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PRECorp News JUNE 2012

Foundation donation gives smile to paralyzed veteran in Hulett By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing and Communications Specialist

Alan Hoffman didn’t know life in Hulett could be so easy. In 1975, the Marine Corps communications technician broke his neck in an off-duty accident when he was a 19-years-old. He lost the use of his legs and he has negotiated life from a wheelchair for the past 37 years.

SIGNING UP FOR OPERATION ROUNDUP® IS EASY. Simply check the box on your monthly electric bill to help our community. Call PRECorp Member Service at 1-800-442-3630 or go to Contributions to Operation RoundUp® are tax deductible.

He moved to Hulett from Sioux Falls, S.D., eight years ago, to take up residence in the community’s subsidized housing complex on Birch Street. He was promised a wheelchair-compatible shower, but contractors, estimates and funding issues delayed commencement of the project. The units were constructed in 1997 on land donated by the Neiman family. Located beneath a century-old cottonwood tree near the Post Office, fire hall, police station and clinic, the housing units provide living quarters for the elderly and handicapped, close to community services. There is even a meals program just down the street. The Hulett Community Housing Authority board oversees the operations

of the 7-apartment facility. All of the apartments are rented, plus another 10-unit family complex is also fully rented. Hoffman’s apartment accommodates his Alan Hoffman, 1973 needs, but the shower wasn’t large enough for him to maneuver his wheeled shower chair. “There was only one inch of space for my chair,” Hoffman said. “I would truly have to wrestle myself out of the shower.” In order to make the bathroom shower large enough, the area was expanded by 12-inches, to create a larger stall. A See “Veteran” on page 2...

In This Issue Annual Meeting

Regular business: 1-800-442-3630 • Report an outage: 1-888-391-6220

Be aware of trees in right of way PRECorp greets public in Arvada-Clearmont

PRECorp offers special rates and programs PRECorp cuts costs with debt refinance CEO Straight Talk



“This shower has definitely been very helpful. I am very grateful to the Foundation for donating the money.”

- Paralyzed Marine Corps veteran Alan Hoffman

Veteran... From page 1. zero-entry threshhold allows Hoffman to roll the chair into the shower without having to move around on a slippery surface. The cost of the project was quoted at more than $5,000. “I didn’t know where we were going to get the money,” said Housing Authority Treasurer and Manager Betty Rush. Rush said she was worried the limited funds of her organization would indefinitely postAlan Hoffman, 2012 pone the project. The tenant also had his doubts. “Over the years, I have learned to make do,” he said. “Betty and the Board were looking at ways to get it done. I told her ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’” However, the Authority Board set aside money toward a

fund to pay for the project. The Authority Board President is Jim Neiman and Roseanne Olson is vice-president. Sally Ann Neiman is secretary. Other board members are Mary Barber and Sandy Rausch. The Authority applied for help from the Powder River Energy Foundation, and the Foundation gave $1,000 toward the project. When Rush pooled that with the money in the Authority’s shower fund, the project became a reality. “The good Lord stepped in and got us a shower,” Rush said. “The (Veterans Administration) sends an aide three times a week. They hated the old shower as much I did,” Hoffman said. “This shower has definitely been very helpful. I am very grateful to the Foundation for donating the money.” Fundraisers and donations have built the Foundation’s giving power since it was founded five years ago. The Foundation derives a portion of its funds from Operation RoundUp donations from members of Powder River Energy Corporation. The members round up their monthly bill to the nearest dollar, adding a few cents a month to the overall fund. As the RoundUp participation grows, the small donations turn into big dollars for local organizations. Scores of members have enrolled in the program in the past several months, nearly doubling the membership giving to the Foundation and its charities in Campbell, Crook, Johnson, Sheridan, and Weston counties. Foundation Board members are appointed by the PRECorp Board of Directors. Billie Little chairs the Foundation Board. Other members are John Flocchini, Tina Croell, Julie Swanda, Kathleen Tavegie, and Susan Berry. PRECorp Chief Operating Officer Les Penning is the Foundation’s executive director. They meet quarterly to consider requests for financial assistance. For an application, go to powder-river-energy-foundation/



Keep trees clear of power poles and lines to save costs, prevent outages By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing and Communications Specialist

The task for bringing power from our system to your home involves working with landowners for permission to set poles and string wire. Some places are miles of open country. Some cross through forests while others go through urban settings. The 30-foot-wide easement buffer for PRECorp power lines and poles requires regular clearing. There needs to be enough width for service trucks to travel along the route of the line for inspections, maintenance and repairs. With that in mind, we make adjustments and allowances in special areas where it is impractical to keep that wide of a buffer. Mother Nature is constantly trying to narrow that lane with natural undergrowth of brush and trees. PRECorp regularly trims those areas to keep them clear of heavy vegetation. This is done for a couple reasons. First and foremost, a tree growing into a power line makes a tempting ladder for eager children who might try to climb into the tree. If the child unknowingly climbs into a tangle of branches and power lines, the risk of electrocution is very high and lifethreatening. Even if a person isn’t climbing the tree, the tree could still ground the overhead lines and cause interrup-

tions in power. The outages can last only a few seconds or several minutes depending upon the severity of the interference by branches. With the ongoing threat of winddriven rain or snow storms bending trees into the lines, the 30-foot rightof-way gives room for most branches and trees to stay clear. Know the full-growth potential of a tree before planting it. The tree can easily overtake areas that were intended for other uses. Research the width of the tree’s canopy at maturity and leave plenty of room for you and your young tree to grow old together. PRECorp will work with your special circumstances however, so you might be able to achieve the desired landscape appearance. Another point to remember is to call Wyoming One Call 1-800-849-2476 before you dig the hole for the tree. There can be underground utilities – gas, water, sewer or electric - buried beneath your tree’s new home. Although you may not strike one of those utilities, your tree could be damaged or killed if underground service work is required. Homeowners who have a padmounted transformer on their property should maintain at least a 10-foot clearance around the box.

PRECorp crews use long-handled tools to work on or replace the units, which extend as long as 10-feet. When one of these transformers needs to be replaced, heavy loading equipment is used to lift them into place. Any fences, landscaping, plants or décor that are placed near the pad-mount transformer could be damaged when the machinery approaches the site. Again, PRECorp will work with you to best accommodate your needs. Keeping trees and other plants away from the lines and equipment, helps keep high-quality power flowing to your home. This could save lives, time, costs, and outages in the future. • If you notice anything such as trees or branches that might interfere with power lines or pose a serious threat, notify Powder River Energy at 1-800-442-3630. • If you are planning to plant trees on your property near power lines, call PRECorp with any questions. • Existing shrubs, hedges, and other plants should be kept clear of electric towers and poles whenever possible. Contact PRECorp if there are any questions about safety.

Need a ride to the annual meeting? • Call 1-800-442-3630.




PRECorp offers special rates and programs By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing and Communications Specialist

PRECorp member/owners can save on their electric bills by taking advantage of some special programs.

then releases its stored heat whenever needed to maintain the desired room temperature.

The programs and rates give members an opportunity to save a little money or leverage several hundred dollars to make efficiency or safety upgrades to their homes. The following is a list of some of the programs that PRECorp has to offer.

Residential Heat Rate PRECorp also offers a special electric heat rate to help members take advantage of a credit provided by PRECorp’s main power supplier. The Residential Heat Rate (RHR) allows residential members to receive a credit of 2.754 cents per kilowatt hour for the electricity they use to heat their home between October and April. With our already low rates, that makes electricity a very affordable way to heat your home.

Conservation Loan Program PRECorp’s Conservation Loan Program offers a zero interest loan up to $2,500 for members to complete energy efficiency improvements, such as: upgrading windows, installing energy star appliances, replacing incandescent bulbs with Compact Florescent Light bulbs (CFL), or adding insulation. The loan can be paid back over a three-year period. Applicants must meet certain credit history criteria. Residential Time of Day Rate PRECorp’s Time of Day (TOD) rate is available to those members who install a qualifying Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) heating system.

The heat rate is offered to residential members who have permanent electric resistance heat, cove, and/ or an electric heat-pump space heating system. Members are required to have a licensed electrician install equipment, provided by PRECorp at no cost, to meter the electric heat load separately from other usage in the home. Green Tags

ETS technology allows consumers to pay less for their heating energy. Members can take advantage of the lower rate for all their electric usage by operating other appliances during off-peak hours from September 1 to May 31.

“Green Tag” is a shorter name for a Renewable Energy Certificate. PRECorp members can support the development of a renewable resources such as wind, solar or biomass, through the Basin Electric Power Cooperative Prairie Winds Energy In Motion program.

ETS works like a thermos bottle by storing heat until it is needed. The ETS heater is charged (heated) with lower cost, off-peak electricity. It

Each Green Tag costs 20 cents, which is equivalent to the environmental attributes of 100 kWh of renewable energy. For example, if a home takes

900 kilowatt hours per month and the member would like to purchase renewable energy to offset their entire usage, then the member would purchase nine Green Tags. The monthly offset or Green Tag cost would be an additional $1.80 to the member’s monthly power bill to ensure that the energy you use is added to the power grid from a renewable energy facility and supports the further development of these facilities. Surge Protection Program PRECorp’s Surge Protection Program protects members’ homes from power surges and lightning by breaking down incoming voltage to a level safe for the “white goods” within the home, including the washer, dryer, refrigerator, freezer, microwave and hard-wired HVAC systems. In addition, there is limited warranty coverage for those items in the rare event that lightning or a surge is powerful enough to damage the surge protection device and pass through to damage the covered appliances. PRECorp sells a variety of residential surge protection devices, including devices for sensitive electronics and other equipment. Each device features its own warranty. If a device is damaged by a surge or lightning, PRECorp will replace the device immediately and assist members in filling out a claim for the equipment. Please visit with a member service representative for more details.




See you in Gillette! For the Annual Meeting on Saturday, August 25 By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing and Communications Specialist

The 67th Annual Meeting of the members of Powder River Energy Corporation will be held at the Clarion Inn in Gillette, WY, on Saturday, August 25.

The event will feature voting for board members, reports from PRECorp CEO Mike Easley, Board President Tom Davis and Treasurer Phil Habeck. Those who attend will receive giveaways, and will be entered in a drawing for door prizes. The luncheon will feature entertainment by cowboy poet (and Carbon Power & Light General Manager) Chuck Larsen. Look in next month’s WREN magazine for proxy information, candidate profiles, annual reports and more information about this year’s event. While you’re in town, check out the downtown area for its shopping and sculpture walk. Go to www.gillettechamber. com for more information about special things to do in town on August 25.

Photo courtesy Gillette Chamber of Commerce

Downtown Gillette features the Avenues of Art (left), where local artists can showcase their work in hightraffic areas in the city.

PRECorp cuts interest expense with debt refinance By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing and Communications Specialist

Managing our borrowing costs is one way PRECorp looks to maintain high-quality, low-cost electric service to members. On April 10, 2012 the Wyoming Public Service Commission approved Powder River Energy Corporation’s application to refi-

nance $14.4 million of loans with United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.

terest rate, lowering the blended rate of the loans from 4.97% to 3.67%.

The existing debt will be refinanced by CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving rural industries. The refinancing takes advantage of a more favorable in-

It is anticipated that PRECorp will save nearly $1.4 million in interest expense over the next 20 years as a result of the refinance transaction.

Need a ride to the annual meeting? • Call 1-800-442-3630.



Supporting Our Rural Communities:

Arvada Community Health Fair By Kristin Kelly, PRECorp Marketing and Communications Specialist

On Saturday, April 14, the town of Arvada hosted a Community Health Fair and PRECorp had the opportunity to provide information on various programs and the Co-op Connections Card’s Prescription and Healthy Savings Benefits. Organized by Sheridan County Public Health’s Amy Wyatt, community members were able to attend not only an April 5 Blood Draw, but also get more information about health and community programs. Sheridan County Public Health provides services such as wellness classes, information on transmittable diseases, emergency preparedness, environmental health, immunizations, adult and family health programs, and disease prevention and testing programs. Their focus is on the population as a whole, and they conduct their activities through community programs and a strong network of public health professionals. Attendees also were able to purchase treats from young 4-H members at their bake sale.

PRECorp Marketing Communications Specialist Kristin Kelly greeted members at the Arvada Community Health Fair in April.

A supporter of the health fair overall, PRECorp believes in the well-being of communities and members. If you missed the Health Fair and would like more information about the Coop Connections Card and its health benefits, contact communications@

Need more information about the Coop Connections Card, or the Healthy Savings Program? Go to to find out more and see participating providers in our area.



Renters can make efficiency improvements to their quarters PRECorp Marketing and Communications

There are lots of simple energy-saving solutions that renters can put into place to cut down on electricity use. There are two areas of focus: weatherizing and managing usage. On the usage side, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends if you won’t use your computer for more than 20 minutes, shut off the monitor; if you won’t use it for more than two hours, shut the whole thing down. Most electronics feature a glowing light when turned off—that means they’re still drawing electricity.

A quick fix for this “vampire,” or phantom, load involves plugging various devices into a power strip. Simply flip the switch on the power strip when you won’t be using the devices. On the weatherization aspect, check windows and doors for leaks and take steps to seal up your living quarters. Here are some other quick tips for lowering your monthly usage: • When light bulbs burn out, replace them with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). If they

have an ENERGY STAR label, these bulbs typically last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and use 75 percent less electricity. • Seal up windows with plastic sheets to block drafts. Curtains can also help—close them in the summer to block sunlight, and open them in the winter to let the warmth in. • Use your vacuum to clean coils in the bottom panel of your refrigerator. • Keep your dryer vents clean. Clogged refrigerator coils and dryer vents will cause your appliances to work harder and increase the risk of fire.

Want to beat the heat? Run appliances like dish washers and dryers late in the evening to keep the heat from affecting your comfort. Use cold water to wash clothes, and remember to unplug electric chargers, televisions, and any appliances when you are not using them. Learn more ways to save at

• Don’t allow furniture to block air vents, and shut the vents in rooms you don’t use. • Check the temperature on your water heater. These devices don’t need to be set at more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit for daily showers and chores. Call PRECorp 1-800-4423630 for more information.

Need a ride to the annual meeting? • Call 1-800-442-3630.



CEO Straight Talk


Last month I mentioned that I would use this month’s article to talk about Cooperation Among Cooperatives and Concern for Community. In this month’s issue of PRECorp News you can learn more about how we support and strengthen our communities with helpful member programs, support of the PRECorp Foundation, and direct financial impacts through operating expense reductions. I hope that you take some time to read these very informative articles. MIKE EASLEY, CEO

I also attended the NRECA Legislative Summit last month where nearly 2,000 leaders in the Cooperative movement came together to discuss how to strengthen the cooperative movement through political advocacy. We discussed many issues and posed many questions. At the heart of the conversation is this question: “How can the electrical cooperative movement leverage the strength of its 42 million members to make sure our nation enacts common-sense energy policies that are environmentally responsible, while keeping electricity affordable and reliable?”

Learn more about issues facing cooperatives at:

The hard part is how we go about defining terms such as “environmentally responsible.” I think we all have a pretty good grasp of what “affordable” and “reliable” mean, but even here, there is interpretation. You might find it interesting to know that across the 900 different electric cooperatives, covering 75 percent of the nation’s land mass, cooperatives find friends on both sides of the political aisle. Affordability, reliability, and environmental responsibility are not partisan issues.


In Wyoming we are blessed with incredible access to all of our Federal legislators. This access has allowed us to develop and maintain close relationships with our elected officials. Senator Enzi, Senator Barasso, and Representative Lummis work very hard for Wyoming and are friends of the cooperatives and of PRECorp. We also work very closely with our State officials and enjoy a good working relationship with them as well. This is good news for PRECorp and for our members; however, we do have an area of risk. It is human nature to become comfortable when things are going our way. This is a problem that many of our sister cooperatives in other states are experiencing, especially in places where their complacency has grown to the point where people have forgotten how to make their voices heard. Being heard, or being politically active, has never been easier than it is today, especially if you are tech savvy. There is strength in this new developing arena of high tech communications, but there is also an inherent weakness. I believe that it takes both a personal touch and the newer communication mediums to be really effective. One of the things that truly resonated from this meeting was a quote from Thomas Jefferson who said, “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” Over the next several months we will be spending some time discussing how to leverage both technology and face-to-face communications to help us dust off our right of free speech and our tool kit for participating.

Regular business: 1-800-442-3630 • Report an outage: 1-888-391-6220


Hoffman’s apartment accommodates his needs, but the shower wasn’t large enough for him to ma- neuver his wheeled shower chair. “There was on...


Hoffman’s apartment accommodates his needs, but the shower wasn’t large enough for him to ma- neuver his wheeled shower chair. “There was on...