POWDER RIVER ENERGY CORPORATION
PRECorp News DECEMBER 2013
Electricity on the brain By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing Communications Why don’t they just make rubber light bulbs? Those are the kind of questions you will hear while teaching fourth graders about the properties of electricity and how it reacts with things around us. Recently, PRECorp brought an electricity safety and efficiency program to elementary schools in Crook and Weston counties. The program titled, “The Story Behind the Switch,” is relevant for students this age because they are getting more and more curious about how things work, says instructor Kimberly Kranz of Basin Electric. The fourth graders learn that electricity is “lazy,” always seeks the ground, and always travels on the outside of the wire. These basic concepts are the building blocks for the one-hour session. First and foremost, The Story Behind the Switch urges vigilance about the harmful effects of electricity upon the human body.
Photo by Tim Velder/PRECorp
A static electricity generator makes this Moorcroft student’s hair poof out in almost straight strands, defying gravity.
“There are no do-overs with electricity,” Kranz said. “What we really want the students to take home is that electricity is dangerous and is nothing to mess with.” Not only does she tell why, she shows why. Using simple everyday devices, Kranz shows how electricity travels through people, and how it is invisible but can show
About 20 minutes of the program is dedicated to questions from students and hands-on demonstrations. Supplementing the program are actual samples of high-voltage transmission line conductors and other hardware. Students can examine pulverized coal that is burned in power plants to generate electricity.
continued on page 8...
itself in obvious ways. Regular business: 1-800-442-3630 • Report an outage: 1-888-391-6220 www.precorp.coop
In This Issue CEO Straight Talk
Rate hearing set
Holiday office hours
COPA info for 2014
Vehicles for sale
PRECorp wins award
CEO Straight Talk
mike easley, CEO
I hope that your Thanksgiving Holiday was enjoyable and that you were able to spend time with family and friends. If you are like me the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a real blur as our lives take on even more busyness.
The good times, the bad times, and all those in between, are the gifts that we have been given.
If we are not really careful the world seems to exact a price on our energy levels and our inner peace. It might be that drive toward even more productivity out of our already hectic days. It might be the constant conflict we see due to our 24-hour cable news cycle, or maybe it’s a loss that we have experienced that we just can’t seem to fill. My hope for you is that you can spend some time between now and Christmas to recharge yourself. I often tell myself that the act of being quiet and taking a deep breath can be the most productive thing you can do for yourself. If you are going to try that, I suggest you turn off the TV as well. Who can breathe while people try to deliver the news to us while yelling at each other? For me, looking at the glass as half full seems to help deal with life’s setbacks. I realize that this is easier said than done. Another antidote that works for me in this is a practice that I call mindful gratitude. I keep a list of the things I am grateful for, and I pull that list out frequently, especially when my energy is waning and my peace is on the
ropes. I think about the “who” and the “why” of my gratitude list.
Working for you, here at PRECorp, is very high on my list of things I am grateful for. This is a great company and is staffed by an amazingly committed and talented group of people. I am so proud of them and what they do! They really show their stuff to you when times get tough and weather issues challenge us all, but they are even more than that. The PRECorp Mission reflects this a bit by identifying that we want to enhance the quality of life by providing leadership and service in our communities. I think the PRECorp Board really got things right by recognizing the roots of our success lies in the legacy of service to our communities. I think our Team gets this right, day in and day out as we not only keep the lights on, but we work hard to lift up our communities. As we draw closer to Christmas, and then to a New Year, let’s keep in mind that we are a community and as such we are all in this together. The good times, the bad times, and all those in between, are the gifts that we have been given. This gift of time is one that is precious. Let’s spend it wisely. Merry Christmas!
PSC sets hearing date for PRECorp rate increase filing By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing Communications The Wyoming Public Service Commission has set a public hearing for March 10-12, 2014, in Cheyenne to consider PRECorp’s filing for a general rate increase in 2014.
Service ($3 increase) and Large Power
the rates were rebased (meaning we ze-
Transmission ($400 increase). Irrigation
roed out the Cost of Power Adjustment
will see a $3 per horsepower increase to
(COPA) and put it into our base rates);
PRECorp filed documents in September totaling more than 400 pages, that outline its case for the increase.
kWh, and would see a bill increase of
PRECorp financial staff presented the information that shows a $6.98 million shortfall in revenues in 2014. To meet financial requirements, PRECorp is proposing a rate increase that will result in an overall increase of 3.91%.
was proposed for March 10, 2014, but
The amount of revenue needed from each rate class varies according to the Cost of Service Study, and so the percentage increase for each class will vary.
of the seasonally high January bill many
We are not planning to increase the basic charge on any rates except: General
in 2008. At that time PRECorp needed an
the horsepower charge of that rate. The “average” residential service uses 1,168 $8.17 per month. The planned effective date of the increase the effective date will likely be delayed because of the timing of the hearing. Although rate adjustments are traditionally implemented in January, the Spring 2014 date is intended to lessen the impact members see because of increased usage due to the weather and the Holidays. PRECorp’s last general rate increase was additional $569,452 in revenue. In 2011,
did away with the declining block rates in the residential class; and added an increased basic charge for non-standard services (requiring over 200 amps). Some rate classes saw an increase and some saw decreases to get them to the Cost of Service, but overall it did not produce any additional revenue for PRECorp. Check with www.precorp.coop for updates.
Questions about the proposed rate increase? Contact PRECorp Member Service at 1-800-442-3630; or go to www.precorp.coop.
Help Us, Help You:
Keep your account information current By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing Communications Keeping your account information upto-date helps us, help you. When outages occur, PRECorp relies on accurate phone numbers, account information and service descriptions. A service description is what you provide us to describe the location of your meter that is meaningful to you. An example description might be “stock well in north pasture.” For accounts with multiple addresses, such as corporate accounts, it helps us to know which one is the billing address and which one is the location ad-
dress. For rental properties and seasonal accounts, it is also important to keep account information current. Account information can be changed by reviewing your bill, writing your changes on the bill and mailing it back to PRECorp with your payment, or by calling one of our Member Service Representatives.
Medical necessity: If you have a disability or life-threatening condition that requires electricity, please notify PRECorp and provide a written statement from your physician.
Once a Medical Necessity Alert is noted on your account, PRECorp will make every effort to restore electrical service as soon as possible during an outage. However, PRECorp cannot guarantee power will be restored in a given time frame. Please make arrangements before any condition becomes critical.
Reminder: When you experience a power outage, be sure to call our specific outage number (888-391-6220) to report the outage. Don’t assume we know you are without power.
PRECorp selling surplus vehicles through online eBay auctions By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing Communications Eight retired PRECorp trucks are
chance to bid, regardless of where they
How to access the PRECorp units
available to purchase at special sur-
are located and because eBay auctions
plus PRECorp equipment auctions on
give more exposure for each unit to
1. Go to www.ebay.com/motors
eBay. These 10-day auctions will start
maximize the number of bidders.
2. Under “Find a car or truck,”
at 8 p.m. MST on Friday, December 6, and close at 8 p.m. MST on Monday, December 16. The auctions are being held on eBay to give all members a
The items listed in the PRECorp eBay auctions are: • 1 each -2005 Chevy one ton extended cab and chassis (56” CA) • 1 each -2006 Ford F150 crew cab pickup with short box • 1 each -2004 Ford F550 cab and chassis (engine and rear end no good) • 1 each -2006 Chevy pickup, extended cab with short box • 4 each-2008 Ford F350 extended cab and chassis
PRECorp Holiday office closings • Tuesday, December 24 • Wednesday, December 25 • Wednesday, January 1
Call 1-888-391-6220 to report an outage.
Details of each unit along with pictures will be on eBay at the start of the sale. Notice to bidders: Please obtain more information from eBay or e-mail email@example.com. These are the only sources of information on these items. Please do not inquire with our offices or outposts be-
check “Used” then type in the zip code 82718. Hit enter. 3. You will see “Distance” on left hand sidebar under Cars & Trucks Finder. Put in 10 miles of 82718. Click on the “Go” button. 4. There are other sorting options available on this page. 5. Click on the unit if you are interested in placing a bid. Keep
cause they do not have information on
checking back to make sure you
still have the high bid.
To place a bid: You do not need an eBay account if you
6. If you are looking for trailers, change pages by looking up “Other Vehicles & Trailers,” and
are not bidding, but you must have an
follow the same steps for refining
account and sign in if you want to bid.
the search on vehicles.
Once the auction ends, eBay will send out a notification to the winning buyer and PRECorp. At that point, PRECorp will e-mail the buyer with information on how to make contact, payment, and where to pick up the unit.
Beginning in December, PRECorp will offer a new and more diverse way to manage your electricity accounts. SmartHub will replace the E-bill format in the PRECorp system. You can now log-in through our precorp.coop website anytime and see the status of your bill. With the new SmartHub system, you can do some research on your own for your usage patterns, analysis, and bill comparisons. This secure system is also available for viewing on a mobile device such as a Smartphone, Tablet, or laptop computer. If you use the E-bill system, your December login will automatically take you to the new SmartHub area. If you haven’t used E-bill before, go to the top of the precorp.coop web page and sign in. The new SmartHub program enables you to view your information from practically anywhere, anytime. A nice feature of the new system is the availability of a FREE “App” you can put on your mobile device. Through SmartHub there will be opportunities to report outages, communicate with PRECorp staff, view usage history, and pay bills.
PRECorp expects to re-base COPA in 2014 By PRECorp Marketing Communications PRECorp is always striving to manage its costs while providing high-quality, competitively-priced electric power and services to our member-owners. The power we deliver to you is purchased from our wholesale power provider Basin Electric Power Cooperative. The cost of wholesale power is by far the greatest expense that PRECorp incurs each year. PRECorp uses the Cost of Power Adjustment mechanism, or COPA, to manage the impact of changes in the cost of that power when Basin changes its wholesale rates. It’s important to remember that the COPA only recovers the cost of power we buy from Basin, and does not pay for any other expenses of the Cooperative. There is good news about the 2014 Cost of Power Adjustment. Because Basin Electric’s wholesale power rates will stay the same in 2014, the COPA will not pass through any increased costs as a result of changes in the wholesale power rate charged by Basin Electric. COPA on the 2014 bills You will still see a COPA amount included in your bills in 2014. Wholesale power cost increases from Basin have resulted in current COPA revenue recovery of just over $34.2 million. In September, PRECorp submitted a general rate filing to the Wyoming Public Service Commission which will re-base our rates to recover the current level of COPA revenue in the base rate. This re-basing will likely occur in April 2014. Until that time, we will continue to recover a portion of our current power costs through the existing COPA. Over-recovery adjustment The COPA application provides for the recovery of $34.2 million in wholesale power costs in 2014. It also includes an adjustment of $1.5 million for the over-recovery of power costs in 2013. The Cooperative can only collect revenue through the COPA to recover the cost of power from Basin. If COPA revenues exceed the cost of power purchased from Basin, the excess is returned to the membership in the COPA rates. The COPA analysis shows that $1.5 million was over-collected in the period between October 2012 and September 2013. This over-collection of $1.5 million, plus interest, will be returned to our members in the new COPA rate. The over-recovery in 2013 will reduce the amount of power cost recovered by the 2014 COPA to $32.7 million for the year.
January 2014 COPA
Large Power Transmission (LPT) Large Power Transmission–CBM(LPT-CBM) All Other Rate Classes
0.015288 0.014737 $(666,864) 0.013437 0.012620 $ (59,300) 0.010224 0.010233 $ 12,354
Total change in COPA Revenue $(713,810) As you can see below, the impact on a residential customer with various levels of average monthly usage will be very small, less than a penny in many cases:
Residential COPA Impact Average Monthly kWh 500 1000 1500 2000
Average $ Increase $0.005 $0.009 $0.014 $0.018
Percent Increase 0.008% 0.010% 0.011% 0.012%
When the COPA is re-based in April as part of the rate filing, you will continue to see an adjustment for the COPA on your bill. Although that filing will implement a general rate increase, the COPA will continue to pass back the over-recovery of power cost in the prior year until the entire amount is returned to the membership. Some members will see a credit in the COPA amount on their bill at that time. Three separate COPA factors are included in the application to the Public Service Commission, with Large Power Transmission and Large Power Transmission – Coal Bed Methane calculated differently than the other rate classes. The complete COPA, for which we will request an effective date of January 10, 2014, is summarized in the graphic on this page. You can visit our website, www.precorp.coop, and input your own monthly usage into a bill calculator, located on the appropriate page for your service type, to determine the change in the monthly bill resulting from the new COPA. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the implementation of the COPA we encourage you to call our offices at 800-4423630. We will do our best to answer your questions.
PRECorp achieves ‘Hall of Fame’ By PRECorp Marketing Communications PRECorp has recently been recognized for its outstanding work in strategy execution through the use of the Balanced Scorecard. On behalf of all of PRECorp and the PRECorp Board of Directors, CEO Mike Easley and COO/Deputy GM Les Penning accepted the award at the Palladium Group’s annual Global Summit in Boston October 30-31. The Hall of Fame award honors organizations that have achieved excellence in strategy execution through the use of the Balanced Scorecard, the world’s preeminent strategy management system. This framework was first published twenty years ago by cocreators Drs. Robert Kaplan and David Norton, founders of the Palladium Group, and has been used successfully in corporations, government entities, and non-profit organizations. In his acceptance speech Easley said: “It is an honor and a privilege for Les and I to accept this award on behalf of Powder River Energy Corporation, Wyoming’s largest Electric Coop-
PRECorp COO/Deputy GM Les Penning and CEO Mike Easley, center, accept the Hall of Fame award from Palladium founders Dr. Robert Kaplan, outside left, and Dr. David Norton, outside right. erative. As customer-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives serve 75 percent of the Nation’s land mass and over 40 million member owners. To the 12,000 member owners I work for in Wyoming, thank you for the opportunity to serve you. To the 155 people that work for Powder River Energy: Congratulations. You did this. Not me.”
Winners are selected from an applicant pool based on the quality of the Balanced Scorecard implementation and the results they received over a period of at least two years. Past honorees constitute 179 organizations from 35 countries around the world, including Cisco Systems, Merck, Infosys Technologies, and the FBI.
Powder River Energy retires $2 million in capital credits By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing Communications Just in time for the holidays, PRECorp will retire nearly $2 million in capital credits to its cooperative memberowners. Powder River Energy’s board of directors authorized the payment at its October meeting based on the sound financial condition of the cooperative. Capital credits are a major benefit of being a member of an electric cooperative. At the close of each fiscal year, all revenue received in excess of expenses is allocated back to the membership in
the form of capital credits. The amount of capital credits assigned to a member’s account is based on the amount of electricity purchased during the year. The total amount in a member’s capital credit account represents the value of ownership in the Cooperative. “Sharing is part of our electric cooperative values. Members share their opinions on how the cooperative should be run, and they share in the cooperative’s financial success. Returning capital credits puts money back into
communities,” said Board President Walt Christensen. This year’s capital credit retirement is being paid to approximately 14,600 customers who were members of the cooperative and received electric service in 1983 and 2012. Capital credit checks in excess of $20 will be mailed in mid-December. Members who have capital credits less than $20 will see the dollars applied as a credit on their December bill.
Electricity... from page 1. The program teaches children about conductors, current, insulators, voltage and other related topics, including electrical safety near water, kite flying and tree climbing safety precautions near power lines, and operating farm equipment near power lines. Kranz uses an electrical ball to show how a common CFL lights up without even touching the ball. This shows students that electricity can touch you, even if you aren’t touching a line.
The glass globe holds the electric current inside, but the electromagnetic field penetrates the glass and causes this CFL to light up.
Photos by Tim Velder/PRECorp
A “body battery” reader shows this Sundance student the number of microamps her body naturally produces.
As they learn about the exhaustive safety measures linemen use to do their work, students begin to understand that safety is an important thing to remember outdoors and indoors. A highlight of the session is when a student, generally a girl with light wispy hair, places their hand on a static electricity generator. It makes their hair poof out in almost straight strands, defying gravity without the use of hairspray. Special lesson plans are given to the teachers to assist with further study in their classrooms.
The hair-raising experience of static electricity is one of the highlights of the demonstration.
POWDER RIVER ENERGY CORPORATION
The hour long program teaches young people to be safe around electricity and discusses the various ways of generating electricity, the path electricity takes, and its value. The program travels across North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota and New Mexico and reaches more than 12,000 students a year.
Students don rubber sleeves, gloves, and eye protection to learn the safety measures linemen must take to avoid electrocution.
Regular business: 1-800-442-3630 • Report an outage: 1-888-391-6220 www.precorp.coop