Power Lines Official Publication of Powder River Energy Corporation
October Is Co-op Month
Electric Cooperatives Building A Strong America!
Are You Ready For Winter? No denying it, the cold months are on their way. And it’s never too soon to plan what you can do to make the most of your home heating. Here are some helpful suggestions: Lower your thermostat to 55 degrees if everyone is out of the house for four hours or more. Close off unused space such as rooms that are not in use. Open shades and drapes during the day to let your house absorb the sun’s heat. Dress more warmly; set the thermostat as low as is comfortable for your family. But, remember that infants and older people need a warmer environment for good health.
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CEO Straight Talk By Mike Easley Editors note: This months “CEO Straight Talk” is a summary of key points from Mike Easley’s 2003 Annual Membership Meeting speech. The full speech as well as the related slides can be viewed on Powder River Energy’s website: www.precorp.org.
Good Afternoon! Welcome to the 2003 Annual Membership Meeting of Powder River Energy. Never before has it been more important for electric cooperatives to focus on values. Powder River Energy’s commitment to you, the customer, its communities, and development of its people make us different. The most important part of your electric cooperative is you, the member-customer. Shortly after last years annual meeting the Powder River Energy team and board of directors put their collective heads together to see how we could re-focus our efforts and energies to deliver on our commitment to you. The result of our efforts was a redefined action plan as well as a new statement of our mission - to deliver high quality, low cost electricity to our member-owners, while embracing our cooperative principles and values. As you probably know, Powder River Energy is part of a national network of electric cooperatives, but what you may not realize is how extensive that network is. There are 865 distribution cooperatives serving 36 million people across 47 states. Electric cooperatives serve 15.4 million meters in 2,500 of the 3,141 counties across the United States. This neighbor helping neighbor thing has really grown since the creation of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in 1935. I have told you that Powder River Energy is special. I have told you that our values are what make us different. But you might wonder can this really be so with 865 other cooperatives out there doing what we do? The answer is simple. Yes! We are living a legacy of those that came before us. We have worked together for many years building your electric system. Through the democratic process, you, the members, have guided your electric cooperative from its infancy, to an electric cooperative that is the envy of those 865 other cooperatives. You have consistently picked directors with vision, values, and just enough guts to do what needs to be done, to make us different, and to make us special. You should be proud. I know I am. During the past year the Powder River Energy team has continued this fine legacy. We have responded to the needs of the ever-growing coal bed methane (CBM) development. We have managed these risks and we have made certain that Powder River Energy will benefit from this development. Your electric system has grown this past year. In July of this year two coalmines located just over the Montana - Wyoming border northeast of Sheridan became customers of Powder River Energy. Providing service to the Spring Creek and Decker mines creates a positive impact that will be felt by all the members for many, many years to come. In January of 2003 we began a program where we contact new and existing customers and ask for their feedback on how we are doing. Since that time we have completed well over 100 surveys. The survey process is not Continued on back page>>>
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an easy one for you the member; however, your feedback has been essential in helping us to understand your needs and ways to better serve you. We are expecting good news from our wholesale power supplier, Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin). As you know Powder River Energy is a member of Basin, in much the same way that each of you is a member of your electric cooperative. It has been another challenging, yet rewarding year in the power supply business. Basin has managed to benefit from selling excess electricity to nonmembers. This has generated revenue that was not anticipated. Unless something unforeseen happens, Basin will be passing those revenues on to its members at the end of this year, and Powder River Energy intends to do likewise and pass those revenues on to you. This bill credit is not a done deal; however, I feel good enough about it to share it with you. If things work out as expected the impact on the average Powder River Energy customer may be just over one month of free electricity at the end of this year. This is the magic of electric cooperatives. This is why you, our member owner, have invested in Powder River Energy. Thank you for attending and participating in your electric cooperative’s annual meeting.
What do kilowatts have to do with my electric bill? The charges on your electric bill are determined by two things: The electricity requirements of each of your appliances (watts), and the length of time your use them (hours). Your electric bill is calculated in kilowatt-hours, or the combination of these two factors. For example, a 100-watt light bulb that burns for 10 hours will use 1,000 watt-hours, or one kilowatt-hour. Saving money on your electric bill is as simple as reducing the amount of time you use each appliance. By using common sense, like turning off lights when they’re not in use, opening the refrigerator door as little as possible, and turning off televisions when no one is watching them, you can reduce your kilowatt usage. You will not only save money, you will save energy!
Inspection Time? Smoke Alarm AND Wiring According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, most residential fires are preventable - and many electrical fires could be avoided through an electrical inspection. Does your home need an electrical safety inspection? Check your fuse box or breaker box panel: if an electrical inspection has been conducted, there should be a label on the panel with a date and signature (or initials) of the inspector. If you can’t find a label, don’t remove the service-panel cover to look for one - that is a job for a qualified electrician. If your last inspection was conducted 10 years ago or less, you probably do not need an another one unless you notice problems such as flickering lights, sparks, overheated outlets or other hazard signals. However, if you haven’t had an inspection in more than 10 years, or if you’ve installed any temporary wiring, or added a lot of additional electric load, you should contact a licensed electrician or safety inspector to give your home a check-up.
Hot Air Rises - And You Lose Heat It’s a basic principle - hot air rises. And as it does, it can literally pull cold air inside your house. This “stack effect” can affect your comfort in ways that might surprise you. The first step, of course, is to plug those gaps that allow cold air to get into the house by caulking, weather-stripping and insulating. But a step as simple as closing an interior door or two can also help. Stairways and halls act as natural “stacks,” so shutting doors that lead into hallways or stairwells can prevent warm air from being pulled out of other rooms.
Power Lines A publication of Powder River Energy Corp. P. O. Box 930 Sundance, WY 82729 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 to offer suggestions and ideas regarding the safe, efficient, and economical use of electric energy. Back issues of the Power Lines can be found on Powder River Energy’s website at: www.precorp.org/news.htm. Power Lines Editor: Mike Blenkush