2021 May NAECI Center Page

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north arkansas electric cooperative

A MESSAGE FROM MEL COLEMAN, NAEC CEO Retiring coal plants early could affect electric grid reliability February’s record cold spell not only caused heating systems to work overtime, but it also highlighted the drawback of relying too heavily on one source of electricity generation — in this case, natural gas. As a publicly traded commodity, the price of natural gas is dependent on supply and demand. During the week of Feb. 14, prices increased 10 to 100 times normal as supplies decreased due to frozen wells in Texas and Oklahoma and demand increased across several states. Because of this potential for volatility, NAEC’s wholesale power provider Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation strives to maintain a diverse portfolio of generation resources to limit the impact such spikes in one fuel source can create. AECC has three hydroelectric generating stations as well as purchase power agreements for biomass, wind and solar energy that total more than 18 percent of its portfolio. Renewable sources of electricity are beneficial and increasing in use (in large part due to tax subsidies), but we cannot rely on them to deliver electricity to members 24/7. As we know, wind often stops, and the sun always sets. For reliability’s sake, we must maintain baseload generation delivered to the electric grid by natural gas and coal plants. In recent years, though, we are having to rely more on natural gas for baseload and less on coal plants as many face early retirement spurred by government emissions regulations and/or lawsuits from environmental groups. In Arkansas alone, 3,200 MW of coal generation is set to retire by 2030. The prices and grid instability we saw in February should be a wakeup call to how vital natural gas and coal are for baseload generation. NAEC will continue to advocate a mix, so we can provide you affordable, reliable electricity. 22

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Disconnect moratorium ends May 3 The Arkansas Public Service Commission announced the lifting of its disconnection moratorium March 26. With the year-long moratorium ending, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative will resume disconnecting for nonpayment May 3. NAEC wants to avoid interruption of service for members with outstanding balances. Those who cannot pay the full balance may enter a COVID19-related delayed payment arrangement. They may call 870-8953221 during the co-op’s business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or complete the form at naeci.com/coviddpa. To avoid disconnection, NAEC requests members who accrued outstanding balances in the past year to contact NAEC now either to pay the balance or enter into a delayed payment arrangement.

Some third-party payment services mail NAEC a check. That can lead to NAEC receiving payments after the due date. Pay through NAEC’s free methods for the fastest processing.

To enroll in automatic bank draft, please call NAEC at 870-895-3221 during regular business hours or sign up through the Member Account Portal at naeci.com. Other NAEC payment methods include: • Member Account Portal — Go to naeci. com, click “Account Login” and enter user ID and password. If using for the first time, please click “New User” to get started. The system accepts payments from a checking or savings account and a debit or credit card. • NAEC Mobile App — Log in to an account using the free app. • Phone — Call 870-895-3221 to make a payment with a Member Services employee during business hours or any time through our automated system. • NAEC offices — Visit the Salem or Mountain Home drive-throughs 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, or use the night deposit box available at each office. (No cash please.) • Mail — Send a payment in the return envelope enclosed in the statement.

More co-op news on page 26


NAEC wants members to be aware of possible drawbacks to using third-party payment services. All payment methods provided by the co-op include no additional charge; however, many thirdparty payment services charge their users a fee. Also, some third-party payment services mail NAEC a check for the electric bill once a user pays them rather than using a direct payment method. Depending on when the payment is processed, this could lead to the co-op not receiving payments by the due date. NAEC offers several payment options. The most convenient is automatic bank draft. Enrolling in this free service ensures the bill is paid on time each month and eliminates the cost of a stamp or trip through the drive-through lane. Automatic bank draft is an electronic transfer from a member’s checking or savings account to NAEC’s each month. The member will continue to receive an itemized statement of the bill unless he or she prefers E-Bill notifications only. On or about the 10th of each month, the amount of the bill will be deducted from the account.



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Third-party payment services can lead to delays

north arkansas electric cooperative

Election to be held by mailed ballot

Generate Safely. Never use a portable generator indoors. Do not plug generators into standard electrical outlets. Use heavy-duty extension cords to connect appliances into the generator. Start the generator before connecting appliances.

Learn more at naeci.com/generator-usage.

NAEC will conduct the election for the open board of directors seat by mail again this year. Members will receive an envelope with the NAEC logo from Survey & Ballot Systems the second week of May. The Minnesota company is handling the election and tabulation of votes on behalf of NAEC. Along with the ballot, the envelope will include the 2020 Annual Report, candidate biography and prepaid postage return envelope to mail the ballot to Survey & Ballot Systems. Ballots cannot be given to NAEC. They must be mailed to Survey & Ballot Systems and received by June 1 to be considered valid. Director Jim Short is running unopposed for the open Fulton County position. Results will be published in The Messenger and naeci.com.


Annual Meeting to be business session only

IN GRATITUDE — NAEC’s offices will be closed May 31 in observance of Memorial Day. Personnel will be on call. Please call 870-895-3221 or use NAEC Mobile App to report an outage. 26 22

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For the safety of members and employees during the coronavirus pandemic, NAEC will not hold its traditional Annual Meeting format at the Fulton County Fairgrounds. The 2021 Annual Meeting will entail only a business session at the co-op’s Salem headquarters at 10 a.m. June 3. Masks and social distancing will be observed. Due to space limitations, attendance may be limited. Visit naeci.com for information on watching the meeting’s live-stream.