to purchase, they’ll last for years. And years. And years. Plus they’ll help save on energy costs.

For example, the equivalent of a 100 Watt incandescent light bulb is a 16 Watts LED bulb—saving members 84 Watts of energy per bulb. Or put another way, we can use six 100 LED bulbs for the same amount of energy—cost—as one 100 Watt incandescent light.

LEDs come in a variety of sizes for household applications. And more good news, they’ll work in cold weather, so dusk-to-dawn floodlights also will be cheaper.

Ritchie Waterers
There’s nothing quite like a nice hot, steaming cup of coffee on a cold morning. And nothing much worse than bundling up and carrying an axe out to a water tank or pond to break the ice so the livestock can have water.

It could be time for a Ritchie Waterer.

horses at ritchie waterer
Energy efficient Ritchie Waterers provide fresh water year around.

At a certain point the love of the outdoors and gazing across a field dotted with cattle or horses begins to fade with the rigor of daily chores. Plus there’s the time factor, which includes age.

To make life easier for everyone, livestock included, an energy-efficient Ritchie Waterer will keep animals in fresh water. The highly-insulated units come in various sizes, from ones to serve stalls to large units to use in a pasture.

Platte-Clay can get any size and help with installing the underground water and electric lines to the unit.

Water heaters
It’s a sad day when we turn on the shower and lukewarm or cold water comes out, especially in the winter. It’s usually one of two things: too much demand for the water heater to keep up or an aging unit.

marathon water heaters
Energy efficient Marathon water heaters come in a variety of sizes and with a lifetime guarantee on the tank.

Long showers are a subject for each family to handle, especially those with teens. This year, the promise of enough hot water might be enough to keep your kids happy to find a water heater with a red bow on it.

A water heater generally will last between 8 years on the early side for a gas water heater, 10 years for an electric unit and up to 12 or 15 years on the high side. But unlike shopping for a lot of things, there’s little joy in selecting a tan or gray cylinder priced at either side of $1,000.

If a new water heater seems like the solution to not enough hot water, Platte-Clay has special pricing for members and can arrange for installation through The Water Heater Guy, a licensed electrician and plumber.

The water heaters require a three-year service agreement.

Water heater service agreement
This probably isn’t on anyone’s holiday shopping list, but for those who have everything, having one less thing to worry about makes sense. The $90, three-year service agreement will cover existing water heaters for parts, tank and labor costs. The contract is on the co-op web site, www.pcec.coop, in the Energy Products section.

Plus, the co-op has considerable product information on the web site, www.pcec.coop and products and product samples at both offices, 15055 Bethel Rd., Platte City and 1000 W. State Route 92, Kearney.

 

Closed for the Holiday

pumpkin pieThe Platte-Clay offices will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday Nov. 24-Nov. 25. Emergency service available – 816-628-3121. Emergency or large outage info on Facebook. Web site available for local and state outage info, general info and shopping – www.pcec.coop

 

Let’s be safe during Extension Cord Season

extension cord seasonThanksgiving is the beginning of Extension Cord Season, which we commonly call the Holiday Season. And it’s not without its perils: one of the prime causes of electrical fires is extension cords—more than 3,000 a year. ESRI has these safety tips for using extension cords.

Don’t plug one extension cord into another. Get one the correct length.

Don’t overload extension cords. Use cords rated to handle the wattage of the devices they serve.

Use indoor extension cords indoors and outdoor extension cords outdoors.

Don’t overload an extension cord—they can get overheated and cause a fire.

Don’t run extension cords under rugs, through walls, ceilings or floors. If the cord is covered, the heat will build up and create a fire hazard.

Use cords approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory, branded UL.

Thick, round, low-gauge extension cords match up to larger appliances. Smaller appliances can use thin or flat cords.

Never remove the grounding pin to make an extension cord work in a two-prong outlet.

Never tape, staple or nail an extension cord.

Unplug extension cords when not in use.

And last, but not least, throw away damaged cords.

 

November Platte-Clay bills show demand

Demand is the new line item on page 2 of November bills showing Platte-Clay’s new billing structure. The energy amounts are based on October usage; the demand amount is based on half of a member’s peak demand or the current demand, whichever is more.

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. Demand is how much energy we “demand” when we use multiple devices at the same time.

The November bills also reflect a 4 percent rate increase. While the rate structure change was calculated to be revenue neutral, a rate increase of 4 percent was necessary to cover wholesale rate increases.

A demand calculator and frequently-asked questions are on the web site, www.pcec.coop. Please call 628-3121 if you have questions.

 

New rates effective November

Demand – $2.50/kW – Energy – .079 /kWh

Rates effective with November bills, October usage

Platte-Clay members will see changes beginning with this month’s bills. October usage is being billed at the lower rate of .079 per kWh. The customer charge remains the same at $25.38.

New, the November bills will be the first to break out demand, based on 50 percent of the highest peak demand or the most recent actual demand.

Peak demand as well as the current month’s demand is shown as a line item on the bill. Members are billed at the higher of the two amounts.

The co-op energy rate dropped from an average of just under 9 cents/kWh to a flat $.079 per kWh. The more expensive first 200 kWh energy block has been discontinued.

Platte-Clay determined that moving to a three-part billing structure would give members more control of their bills by breaking out demand and showing members the energy impact of their household.

In the past, the entire co-op’s demand charge was simply averaged across all member’s bills and included in the kWh charge, no matter which household(s) created the most or least demand.

Now, for most members, separating demand from energy costs will have minor impact on monthly charges, especially since the demand cost already had been included in our monthly bills.

And there’s more good news. The co-op no longer will have two blocks of energy charged at .11/ kWh for the first 200 kWh and .0816/ kWh for all energy above 200 kWh; the flat energy cost will be .079/kWh.

The new lower rate of $.079/ kWh includes the co-op’s overall rate increase of 4 percent to cover wholesale rate increases and determined through 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, available on the web site, www.pcec.coop Click on Services and then Demand Calculator.

Members with questions or without computers may stop by either office for assistance.

 

call before you dig

 

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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