PRECorp News NOVEMBER 2016
Letters of interest sought for Campbell County board seat A vacancy on the Powder River Energy Board of Directors has occurred with the resignation of Campbell County Director Tom Davis. The term expires on September 1, 2017, and the PRECorp Board of Directors is seeking letters of interest from Campbell County members who would be willing to fill out that term in 2017. Davis represented Campbell County as a Board officer and Board president during his service to the Tri-County and Powder River Energy boards for 26 years. “Tom’s leadership and contributions will be missed, however we respect his decision to pursue other interests,” said Board President Walt Christensen. Tom provided invaluable leadership as Board vice-president from 1993 to 1998, then as Board president from 1999 to 2011. He has been part of some major changes for our cooperative including the merger to form Powder River Energy, navigating the boom and bust energy economy, and most recently the inclusion of Fergus and Tongue River cooperatives as Class C members of Powder River Energy. The Board will review letters of interest at its regular meeting on Tuesday, November 15, in Gillette, and will conduct
interviews at the December 20 Board meeting in Sheridan. This seat will be filled at the January 17 meeting. The qualifications for a seat on the PRECorp Board of Directors are as follows: The applicant: 1. Must reside within the service territory of the Campbell County. However, members taking service outside Campbell County shall be deemed to be a member of and within the area served by the county closest to the nearest meter serving the members’ residence; 2. Must be a member receiving electric energy from PRECorp; 3. May not be in any way employed by or have a substantial financial interest in a competing enterprise or a business selling electric energy or supplies to PRECorp. The board of directors meets regularly on the third Tuesday of each month. Directors are expected to attend all regular monthly board meetings. Directors are also expected to attend all special board meetings, committee meetings, and PRECorp’s Annual Meeting. See “Vacancy” on page 5
In This Issue Regular business: 1-800-442-3630 • Report an outage: 1-888-391-6220 www.precorp.coop
Holiday office hours
CEO Straight Talk
2017 Scholarships announced
Billing cycle changes forthcoming
CEO Straight Talk
The month of November is going to be a very interesting month on so many different fronts. We will likely be experiencing the first taste of winter and the excitement that goes along with the start of our winter storm season.
MIKE EASLEY, CEO
costs is balanced with maintaining service quality goals. I am very proud of the Team for these efforts. Because of this, we will be going into 2017 a much leaner organization other is the than we were just one year ago.
Our political season will best way to respond to be reaching its pinnacle When things get tough it is these challenging times. of excitement with the tempting to lay blame on election of a new Presiothers, instead of assuming dent. My guess is that nearly half our country responsibility and resolving to be part of the sowill be unhappy with the outcome. Perhaps lution. many more will wonder why our country canâ€™t The employee team at PRECorp is a shining exproduce candidates that truly inspire and awe ample of taking responsibility and making good us with their core values. things happen. We were able to do this because In Wyoming, all these events are happening with a backdrop of financial difficulties for our State and for many of our members here in northeast Wyoming. As we move toward the end of November we will all try to set aside these distractions while we celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday. In times like these, feeling personally thankful may be very challenging. Times of great challenge are also times of great opportunity, but we have to be open to seeing and seizing opportunity. This past year has been especially difficult for PRECorp financially, and that difficulty translated into higher bills for electricity and a series of painful rate increases. In spite of these financial challenges the PRECorp Team has continued to look for ways to be even more efficient. The focus on reducing
of our values and our commitment to serve you, rather than to be served by you. Being of service to others is one of the best ways that I have found to push back the negativity and blame game that can happen when things get tough. It does not matter if the act of serving is big or if it is small. Serving each other is the best way to respond to these challenging times. As we reflect upon the passage of time this month and the many events that will unfold and eventually lead us to a day of national Thanksgiving, I hope we can all grow in our service to each other. I am grateful to each of you, and to the employee team here at PRECorp for the many opportunities given to me to serve. I am excited about our future and how we can all work together to make Powder River Energy and northeast Wyoming an even better place to be. Happy Thanksgiving!
PSC grants general rate increase: The Wyoming Public Service Commission voted on Friday, October 14, to grant PRECorpâ€™s requested revenue increase of $11.5 million. This rate increase will take effect for power usage beginning on January 1, 2017. For more information on the case, including audio files, documents, rate calculators, and ways to control your power usage, go to www.precorp.coop and click on the green 2016 Rate Case button.
Special bill this month? Here’s why: As a member of Powder River Energy, your OctoberNovember billing cycle is being extended a few weeks for a re-set of the billing process. For most of you, your October bill represents a partial month’s service as the billing cycle adjustment occurs. The November bill will reflect any payment made and will have a longer period of usage days. Payment will need to be made by November 4 to properly reflect on your November bill. If you do not make a payment from this interim October bill, your November balance due will be larger than normal due to the longer billing period.
What this means for you: Cycle 1: Your November bill covers a 60-day consumption period, which is twice the number of billing days as normal. This will be a one-time change to your consumption dates and then your bill will return to a normal 30-day consumption period. If you make an interim payment in October, it will be reflected on your November bill as a credit in the balance forward. If you made a payment prior to the printing of the interim statement, pay only the current amount due. Cycle 2: Your November bill covers a 50-day consumption period, which is almost twice as many billing days as normal. This will be a one-time change to your consumption dates and then your bill will return to a normal 30-day consumption period. If you make an interim payment in October, it will be reflected on your November bill as a credit in the balance forward. If you made a payment prior to the printing of the interim statement, pay only the current amount due.
Special to Cycle 3: Cycle 3: Your November bill covers a 40-day consumption period, which is why it is higher than normal. This will be a one-time change to your consumption dates and then your bill will return to a normal 30-day consumption period.
Once the billing cycle adjustments are complete, the bills will arrive shortly after the end of each month. Bills will continue to be due upon receipt and will still allow 20 days without penalty following the statement date for payment to be made. This cycle change brings the usage period closer to the date when you are billed for electric service. It will give you a more timely report of your usage and costs. Look in the top center box on your bill to see your billing cycle number. Call PRECorp Member Service at 1-800-442-3630 if you have any questions about your bill.
Special accounts take note! Automatic pay customers: No automatic payments will be processed for the October interim bill dated October 21, 2016. If payments are automatically drafted from your bank, please make arrangements for a special manual payment in October for the interim statement you receive in the mail. Your payment can be made with cash, check, or credit card (VISA or MasterCard) through PRECorp’s IVR system, or SmartHub. If you do not make a special payment in October, your November bank draft will be larger than normal because it will reflect a 60, 50 or 40-day bill period, depending on your billing cycle. EBill customers: You will not receive a digital copy of your October interim statement. This mailed version is the only one you will receive. You can continue to pay on-line through SmartHub and that payment will be noted in your November statement. November EBill statements will be emailed after the billing cycle transition is complete.
If you have any questions at all regarding this billing cycle change, specifics about your bill, or previous balances, call PRECorp Member Service at 1-800-442-3630. We thank you for your patience during the recycle effort!
Photo by Tim Velder/PRECorp
PRECorp employees present donations to Crook County volunteer firefighters represented by Jeff Garman, center. Pictured from left: Deb Cooper, Steph Pribilske, Jeff Bumgarner, Hazel Smith, Danea Crowder, Crook County Fire Warden Jeff Garman, Cindy Hadden, Cindy Stoddard, Yvonne Moberg, Jennifer Castelli, and Betty Finn.
Rally Booth gives to local firefighters By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing Communications The employees of Powder River Energy Corporation recently donated $2,013.59 to the Crook County Fire services. The funds were raised at the annual PRECorp Biker Booth in downtown Sundance on Burnout Wednesday (August 10) during the 76th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Each year the booth committee dedicates funds to one or more local charities. The booth’s success is due to the hard work and hospitality of the PRECorp employees and family members who volunteer their time and efforts to work at the booth. “Our num-
bers were down only slightly compared to last year, but we achieved our goal of selling out of food,” said project co-coordinators Yvonne Moberg and Deb Cooper. “We know it has been a busy summer for local firefighters and we hope this helps replenish some of the resources that have been depleted in responding to the many wildfires we have had this warm, dry summer. The Powder River Energy Foundation pledged to match the employees’ donation dollar for dollar bringing the total amount donated to more than $4,000 in overall assistance generated by the Rally Booth.
Have a medical necessity? In an effort to better serve our members with special health care needs, PRECorp is requesting information from our members who may have electricity-dependent residential medical equipment such as oxygen or dialysis machines. Typically this information is gathered when members join the Cooperative and sign up for PRECorp electrical service. However, if you have obtained the medical equipment since joining the Cooperative you may want to share
that information with us. The purpose for knowing this information is to notify members with medical necessities of scheduled outages that would affect your systems. Members will need to provide a doctor’s note for our files explaining the medical necessity. Other information that will be needed is your physical address, member number, meter number, and emergency contact phone number.
For more information or to update your information, contact PRECorp member service at 1-800-442-3630. Powder River Energy Corporation will make every effort to restore electrical service as soon as possible during an outage. There is no guarantee the power will be restored within a given time frame. Individuals are responsible to have an alternative plan if power cannot be restored before any condition becomes critical.
Common energy myths Myth: The higher the thermostat setting, the faster the home will heat (or cool). Many people think that walking into a chilly room and raising the thermostat to 85 degrees will heat the room more quickly. This is not true. Thermostats direct a home’s HVAC system to heat or cool to a certain temperature. Drastically adjusting the thermostat setting will not make a difference in how quickly you feel warmer. The same is true for cooling. The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees during summer months, and 68 degrees during winter months. Myth: Opening the oven door to check on a dish doesn’t really waste energy. While it can be tempting to check the progress of that dish you’re cooking in the oven, opening the oven door does waste energy. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by as much as 25 degrees, delaying the progress of your dish and, more importantly, costing you additional money. If you need to check the progress of a dish, try using the oven light instead. Myth: Ceiling fans keep your home cool while you’re away. Believe it or not, many people think this is true. Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. Ceiling fans circulate room air but do not change the temperature. A running ceiling fan in an empty room is only adding to your electricity use. Remember to turn fans off when you’re away and reduce your energy use. Myth: Reducing my energy use is too expensive. Many consumers believe that reducing energy use requires expensive upfront costs, like purchasing new, more efficient appliances or construction upgrades to an older home. But the truth is, consumers who make small changes to their energy efficiency habits, such as turning off lights when not in use, sealing air leaks and using a programmable thermostat, can see a reduction in energy consumption.
Vacancy... From page 1. The board establishes the basic business policies for Powder River Energy Corporation and represents all members. A director is expected to read and be familiar with information and financial reports from the cooperative, or other state and national associations. Additionally, a director will be expected to embrace continued learning about the electric cooperative industry. A director will work with other board members and have the self-confidence and communication skills to express their opinion. The board position is an appointed, volunteer, interim position through August 26, 2017, at which point the seat will be filled through the normal election process and a vote of the PRECorp membership. The deadline for submitting letters of interest is 5 p.m., Monday, November 14. The letter should include the following information: • M ember number • Physical address of your primary residence • Primary contact information: phone number, email address • A statement indicating your qualifications and interest in serving with the PRECorp Board of Directors Mail letters of interest to: PRECorp Board of Directors Attn: Corporate Administration PO Box 930 Sundance, WY, 82729
Why are meters so important anyway? By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing Communications No matter the size, style, or age, all Powder River Energy membersâ€™ residences and businesses have one thing in common: a small meter, constantly keeping a tally of electricity use.
The electric meter, mounted outside, is where electricity typically enters your home, business, or other service. The meter is used to measure the amount of electricity your account
uses. Some track kilowatt-hours (kWh) with older technology of spinning discs and magnets (electromechanical) while many have been upgraded to calculate kWh using computer chips (solid state.) All meters are tested for accuracy in measuring usage.
Electromechanical Meter Invented in 1888, this meter tracks electricity use with spinning dials. Features: Dials slow with age and require testing every few years. They can only be used for measuring kWh consumed.
Solid-State Electronic Meter
An LED screen displays electricity use on this digital meter. Features: Less expensive and more accurate using computer technology. May not include advanced features.
Supports Automated Meter Reading, which sends use information to a central database. Features: Can record and analyze electricity use, and be upgraded to support AMI (below).
Supports Advanced Meter Infrastructure, which allows for two-way communications with the utility. Features: Cooperative can offer consumers enhanced options, such as variable time-ofuse rates and prepaid metering.
PRECorp has the ability to retrofit both types of meters to send a signal from the meter to a computer at PRECorpâ€™s main office. This type of one-way communication system, from the meter to PRECorp, is called automated meter reading, or AMR. AMR is very useful as it provides the membership with a significant cost savings as employees do not have to travel and read meters each month. This saves on vehicle wear, fuel, and lower labor costs. However, AMR is rapidly coming to its end-of-life (16+ years old) and it is no longer supported by the manufacturer of the technology Recently, some large power customers have been part of a PRECorp pilot program to see if newer technology Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI) technology can not only replace AMR but also bring additional benefits to the membership and PRECorp. These AMI meters can send and receive signals from PRECorp, opening up a world of possibilities for the member to monitor usage in real time and other service offering such as pre-paid meters. continued on page 7.
from page 6.
While AMR is an efficient way to conduct monthly meter readings, the faster, two-way AMI system allows PRECorp employees to view meter readings at least once an hour and, in some cases, even more often. When teamed with other automated equipment at substations and on distribution lines, some of the investment for the new metering system can be returned through benefits gained. Finally, the AMI meters are newer, more reliable, and will keep the costs of service down. PRECorp continues to extend plant life of the current AMR system
How is electricity usage measured? A kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts. Appliances and lights are rated by how many watts they use. A kilowatt hour is 1,000 watts drawn in an hour, or how much electricity demand there is at a particular time. One kilowatt hour will run a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours. Electricity is priced per kilowatt hour (kWh). The more kilowatt hours used, the higher the bill.
while planning for the ultimate switch to an AMI system in the near future. Exact details and dates of this switch are still being deter-
mined and we will ensure you all have plenty of opportunity to hear about the new system well in advance of its release.
Please note our Holiday office closures Powder River Energy Corporation offices will be closed for these upcoming Holiday observances:
Veteran’s Day – Friday, November 11
Christmas – Monday, December 26
Thanksgiving – Thursday, November 24
New Year’s – Monday, January 2, 2017
and Friday, November 25
To report an outage call 1-888-391-6220.
NOTICE: On September 30, PRECorp filed proposed rules for Security Deposits and proposed updates to the Rules and Regulations governing electric service. These filings with the Wyoming Public Service Commission are available for viewing at: http://precorp.coop/rules-and-regulations/
PRECorp announces 2017 scholarships By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing Communications Powder River Energy Corporation is announcing three competitive scholarships for eligible high school students from northeastern Wyoming. PRECorp’s service territory covers Campbell, Crook, Johnson, Sheridan, and Weston counties. To apply for any of the scholarships, students must satisfy the required criteria and complete the scholarship application, which can be obtained from area high school guidance offices, directly from PRECorp business offices, or online at www. precorp.coop. Descriptions and deadlines for each scholarship follow: Basin Electric Scholarship Basin Electric Power Cooperative will award scholarships in the amount of $1,000. One student from the PRECorp membership service territory may be chosen. The filing deadline for the Basin Electric Power Scholarship is February 3, 2017. Swanda Scholarship The PRECorp Foundation board of directors will award the 2016 Swanda Scholarship to a Crook County High School senior planning to enroll in a course of study in the agricultural or animal science field at a University or vocational/technical school in Wyoming, North Dakota, or South Dakota. Seniors at Sundance High School receive preference this year
on the program’s rotating schedule. However, seniors from Hulett and Moorcroft high schools are also encouraged to apply in the event an alternate must be selected. The filing deadline for the Swanda Scholarship is March 31, 2017. Powder River Energy Corporation/ Foundation Scholarship In 2017 Powder River Energy Corporation will award scholarships in the amount of $1,500 each to qualifying graduates from 13 high schools and at-large students in its service territory. The Powder River Energy Foundation Board of Directors selects the recipients. To be eligible the applicant’s parents or legal guardians must be members of, and receive electric service from Powder River Energy. The applicant must be a student who is enrolled, or plans to enroll, in an accredited two-year college, four-year college or vocational technical school. The scholarships are available to high school seniors graduating in 2016 and qualifying college students.
Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp The Powder River Energy Board of Directors sponsors an all-expensepaid experience for high school age students of PRECorp members. Up to five local youth are selected to represent PRECorp at the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat, Colo., July 16-21, 2017. The students develop their leadership skills, tour industry sites, and enjoy the resort community. During the week, students have the opportunity to find out how co-ops work and find out what’s happening in the world of electric energy. Applicants must be age 16 by June 1, 2017, and interested students must turn in an application by Friday, January 27, 2017. For more information, a video, and an application go to www.precorp.coop/leadershipcamp-application/
The NEW DEADLINE for Powder River Energy Corporation Scholarship is March 31, 2017. Updated 2017 scholarship information is available online at: http://precorp.coop/company-andnews/community/.
Scan this into a QR code app on your phone to download PRECorp’s applications.
Regular business: 1-800-442-3630 • Report an outage: 1-888-391-6220 www.precorp.coop Powder River Energy Corporation is an equal opportunity provider and employer.