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Power Lines JU N E

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Kilowatt hours piling up? High energy users could be hiding in your home

Power Lines

By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing/Communications Specialist The weather in 2012 so far has been relatively mild compared to previous years. However, some members of Powder River Energy Corporation haven’t noticed a significant savings in their energy bills. Many PRECorp members have noticed an increase in their bills in 2012 through the Cost of Power Adjustment. A new adjustment was applied in January to cover increased energy costs from PRECorp’s power supplier, Basin Electric. Homes using 1500 kWh per month saw a monthly increase of approximately $10. The higher bills could also be tied to increased kilowatt hour usage. PRECorp representatives are happy to discuss individual electricity usage and evaluate the factors that contribute to what becomes your monthly electric bill. The following are a few ideas to consider that may contribute to increased usage in your home. Compare your kilowatt hour usage to previous months and previous years. If you have installed a new electric heating system in your home, but your monthly kWh usage isn’t showing the results you hoped for, talk to your heating system dealer about the Energy Star label on the unit. Have them explain what their numbers mean. Compare the monthly cost of the unit to the system you have replaced. Did you replace a propane heating system with electric? Compare your former annual propane costs to the cost of running the new heating system. Your electric heating system

might be cheaper over the year compared to annual propane costs. Electricity costs vary month-by-month because of several factors. The typical electric furnace runs about 15 minutes every hour, 24 hours a day during the coldest winter months of January and February. A 20kw central heating unit in a 2,000 square-foot home uses about 2,800 kWh per month. Weather and outside temperatures are key factors, but it doesn’t have to be bitterly cold outside to cause the heater to kick on. If your thermostat is set for a higher temperature, the heater could turn on and stay on longer than if it was set to a lower temperature. Place thermostats on inside walls away from windows and doors. This will shield the units from drafts and false readings in cold zones. Programmable thermostats provide a higher level of accuracy and turn on the heat when you tell it to. If a heater continues to run improperly, have a system technician check for a faulty thermostat or malfunctioning equipment. Check and replace your furnace filters at least once a month during the winter to ensure your unit isn’t working harder than necessary. During the summer, a central air conditioning unit will use about onethird the electricity as a heating unit in the winter. This equates to about 720 kWh per month. The average 50-gallon electric water heater runs about 3 hours per day every day, and uses 410 kWh per month. However, during cold winter

months, heat loss from the tank and colder water flowing into the tank can result in higher usage. An insulation jacket can make a difference. Water heaters can also be overworked if the thermostat is set too high or not working properly. Electrical inefficiencies can also be traced to space heaters, improper use of extension cords, damaged cords, faulty wiring, or lightning damage. Sometimes it is just the nature of the appliance that ends up using more electricity than it appears. Electric water-pressure pumps will run overtime if there are underground water leaks or pressure tank problems. A dehumidifier unit uses approximately the same kWh as a central air conditioner. A hot tub will chalk up nearly 600 kWh per month in usage. The larger plasma and LCD screen televisions consume about 300 kWh per month. That’s more than a refrigerator, clothes washer and dryer, and lights will account for in the same month. Keep an eye out for other hidden users of electricity in your home that you have added in the past month or the past year. Think of whether you had house guests using more hot water, a construction project, or other out-of-the-ordinary activity that may have bumped up your usage for that month. PRECorp staff members have experience and practical advice about energy usage. Call 1-800-442-3630 for more information, or go to www.precorp.coop.

POWDER RIVER ENERGY CORPORATION 221 Main Street • P.O. Box 930 • Sundance, WY 82729 1-800-442-3630 • Report an Outage: 1-888-391-6220

The PRECorp Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, August 25, at the Clarion Inn Convention Center in Gillette, Wyoming.

www.precorp.coop

Need a ride to the meeting? Call 1-800-442-3630 to reserve a seat.


Watch for overhead power lines By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing/Communications Specialist When you are working with heavy equipment outdoors, remember that a dangerous threat to your life may only be a few feet away. Workers and property owners tend to focus on working safely on that piece of equipment, but sometimes forget about some of the blind spots surrounding them on site. Loaders, ladders and cranes have the potential to creep too close for comfort when it comes to power lines. Electricity can jump, or arc, from a power line to a person or equipment that is too close. That’s why safety officials at PRECorp urge people to keep themselves and their equipment a minimum of 10 feet of clearance. “Electricity flows through metal, wood, water, and many other conducting materials, including human beings—all in an effort to reach the ground,” said PRECorp Safety and Loss Coordinator Hoby Hughes. “Small birds can sit on power lines unhurt because they don’t create a path to ground. But you and your equipment do.”

Power Lines

Storing and piling any material (especially hay bales) isn’t recommended because it creates the dan-

ger of equipment lifting too high and getting into the line or knocking down a pole. “Working with bigger equipment near PRECorp’s power lines always presents heightened safety issues.” Hughes said. •

When working near overhead power lines, the use of non-conductive fiberglass ladders is recommended.

If an object (scaffolds, cranes, etc.) must be moved near overhead power lines, appoint a worker whose sole responsibility is to observe the clearance between the power lines and the object. Warn others if the minimum distance is not maintained.

Make sure you have ample clearance when moving large machinery such as combines, grain augers, pickers, balers, and frontend loaders. Do this every year as equipment sizes or soil conditions may change.

Store large equipment properly if near or under power lines. When planning new construction, factor in existing power lines.

Be extra careful when working around trees and brush; they often make it difficult to see power lines.

Never touch an overhead line if it has been brought down by machinery or has fallen. Never assume lines are dead.

When a machine is in contact with an overhead line, DO NOT allow anyone to come near or touch the machine. Stay away from the machine and contact PRECorp immediately.

If you should be in a vehicle in contact with an overhead power line, DON’T LEAVE THE VEHICLE. As long as you stay inside and avoid touching outside metal, you should avoid an electrical hazard. If you must exit the vehicle to summon help or because of fire, jump out without touching any wires or the exterior, keep your feet together, and hop to safety.

Notice: For the months of May through October, the past due notice will be used as the notification to PRECorp members that their service will be disconnected for non-payment.

HOLIDAY OFFICE CLOSURE: Powder River Energy Corporation offices will be closed Wednesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day holiday.

POWDER RIVER ENERGY CORPORATION 221 Main Street • P.O. Box 930 • Sundance, WY 82729 1-800-442-3630 • Report an Outage: 1-888-391-6220

www.precorp.coop

As an official publication of Powder River Energy Corporation, the purpose of Power Lines is to communicate to member/customers information concerning their electric cooperative, and the safe, efficient, and economical use of electric energy. Back issues of the Power Lines can be found on PRECorp’s website at: www.precorp.coop/company-and-news/precorp-publications/


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