Celebrating membership during National Co-op Month October marks the time all cooperatives join together to celebrate National Co-op Month. We really mean we are celebrating those we serve. After all, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative wouldn’t exist without you, our members. Our core business purpose is to serve as your electricity provider, but the larger mission of the coop is to help make our corner of the world a better place. “Concern for community” is one of seven guiding principles that all co-ops share. Similar to how our wires run through our service territory, our concern for community flows through all of our decisions — because being a co-op means being a responsible partner and good neighbor. Because our board members and directors are local, we understand our community’s unique needs and strive to help meet them. We’re proud to support local youth through our Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., and scholarship program. With the help of members who enroll
their accounts in Operation Round Up®, NAEC provides scholarships to local high school graduates. We partner with and support area charitable organizations, chambers of commerce and school programs, especially through the Sole Power Project that gives a pair of athletic shoes to each third grade student in our 12 public school districts. The word “cooperative” is close to “cooperation,” meaning people working together toward a common goal; that’s the essence of the co-op spirit. Above all, as a co-op, we put our members’ priorities first. As your trusted energy partner, we know that saving energy and money is important to you. That’s why we have programs in place to help, including the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Loan Program and energy audits. NAEC constantly examines ways to operate more efficiently while continuing to provide the highest level of friendly, reliable service you deserve. We’re your co-op. We were built by the members we serve.
Electric cooperatives were created to serve our members. Because we’re a co-op, we’re able to adapt to our community’s unique needs. That’s the power of co-op membership. OCTOBER IS NATIONAL CO-OP MONTH
Boost cybersecurity awareness to protect your data October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, but good cyber hygiene should be practiced year-round. Here are four ways to protect your devices and data: 1. Enable multifactor authentication. Also known as two-step verification, multifactor authentication adds a second step when logging into an account, which greatly increases the security of the account. This second step could include an extra PIN, answering an extra security question, a code received via email or a secure token. 2. Use strong passwords and a password manager. Remember, passwords are the “keys” to your personal home online. Your passwords should always be long, unique and complex. Create passwords using at least 12 characters, never reuse passwords for multiple accounts, and use a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters. If you have many
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accounts, consider using a password manager to store them easily and securely in one place. 3. Update software. Regularly updating software is one of the easiest ways to keep your personal information secure. Most companies provide automatic updates and will send reminders so you can install the update. If you’re not receiving automatic software updates, set a reminder to do so quarterly. Be aware that some cyber criminals will send fake updates; these typically appear as a popup window when visiting a website. 4. Recognize and report phishing attacks. Most phishing emails include offers that are too good to be true, an urgent or alarming tone, misspellings and poorly-crafted language, strange requests or an email address that doesn’t match the company it’s coming from. If you suspect a phishing attempt, take a minute to report it to your email service.
Capital credit certificates mailed to NAEC members
Research before going solar North Arkansas Electric Cooperative encourages members to analyze the pros and cons before buying or leasing a solar facility. Questions to consider in advance include: • Is the estimated energy savings worth the investment? • Do the estimated savings from the solar vendor use NAEC’s kWh rates and factor in NAEC’s minimum daily charge? • Is it more cost-effective to invest in other energy-saving measures, such as a new air-source heat pump or more insulation? • Do I understand the net-metering billing process outlined in NAEC’s tariff approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission? (View at naeci.com/solar.) • Is the solar vendor licensed and insured? • Can the solar vendor provide references? • Does the desired spot for the panels receive adequate sunlight? • Is there a large upfront payment? • What would the cost be to remove and reinstall panels if a roof must be replaced? • Are there ongoing maintenance fees? • How long is the warranty for the panels, inverter and other components? How long has the solar installer and solar manufacturer been in business? • Are there rebates or other financial incentives available? • Do I plan to remain in my home through the length of the loan? Will I reap the benefits of the investment? • How will it affect my property insurance?
Members who had electric service with North Arkansas Electric Cooperative in 2021 will receive their capital credit certificates for that service in the mail in mid-September. These certificates are notices only and cannot be cashed or used as credit against electric bills. They are the co-op’s way of informing each member of the amount assigned to his or her account in capital credits for the year. The cooperative business structure is different from most. NAEC does not return the money earned to an unknown investor or stockholder. Cooperative profits, called margins, are assigned to members, the owners, who are also users of the co-op’s services. These margins are assigned on a prorated basis according to the amount of electricity used during the year in question. When and how much of capital credits are refunded depends on the co-op’s financial condition. The decision to refund capital credits is a complex one because margins represent system equity. This equity is essential to the co-op’s financial strength. If NAEC returns too much of the system’s equity as capital credits, then it could jeopardize the co-op’s standing with lending agencies. It also would mean the co-op is refunding capital used as funds for construction. Without these internally generated funds, the co-op would have to increase borrowing, increasing interest costs and the cost of providing service. On the other hand, if NAEC kept all margins year after year and built up a high equity level, we rightfully could gain the reputation of acting like a private utility rather than a cooperative owned by members. The balance in a properly maintained equity/capital credit program lies somewhere between those two extremes. The NAEC Board of Directors and staff strive to maintain that proper balance.