Power Lines Official Publication of Powder River Energy Corporation
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CEO Straight Talk
May this Holiday Season bring happiness to you and yours. Powder River Energy’s business offices will be closed for Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 24, and Friday, November 25.
Energy Saving Tip Save On Lighting Replacing five of your most used light bulbs with ENERGY STAR ® labeled compact fluorescent light bulbs can save more than $50 annually. To get more energy saving tips or to get information on ENERGY STAR ® products, visit www.energystar.gov.
By Mike Easley
As I mentioned to you in the September issue of the Power Lines I am going to discuss some of the highlights coming out of the 2006 budgeting process. Now wait just a minute before you toss this article in that growing pile of junk mail on your table or desk. I promise to keep it short and to the point, and hopefully a bit informative. At our October board meeting the Powder River Energy executive staff presented the various departmental goals and objectives to the directors. A week later the board’s budget committee went through the 2006 budget line by line. You can relax a bit, because I am not going to talk numbers until next month. The biggest item in your electric cooperative’s budget is wholesale power costs. As you know Powder River Energy is member-owner of Basin Electric Power Cooperative. We have a contract which requires that we buy all of the electricity we sell to our customers from Basin. Our wholesale power costs are quite stable because of the large percentage of coal resources that make up the Basin electrical generation fleet. Because Basin is a cooperative it provides us power well below current market levels. Today’s electricity market is being driven by the cost of natural gas since almost all the generation built in the past 10 years has been gas fired. Natural gas prices are having a huge impact on the commodity price of electricity, and the use of gas fired generation has an impact on the supply of natural gas. You might be sensing a bit of a vicious circle in this relationship. Fortunately, this is a market force which you, as a Powder River Energy member, are insulated from. We do however see impacts on our wholesale power from increasing costs of coal and coal transportation which are flowed to you through the Cost of Power Adjustment (COPA) on your monthly bill. We are anticipating that our electricity sales in 2006 will be 17 percent over our electricity sales in 2005. I know this is a pretty big number, but we feel it’s a good number as well. Coal bed methane and the coal mine sector continue to be our biggest growth areas, but you might be surprised to learn that our residential growth is expected to be 3 percent in 2006. It takes a complicated electric distribution system to deliver this kind of power to our 10,645 members across the five counties of northeast Wyoming and a portion of southeast Montana. In addition, it takes a very complex organization to sustain, maintain, operate, and plan for this electrical system. Did you know that we have over 180,000 poles on the Powder River Energy electrical system? Our System Operations department is the group of people that takes care of and operates the electric system as well as manages the numerous contractors we hire to build new distribution lines. In 2006 we Continued back page >>>
CEO Straight Talk continued
estimate that there will be a total of 56 employees in the Operations department and numerous contractors as well. A major effort by the System Operations department will be the maintenance on portions of our 9,000 miles of line. To this end, we plan to replace 1,000 poles in 2006 as part of our routine pole replacement program. This program also includes testing of 10,000 poles in 2006. Line inspection is also a part of the routine maintenance program and Powder River Energy crews will perform routine line inspection on 20 percent of the electric system in 2006. This routine line inspection is one of the ways to make certain that power outages are kept to a minimum. The employees in the System Operations department are very committed to keeping the lights on and these people are the ones you see out in all types of weather, any hour of the day, and any day of the week. In addition to the maintenance activities I mentioned, these folks take care of our substations, metering reading, and monitor our independent contractors. I just don’t have the space to list all the things they do, but take it from me they are a very busy group of people with a large responsibility. Next month I will speak a bit on the numbers from the 2006 Budget as well as talking about some important goals from the other departments at Powder River Energy. Have a good month, and I look forward to our next opportunity to get together. Thanks,
Are You Warming Up With Space Heaters? As the temperature drops, many families may use portable electric space heaters to help warm their homes. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) warns that space heaters could cause fires and injuries if not used properly. Follow these simple precautions: • Read the manufacturer’s instruction manual before using any space heater. Check to make sure the heater bears the mark of a certified testing organization. • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture and rugs. • Keep space heaters away from areas with water. Check your manual to make sure the heater is intended to be used in locations such as bathrooms. • Don’t use space heaters in rooms where children are unsupervised. Children may stick their fingers or other objects through the protective guard, causing burns or shock. • Avoid using an extension cord with a space heater. If you must use one, make sure it is the right wire gauge size and type for the heater. • Space heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Don’t use them to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes. • Turn off the space heater and unplug it when not in use. Source: ESFI
We Can't Avoid Downed Power Lines In The Winter… But You Should! Winter is here. And your electric cooperative is ready for it. But no matter how well we prepare, we cannot avoid downed power lines. Hours of freezing rain can snap a power line without warning. Snowloaded trees can fall, taking several lines at a time down with them. If you spot a downed power line, please stay away from it and keep others away. Call us immediately at 1-888-391-6220. We'll repair it and restore your power as quickly as possible. Rain or shine, day or night, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
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.coop/community.cfm. Power Lines Editor: Mike Blenkush