Northland Connection

October 2017

Platte-Clay Northland Connection Newsletter October 2017

Who Powers You Contest

Touchstone Energy Cooperative LogoHonor a co-op member for a chance to win a cash prize

  • First Prize $5,000
  • Second Prize $2,000
  • Third Prize $1,500

Touchstone Energy, a national alliance of more than 700 rural electric cooperatives, including Platte-Clay, is sponsoring a contest to honor local co-op members who are making a positive impact on their community.

The individuals nominated must be a rural electric cooperative member and be a local hero–an individual who is making a difference in our community.

To enter, co-op members will need to share a digital photo of their nominee and provide a short description of how the individual makes a difference.

Co-op employees are not eligible, but may submit a nomination.

The 2016 finalists included:

  • Two women, Karli Crenshaw and Brittani Clegg, who started Grass Roots Rescue, a nonprofit, volunteer organization that rescues and finds homes for displaced animals in Delaware and Maryland. They are members of Delaware Electric Cooperative.
  • The Morris family, of Whitesville, Ky., has been building wheelchair ramps and making homes wheelchair accessible through an organization called the Angels for Ashley Foundation.
    In addition, the Morris’s have raised $200,000 for other organizations that support local families, St. Jude, Trinity High School and a Haiti mission. They are members of Kenergy Corp., a rural electric co-op based in Marion, Ky.
  • The Southwells, of Hondo, Texas, have spent more than a decade helping neglected and abused kids.
    They also formed an organization called Helping Abused and Neglected Kids — HANK — to help place the children in foster homes. In addition, the couple built foster homes to provide shelter and protect children in their town.

Primary eligibility:
To enter, you must be the legal age of majority where you reside and a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident. Any individual nominated in your entry also must be the legal age of majority in his/her place of residence and a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident.

By nominating an individual, you:
(1) represent and warrant that you have the individual’s permission to feature the individual and his/her name, image, and/or likeness in your entry, and
(2) the individual has granted permission for your entry to be publicly posted in any form, manner or media and for Touchstone Energy to use your entry and the individual’s name, image, or likeness for any commercial or non-commercial purposes.

There is one entry per person and the deadline is Nov. 4. Visit www.whopowersyou.com for the complete rules and entry form.

 

Co-op Month – a reason to celebrate

Dave Deihl Platte-Clay Electric Coop General Manager

Dave Deihl
General Manager

From the General Manager

In a digital age, when our children and some of us of a certain age are called digital natives—those who have always had cell phones and computers—a rural electric cooperative may seem old fashioned. But Platte-Clay delivers the best of both worlds–old fashioned, yet nimble and tech savvy when it comes to providing high quality member services.

It’s part of our value structure, it’s part of our heritage.

Platte-Clay is old fashioned in that when a member calls in with an outage, a crew goes out to restore service, day or night, no matter the weather.

Old fashioned in that Platte-Clay’s members elect other members to serve on the Board of Directors. These members aren’t outsiders making important decisions on our behalf—they’re our friends and neighbors who have gone to work to learn about the industry and each month review co-op activities and make important decisions on our behalf.

Recently the Board of Directors and staff met to conduct a thorough top-down analysis and review of the co-op’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, abbreviated in business circles to SWOT.

Out of more than 200 items, the management group narrowed its focus to a three-year plan that will include objectives to meet these goals:

  • Focus on and enhance the culture of safety within Platte-Clay
  • Craft and implement a plan focused on developing and sustaining a long-term, quality workforce
  • Review and recommend changes to the long-range financial plan, providing strategic guidance on equity, financial coverage ratios, plant investment and capital credit distribution
  • Develop and implement a plan focused on maintaining and/or improving the long-term reliability of electric service for all members
  • Create and execute a plan focused on increasing the co-op’s involvement with all communities within its service territory
  • Perform an overview of present and potential affiliated businesses

I’m pleased to say that in general, Platte-Clay is doing a really good job, and we see that in the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey scores that members give the co-op.

We want to build on our strengths as we move to meeting the needs and expectations of co-op members by integrating technology and becoming a stronger, more efficient and more resilient utility.

By being aligned with the membership, by managing costs, by looking ahead and planning for the future, your co-op will continue to meet its promise to deliver low cost, reliable service and, in a digital age, embracing technology to provide the speed, convenience and service that digital natives, and in fact, all of us expect.

We think that’s a lot to celebrate. Happy Co-op Month.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at generalmanager@pcec.coop.

 

Reduce demand and save

Save money by reducing demand, by not using as many “plugs” or items at the same time.

By pulling out demand and billing accordingly, families now can determine when and how they create high demand. For those who want to reduce costs, it’s an easy change.

For other families, it’s a constant challenge to manage the household schedule.

For those who like to review costs and play around with how to save, we suggest using the demand calculator on the co-op web site, www.pcec.coop There’s a link from the home page.

The demand calculator includes summer and winter appliances and devices to help get a reasonable picture of household demand.

The bottom line on how to reduce demand is to simply not use all appliances or devices at the same time. Please feel free to call the office, 628-3121, or stop by if you have questions or concerns.

 

Co-op Month

Co-op Month is a good time to acknowledge, appreciate and remember how a co-op operates and benefits its members.

Every year at the annual meeting we see many of the 7 Cooperative Principles in practice, others aren’t as apparent.

1Voluntary and Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.

3Members’ Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership.

Members Running For Board Of Directors

Co-op principles by the numbers. Above, 1, Co-op members running for the Board of Directors. L-R: Debi Stewart, North District; Robert Ray, West District; and Gary Shanks and George Schieber, both South District. The co-op attorney, Chris Kirley, ran the election.

Paper Ballots And Capital Credit Checks

Above left, 2, Members used paper ballots for the election. Above right, 3, Members picked up capital credit checks at the annual meeting.

4Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

5Education, Training and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

6Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.

Power Contract Requires Lowest Energy

Our power contract requires lowest-cost energy from Associated.

Lathrop Career Day

Lathrop Career Day

Restore Electric Service After March Tornado

Crews from area co-ops came in to rebuild lines and help Platte-Clay restore service after the March tornado. This is near Lathrop.

Planting Trees At Smiths Fork Campground

Platte-Clay employees planted 25 trees at the Smith’s Fork Park Campground near the Smithville dam as part of the co-op’s 2017 community service project.

 

Because parents can’t be everywhere

Securtiy Hardware Provider

There’s always something going on with technology, and your co-op tends to be right there working to integrate it into its operations.

Alarm.com, the co-op’s security hardware supplier, has added two-way audio to its indoor wi-fi cameras and that capability now is available to PCEC Security customers.

Aging parent home alone?

Kids bring home an extra friend or two and playing video games instead of doing homework?

Want to know what caused the sound of breaking glass?

Now it’s possible for parents, homeowners and businesses to better monitor activities from anywhere.

The new audio feature uses the Alarm.com mobile app which allows customers to hear sound and respond via the camera.

Customers without cameras may call in to have the advanced cameras and audio feature installed.

Customers with video-only cameras who wish to upgrade will need to:

Log into your personal Alarm.com home page. Click on video devices. Click on Video Device information. Check to make sure the firmware version is greater than IP8168 ALAM0 100 B9 to add the video plus voice capabilities. Depending on the internet provider, the advanced service may require additional bandwidth.

For additional information, assistance or to upgrade the security system, call 816-628-3121.

 

Demand meter changeouts to continue through 2019

Digital MetersPlatte-Clay crews will continue changing out the old meters for new digital models, shown here. The new meters use the same technology as the older meters, so only the meter needs changing.

The new meters have additional features that will allow the co-op to improve internal billing efficiencies.

To minimize the cost of changing out some 20,000 meters, crews are working between maintenance activities and service calls, which take precedence.

The co-op anticipates the work will continue through 2019. Crews always wear co-op clothing and drive official, marked co-op vehicles.

Members do not need to be at home as all work is done outside of the home. Employees will need access to the meter location.

 

Directors’ Corner

Oh, the places you’ll go

Debi Stewart

Debi Stewart
Board President

Dr. Seuss was right: “The more that you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

For your Board of Directors, an August retreat held on site in Kearney was an adventure in learning about Platte-Clay’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats — commonly called SWOT.

Using the process of identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, SWOT, is one of the ways organizations develop a plan for moving into the future—the more places we’ll go together as a co-op, blending in new technology, member interests and maintaining a strong financial operation.

Most of us don’t give the industry a second thought—we don’t have to–because when we flip the switch we have electricity.

But there’s a lot going on and I am happy to report that your Board and your co-op management are involved and working on your behalf.

The engineering, finance, human resources, information technology, member services and operations staff, along with the general manager, were on hand to share information and to be a part of the priorities and co-op goal setting.

Some of the discussion included current topics such as cyber security; the effect of distributed generation, which in other businesses would be called “churn,” or losing customers; the possible effect of electric vehicles on the grid, the price of wholesale power.

Opportunities your Board will be reviewing and learning more about include future trends in energy, opportunities in technologies, implementing member digital communications, and working to keep abreast of innovations in our industry that benefit co-op members, especially helping control costs and continuing to deliver the lowest-cost electricity.

While there were a number of topics, the management group distilled them into a funnel with the top priority the Industry Update, followed by developing a Mission Statement, prioritizing the SWOT items followed by Strategic Issues. From this staircase of topics, your Board will develop goals. Staff will help craft a plan and way to monitor objectives on the way to meeting the co-op goals.

This won’t be a S.P.O.T.S.—a Strategic Plan On The Shelf; it will be a working, lively document incorporated into the co-op’s business plan.

Going forward and making progress toward reaching these goals will be success markers for both the co-op, as a nonprofit rural electric cooperative, and the membership as power consumers.

 

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.

Posted in: Newsletters

Leave a Comment (0) ↓

Leave a Comment