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August 2013

Hydropower: Time-tested Renewable Energy


POWERING THE INDUSTRIES THAT

ENERGIZE LOCAL ECONOMIES. When rural industries thrive, their communities prosper. Your local electric co-op and its power supplier, Tri-State, are working to build stronger communities by providing reliable, affordable electricity. Together we support economic growth by ensuring businesses receive value for the power they use, while providing incentives to help manage their electricity use– which helps reduce all of our costs. Learn more about where we’re headed at www.tristate.coop.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association • P.O. Box 33695 • Denver, CO 80233 • Wholesale power supplier to 44 electric cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming.


Volume 67, Number 8, August 2013

“The Rural Voice of Nebraska”

Staff Editor Wayne Price Editorial Assistant Kathy Barkmeier

Published by the Visit us at www.nrea.org General Manager Troy Bredenkamp President Gary Dill, Roosevelt Public Power District Vice President/Secretary Randy Papenhausen, Cedar-Knox Public Power District

Contents Features

Home Smart Home Communications modules inside some appliances and wall outlets can use a home’s Wi-Fi to send and receive simple messages from a connected home energy network. Magen Howard, a consumer and cooperative affairs writer for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, reports on how the capability to link to the electric grid so appliances can better take advantage of off-peak rates, when electricity is less expensive.

Hydropower: Time Tested Renewable Energy

Advertising in the Rural Electric Nebraskan does not imply endorsement for products by the Nebraska Rural Electric Association. Correspondence should be sent to Wayne Price, Editor, Rural Electric Nebraskan, Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501. The Rural Electric Nebraskan is printed by Quad Graphics, 660 Mayhew Lake Rd. NE, St. Cloud, MN 56304. Form 3579 should be sent to the Rural Electric Nebraskan, Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501. Periodicals postage paid at Lincoln, Neb. POSTMASTER: send address changes to the Rural Electric Nebraskan, 1244 K Street, Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501. Publication numbers are USPS 071-630 and ISSN 0193-4937. Rates: $10 for one year; $15 for two years; $20 for three years, plus local and state tax.

August 2013

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Energy has been created from flowing water for more than 2,000 years, beginning with the ancient Greek. Learn how it is being used to create electricity in Nebraska and the United States.

Treasurer Ron Jensen, Loup Valleys Rural Public Power District Published monthly by the Nebraska Rural Electric Association, 1244 K Street, Box 82048, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501, (402) 475-4988.

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Departments EDITOR’S PAGE

4

SAFETY BRIEFS — Murphy

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CUT YOUR UTILITY BILLS by James Dulley

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RECIPES

20

ADULT PEN PALS

21

MARKETPLACE/CLASSIFIEDS

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On the cover Looking down the “Morning Glory” spillway at the Kingsley Hydroplant. The spillway was built to help control reservoir levels at Lake McConaughy. See the related story on page 12. Photograph by Wayne Price.

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EDITOR’S PAGE

Watch out for telephone scams et’s face it folks. Some people are just lazy and would rather spend their time and energy ripping off honest people like you and me, our friends, family and neighbors, than working a normal job. I’m amazed at the ideas that these criminals come up with to try to get their hands on our money. And now with the Internet, it seems like they’re creating a whole new batch of scams to deceive us. They have even found ways to target us through our public power districts and electric cooperatives in Nebraska. They know we want to make sure the power stays on and they’re betting we won’t take the time to check up on the problem. The caller reports they are from the power company and threatens immediate disconnection of service if the customer doesn’t pay a late bill over the phone using a credit card. While some utilities do accept credit card payments for electric bills, none will contact you and ask for a credit card number over the telephone. If you would ever receive such a call, the best thing to do would be hang up, then call local law enforcement and your local electric utility. Another scam that has been reported in Nebraska seems to be targeted at senior citizens. With this scam, customers are being told that President Obama has approved special funding through the Federal Reserve Bank for utility bill assistance. However, there is no such funding. Through automated phone calls, door-todoor visits and online solicitation, scam artists are asking customers for personal information, such as Social Security numbers and utility account numbers. They then provide victims with a fraudulent bank routing number with which to pay their utility bills. You should NEVER give out credit card,

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by Wayne Price

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bank account or Social Security information over the phone to someone who calls you, even if they say they are from your local electric utility. A South Carolina utility reported some customers had been contacted by a person claiming to be an employee and asking for social security numbers to sign the person up for the bank draft payment plan. In Georgia, calls were reported to customers asking for personal information due to a “company database failure.” A different type of scam has been reported in Wisconsin. Customers have reported being contacted by a company representative who offered to “erase their utility bill debt for a fee.” The scam preys on the older adult and low income customers. The scam involves customers being contacted and told they are part of the electric utility’s “amnesty” program and if the customer pays them half of the amount they owe, the rest of their debt will be erased. However, the utility does not have such a program. Customers are urged to never give out personal information, credit card numbers, or money to anyone who solicits by telephone and claims to be from the electric utility. The same goes for someone who comes to your door. In most cases, an employee of the utility in the field will be wearing clothing with the company name or logo or will be able to provide you a company identification card with a photo. Vehicles will usually be marked with the company’s logo as well. Many utilities hire companies to maintain the right-of-way and inspect and treat power poles. A supervisor or employee on the crew will carry photo identification. If you are still unsure, call the local electric utility and ask for verification that the person is an employee and has work to be performed in the area.

Rural Electric Nebraskan


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Home Smart Home

Intelligent appliances could herald the ‘home of the future’ by Magen Howard 6

Rural Electric Nebraskan


he “home of the future” is far from a new idea. Post-World War II America expected computer punch cards to cook entire dinners without help from human hands. Today, Wi-Fi and smartphones can help make “smarter homes” a reality. Communications modules inside some appliances and wall outlets can use a home’s Wi-Fi to send and receive simple messages from a connected home energy network. Other smart home components include remotely controlled thermostats and, potentially, the capability to link to the electric grid so appliances can better take advantage of off-peak rates, when electricity is less expensive. To make this happen, more than random appliances and fancy outlets are required—you need a home energy network to tie everything together. Some home security, cable, and phone companies offer such systems, usually sold as a “home monitoring solution.” Some allow you to unlock your front door or open your garage door from an app on your smartphone, view your home from a camera, and manage and monitor electrical devices. Fees generally start at $10 a month and go up depending on the services you choose, says Brian Sloboda, a senior program manager specializing in energy efficiency for the Cooperative Research Network, the research and development arm of the Arlington, Va.-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. “Smart homes have a lot of potential, but whether that potential can be realized depends on so many factors—namely, whether your home has high-speed Internet,” he cautions. “You also have talk to your rural electric utility about whether it has special rate structures that will allow you to use smart appliances to their full value.” The aim of smart homes, Sloboda explains, is to increase convenience for homeowners while saving energy and money for both consumers and the utility. Consumers would be able

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control various devices and potentially see lower electric bills, while their electric utility could shift load from peak times—which ends up saving money for everyone by avoiding the need to purchase expensive peaktime power or even build new power plants to meet growing demand.

Whirlpool’s smart appliances work with an app that lets you remotely monitor and program all coordinated appliances. Photograph provided by Whirlpool Corporation A few electric cooperatives around the country are performing studies to determine if home energy networks might benefit co-op members, but all are in the early stages. Currently, the biggest bang for the buck comes from remotely controlling a home’s automated thermostat because many consumers do not program them. To see real energy savings from a home energy network, consumers should work in partnership with their local electric cooperative, Sloboda emphasizes. “Some app developers have suggested that consumers could use their smartphones to preheat the oven while driving home— is anybody really going to use that? We have to see more research before this concept gets off the ground.” Even manufacturers aren’t sure. GE’s appliance division recently launched a line of smart appliances, called Brillion, meant to link with a home energy network. GE set up a series of tests to see how the equipment would operate in a home energy network at various utilities across the nation, including Flint Energies, based in Reynolds, Ga. But

after a few months, GE refocused the undertaking to consumer convenience. “We installed GE Brillion appliances in 10 homes during our smart grid demonstration project,” explains Jimmy Autry, senior vice president of member & community relations for Flint Energies. “GE soon stopped the energy-savings emphasis of the program because not enough utilities offered incentive rates for the appliances.” Evaluating a smart choice But before buying into “the home of the future,” Sloboda encourages homeowners to ask themselves the following questions: • What are my goals? Do I want home security and energy savings, or do I just want the latest app? • Do I have broadband in my home? Many of the systems require a high-speed Internet connection to work. • What devices do I want to control? It’s not just appliances or thermostats—apps can lock doors and turn off lights, too. • How much is it worth to me? Many services charge a monthly fee in addition to upfront equipment costs. Some systems require $100 or more of equipment to work. • What appliances need to be replaced, and does an app really make sense for that appliance? • Who owns the data collected from your appliances and how will they use it? None of the smart home appliances that appear to be coming to market will cook dinner with just the push of a button. But some will allow you to see what is going on at home, who is home, and even turn the air conditioning on and off. “The bottom line is, consumers have to decide if a smart home will aid or hinder their lifestyle—and if their electric utility even offers incentives to make it worth the expense,” Sloboda concludes. Source: Cooperative Research Network

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How Smart Appliances Interact with the Grid by by Brian Brian Sloboda Sloboda

mart appliances promise consumers greater control of home energy costs while giving rural electric utilities a new way to bolster energy-saving programs. While not-forprofit public power districts and electric cooperatives are at the forefront in testing these devices, smart appliances have a long way to go before they will be a useful addition to modern life. First of all, what makes an appliance “smart?” Manufacturers are beginning to add communications modules inside some appliances, such as dishwashers, as well as in wall outlets that can use a home’s Wi-Fi to send and receive simple messages from a connected home energy network. Through these networks, you can monitor energy consumption, turn devices on and off, and change the setting on your thermostat. A word of warning: Before investing in smart appliances, call your local electric utility to learn about rate structures that might benefit from these devices. The cost of a “smart”

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dishwasher might not be worthwhile if you aren’t able to use it to its full savings potential. If you don’t have a highspeed Internet connection, for starters, your money might be better spent on a highly efficient appliance, such as those rated by the federal Energy Star program. Working with rural electric utilities Many public power district and electric co-op members around the country let their hometown utility cycle their HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system or electric water heater on or off during times of peak demand, when electricity is most expensive. Called “demand response,” these programs result in electric-bill savings for all of the cooperative’s members because it avoids the need to purchase expensive power on the open market or even delay building additional power plants. Adding smart appliances to the fold could help control power costs even more. Public power districts and electric

Smart appliances, like this clothes washer and dryer set from Whirlpool, can be monitored via smartphone app and can work with an electric utility to shift its use to times when electricity is less expensive. Photograph provided by Whirlpool Corporation

Rural Electric Nebraskan


co-ops are conducting a handful of pilot projects in the area of home energy networks, most of which are in an early stage of development. Some of these programs tell consumers when peak demand is approaching so they can take action like curtailing electric use. Others offer special pricing for electricity at various times of the day. Current applications of home energy network technology are wide-ranging and can be best understood by looking at their capabilities: limited, basic, and advanced. Limited approach Limited applications of home energy networking give consumers access to detailed information about their monthly electricity use. Data is collected and provided to the consumer via an in-home display or passwordprotected website. Enhanced information and graphs may also be included. Demonstrations of limited-capability systems have consistently resulted in

August 2013

energy savings of between 6 percent and 11 percent. A rural electric utility also may be able to suggest further energy-saving opportunities specific to the consumer’s home, appliances, and electricity use. Basic applications Basic home energy networks provide consumers with the same detailed information and offer increased control over HVAC systems and major appliances to take advantage of time-of-use pricing. With time-of-use rates, the cost for electricity varies according to the time when it’s used. Consumers also gain the ability to set home comfort levels and operating preferences remotely via a mobile app, and optimize performance under available rate options. Such basic systems have been shown to shift energy use out of peak periods and reduce a consumer’s demand contribution by as much as 50 percent. However, if a consumer does not pay

attention to grid signals that alert to higher or lower electric rates, he or she could end up paying more for power. Advanced applications Home energy networking becomes most attractive when configured to both minimize a consumer’s bill and a utility’s underlying cost of service. These advanced applications incorporate a variety of devices, ranging from simple in-home displays and websites to advanced apps on a smartphone or tablet. Overall, this allows homeowners and their local electric utility to control certain aspects of HVAC, lighting, and major appliances. Such fully enabled home energy networks—in which both can modify settings and operating schedules and control in-home equipment under time-of-use rates—can provide the utility a meaningful and cost-effective means to defer the need to build new power plants while saving individual consumers money.

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The

Biggest User

Learn how to estimate your home appliances’ energy use to see if it’s time for an upgrade ou’ve had your fridge forever. With the exception of some crumbling parts of the seal, it’s in pretty good shape and keeps your food cold. Why worry about budgeting for an upgrade? For starters, inefficient appliances can have a huge impact on your home’s monthly electric bill. Replacing a refrigerator made before 1993 with a new, Energy Star-rated model could knock $65 to $100 off your power costs each year. When evaluating older appliances, one key question emerges: Which is the biggest user? To estimate the energy consumption of an appliance, use this general formula provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergySavers.gov: (Wattage × Hours used per day × Days used per year) ÷ 1,000 = Annual kilowatt-hour (kWh) used Remember: 1,000 watts = 1 kilowatt (kW). Then calculate the annual cost to use an appliance by multiplying the kWh per year by 10 cents per kWh used. (The average by rural systems in Nebraska runs from 8.6 cents to 16.7 cents per kWh.)

tom or back of the appliance or on its nameplate. The wattage listed shows the maximum power drawn by the appliance. Because some appliances have a range of settings—just like the volume on a radio—the actual amount of power consumed depends on the setting used at any one time. Keep in mind that as electronics and appliances become more technologically savvy, they often draw power even while turned off. A good indicator of this—called “phantom load”—is to check the device for a light that stays on all the time. Phantom load will add a few watthours to energy consumption, but a few watt-hours on each of your many electronic devices adds up. To avoid

For example, a PC and monitor: [(120 Watts + 150 Watts) × 4 hours per day × 365 days per year] ÷ 1000 = 394 kWh × 11 cents/kWh = $43.34/year

If your appliances need an upgrade, many new models feature high-tech energy efficiency settings that make the upfront cost worth the investment. But remember—to see savings on your electric bill, you have to use the energy-saving settings. Photograph provided by GE

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You can usually find the wattage of most appliances stamped on the bot-

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this silent power draw, unplug the device or invest in a “smart” power strip, which allows certain electronics—like a cable box, which takes time to reboot after it’s been unplugged—to continue using electricity while others can be completely shut down. Here are examples of the range of wattages for common household appliances: • Clothes washer: 350–500 Watts • Clothes dryer: 1800–5000 Watts • Dishwasher: 1200–2400 Watts (heat drying feature increases energy use) • Hair dryer: 1200–1875 Watts • Microwave oven: 750–1100 Watts • Refrigerator (frost-free, 16 cubic feet): 725 Watts Once you calculate how much money you spend to run aging home appliances, compare this to what it would cost to use more efficient models. There are other benefits, too. For example, not only have clothes washers become 64 percent more energy efficient since 2000, but the tub size has increased by 9 percent. With a new model you can wash more clothes for less money every month. Don’t want the hassle of adding up the potential savings? Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives’ website, www.TogetherWeSave.com, demonstrates how small changes like replacing an appliance or unplugging electronics lead to big energy savings. On the website under ‘Add Up Your Savings,’ you can walk through a typical home’s kitchen, living room, and other common areas. Upgrade appliances and make other energysmart choices in each room. Each time you make a change, you’re shown how much money you could save on your annual electric bill. Contact your public power district or electric cooperative to see if they offer any rebates or incentives for upgrading to higher efficiency appliances. Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, Energy Star

Rural Electric Nebraskan


Boaters need to avoid invasive aquatic hitchhikers Boaters should clean, drain, and dry to avoid introducing invasive species to state’s waterways icking up a hitchhiker is a choice for any driver of a vehicle. But boaters may inadvertently pick up an “aquatic hitchhiker” that can cause serious problems for rivers, lakes, power companies, water utilities, and recreation users of those bodies of water. Boaters using Lake Maloney, Sutherland Reservoir, the Missouri River, or any Nebraska body of water need to be aware of the potential for invasive species hitchhiking their way from one body of water to another. Boaters need to take certain actions this summer regarding zebra mussels which could be introduced into Nebraska’s waterways, if a boat has been used in another state. Zebra mussels multiply at a rapid rate and will attach themselves to pipes or other structures, clogging the ability to intake water into a facility, such as water treatment plants or a power plant that utilizes water from reservoirs or rivers to generate electricity. “Millions of dollars have been spent in other parts of the United States at similar facilities to unclog intake structures of invasive species. We have been fortunate so far, but we need boaters to be aware of the potential for aquatic hitchhikers,” NPPD Environmental Manager Joe Citta explained. Invasive species introduced into local waters could have a negative impact on the operation of NPPD’s Gerald Gentleman Station at Sutherland Reservoir, the North Platte Hydroelectric Facility, and Cooper Nuclear Station along the Missouri River. Aquatic invasive species are nonnative organisms that cause significant harm to intake structures and the ecosystem when introduced. Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels, are small organisms that could have huge impacts for Nebraska's waters, boaters, and anglers. They can ruin fisheries, clog cooling systems in motorboats, foul hulls, and

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damage aquatic equipment. Once a boat has been in infested waters, it can carry zebra mussels and spread them to new habitats on boats trailered by commercial haulers or boat owners. These aquatic hitchhikers attach to boats, plants stuck on boats, bait buckets, and other aquatic recreational equipment. An adult female zebra mussel can release up to a million eggs in a year. “There have been reports of these invasive species showing up in various bodies of water in some of our neighboring states in the past, so we encourage boaters to follow some simple steps to help prevent the introduction of zebra mussels into Nebraska’s waterways,” Citta added. The best way for boaters to address

the spread of zebra mussels is to check their equipment for these aquatic hitchhikers and remove any visible mud, plants, fish, or animals from the boat. Boaters should clean, drain, and dry all equipment that comes into contact with the water, including trailers. If there is a place for water to collect, there is a chance that zebra mussels or other similar invasive species may be transported. Boaters should drain the bilges and live wells in their boats, and if unable to be drained, use a cup of bleach to kill any live mussels. It is also a good idea to dry the boat for several days before its next use. If possible, power-wash the boat, motor, and trailer to scour off invisible juvenile mussels.

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Hydropower: Time-tested Renewable Energy nergy from flowing water has been harnessed and used for more than 2,000 years, beginning with the ancient Greeks using water wheels to grind wheat. In the 1880s, converting a rush of water into electricity became a reality in the United States. Today, hydropower provides about 80,000 MW of capacity in the United States—enough to power more than 25 million average homes—and accounts for about 75 percent of all renewable electricity used by co-ops. But how does it work? Simply, hydropower converts the natural energy of moving water to mechanical energy,

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using a water wheel or its modern-day equivalent, a turbine, attached to a generator. With highly efficient turbine-generators doing the job formerly performed by water wheels, electricity flows in a number of ways: • Impoundment: When most people think of hydropower, dams come to mind. By plugging a river and amassing water in a reservoir, its flow (and the resulting electricity) can be better controlled and generated as needed. • Diversion: Water is channeled away from a river, typically near natural falls, down to generators at the falls’ base. This can be done without

Gavins Point Dam, located near Yankton, S.D., was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944. Lewis and Clark Lake is one of the most popular recreation spots in the Great Plains. The powerhouse began producing elecricity in 1956. Photograph by Harry E. Weddington, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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any visible impact to the natural course of a river. In fact, this kind of generation was used to bring electricity to Buffalo, New York, from Niagara Falls in the late 1800s. • Pumped storage: This method essentially uses off-peak electricity to make electricity for use during times of high consumption. Two reservoirs are filled, one typically uphill from the other, with an electric pump/generator in between. At night, when demand is low and electricity is less expensive, water from the lower reservoir gets pumped uphill. During the day, when demand for power increases, that water is released down through the generator to make electricity. More than 600 public power districts and electric co-ops across the country purchase power from 134 federally owned and operated dams, most of which were built between the late 1930s and early 1960s. Despite the incredible importance of these resources, maintenance has lagged in recent years and created room for improvement. Public power districts and electric co-ops are making efforts to address this problem, advocating that the government set aside funds to repair and maintain dams and the turbines inside them. Researchers are also looking to create more efficient and fish-friendly ways of generating hydropower. Careful studies of aquatic environments have given dam operators a better idea of how to simulate a natural river downstream. A 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) revealed many of the nation’s dams hold untapped power. Roughly 2,500 dams provide conventional and pumped-storage hydropower in the United States. But the vast majority of dams some 80,000, ranging from 4-ft.to 770-ft. high are non-powered. DOE analyzed 54,391 of them. The US Army Corps of Engineers has been involved in building and operating hydroelectric plants since the 1930's. Many Corps projects which were built primarily for navigation, flood control, or other purposes are also used for hydropower production.

Rural Electric Nebraskan


The Corps is the largest single producer of hydroelectricity in the United States. Nationwide, the Corps operates 75 hydropower projects, housing 349 generator units with a total capacity of 20.7 million kilowatts, or about 3.5 percent of the total U.S. electric power production. Along the Missouri River itself, the Corps operates a total of 36 generator units capable of producing approximately 2.4 million kilowatts of power. These powerplants and dams were authorized by Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1944, commonly called the Pick-Sloan Act. The act authorized harnessing the Missouri River to provide for flood control, irrigation development, navigation, municipal and industrial water supply, recreation, and hydropower generation. The water used to produce electricity at Fort Peck Dam in Montana passes through five other powerplants, each producing more electricity on its way to the ocean. This makes hydropower one of the most efficient forms of power generation. The Western Area Power Administration markets and delivers the power produced at the Missouri River powerplants within a 15-state region of the central and western United States. WAPA markets this power to the rural electric cooperatives, municipal and public-owned systems which in turn sell the power to you. Locks and dams on the Missouri, Ohio, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas rivers facilities owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offer the most untapped potential. The top 10 sites alone could provide approximately 3,000 MW. “Many of these dams could be converted to generate electricity with minimal impact to critical species, habitats, parks, or wilderness areas,” the DOE report stated. Electric utilities’ efforts in pushing for increased maintenance and technology development will ensure that hydropower remains a reliable and affordable renewable resource for decades to come. Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, NRECA

August 2013

Power from the Platte River

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ingsley Dam was constructed between 1936 and 1941 to form Lake McConaughy, Nebraska's largest lake and the main storage reservoir for the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District's hydroirrigation project. Lake McConaughy is almost 22 miles long, covers more than 30,000 acres when full and can hold almost 2 million acre-feet of water. The dam was constructed by pumping a mixture of loess soil and water (Brule clay) into the middle to form the watertight core while the sides were formed by pumping sand and gravel from the bed to the North Platte River (Lake Ogallala was formed during this process). The dam is 162 ft high, 1,100 ft wide The Kingsley Hydroplant can proat its base and 28 ft wide at the top. duce 50 megawatts of electricity. More than 26 million cubic yards of earth were moved during construction of the 3.5 mile-long dam. The face is covered by more than a million tons of rock in several layers and more than 180,000 concrete tetrahedrons. The dam is named for George P. Kingsley of Minden and the lake for Charles W. McConaughy of Holdrege, both of whom were early advocates of developing the state's water resources for irrigation and power production. Lake Control Structures The Outlet Tower (the structure furthest from the dam) is used for normal water releases. Water enters the structure through gates at the bottom of the lake. Since addition of the hydroplant, most releases through the dam are controlled by wicket gates inside the hydroplant. The tower is 185 ft tall and is connected with the hydroplant by a steel-reinforced concrete tube 20 ft in diameter. The "Morning Glory" spillway is a flood-control structure that controls the top 16 feet of the reservoir. The spillway is 172 ft tall with a diameter of 101 ft. Its 12 gates, each 16 ft high and 22 ft wide, weigh 20 tons each. Kingsley Hydroplant The Kingsley Hydroplant was conThe “Morning Glory” spillway constructed between 1981 and 1984 to trols the water level of the reservoir. add to Nebraska’s power generating capabilities. The 50-megawatt plant, like three other hydroplants owned by Central, is operated from the Control Center in Gothenburg. The Hydroplant is named for Donaldson W. Kingsley, the first president of the Central District's board of directors. The immense spray of water occasionally seen coming from the plant passes through the bypass valve, which was originally installed as a means by which water could be released through the plant without running it through the turbine. The valve is now used on a regular basis during the summer to maintain dissolved oxygen levels for the benefit of the lake's trout population.

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Break the Rules: Planting in Summer’s Heat

Summer’s heat may be sizzling, but you can still plant in hot weather

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by Kris Wetherbee

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here are times when breaking the rules is a good thing, such as the long held belief that planting in the heat of summer is a no-no. The rule of thumb has always been to plant in spring and fall when the weather is cooler. But a rising temperature doesn’t mean you can’t continue to fill the empty spaces in your garden with plants. Sure, there are some things you shouldn’t plant in summer, such as a bareroot, newly dug, or newly divided plant. When you dig up all or part of a plant that has already established its roots in the ground, even with care you will ultimately destroy some of the roots. Such a plant is also actively growing and full with foliage. When you replant it in its new location during summer’s heat, the shock can be fatal. You can successfully plant new perennials, annuals, and shrubs in the heat of summer as long as the plant has spent the last several months in a container. Any shock from transplanting is essentially eliminated since you didn’t actually dig up the plant. Summer conditions may still cause new plantings some stress, but it’s nothing that the following planting techniques and summertime tips can’t overcome. Finding the Right Spot One of the great things about planting in summer is that most plants are in their full flush of growth. This allows you to better visualize the total effect because you can actually see its form along with the color of its foliage or flowers. The added dimensional aspect also helps in knowing where to place the plant in your garden. Yet there’s more than a plant’s good looks and your personal preference to consider when placing your plant. Anytime a plant goes in the ground you should match the plant’s growth habits to the garden site. This is true in any season, but especially so in summer when rising temperatures, bright sunlight, and drying winds can be at their most extreme. A plant that prefers part shade but tolerates full sun has a better chance of surviving in full sun if it’s planted in spring rather than summer. That way the roots have enough time to take hold in the ground before the heat of summer erupts. When planted in full sun on a hot summer day, the plant may wilt before it has a chance to situate its roots. In this case, you can still successfully plant in summer by giving the plant what it prefers--a partly shady location. If you’re set on putting the plant in a sunny location, another option is to temporary shade the new planting for the first week or so using a light-colored umbrella, shade cloth, or other structure that provides some protection from the sun.

Rural Electric Nebraskan


One of the great things about planting in summer is that most plants are in their full flush of growth. This allows you to better visualize the total effect because you can actually see its form along with the color of its foliage or flowers. Photographs by Rick Wetherbee Planting Particulars When it comes to actually putting your plant in the ground, a little preparation can go a long way in determining whether a plant thrives or fails. For starters, when you plant can be just as important as how you plant. It’s best to plant on a cloudy day or in the cooler temperatures of late evening. This will minimize weather-related plant stress and transpiration loss from the plant’s leaves. Basic planting steps apply whether you’re planting in spring, summer, or fall: dig a hole a little deeper and about twice as wide as the plant’s root ball; gently work the root ball loose with your hands or a garden fork; put the plant into position and backfill with good soil mixed with a little compost; tamp the soil to stabilize the plant and remove any air pockets; and then water thoroughly. Here’s an additional summer sizzler step: fill the newly dug hole with water and let it drain before planting--especially when dealing with clay soil. This helps to ensure an easier transition for the plant since the hole and surrounding soil are thoroughly moist.

August 2013

After the Fact Give your plants an advantage over summer heat by applying a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch—such as compost, shredded leaves, nut hulls, or bark dust—immediately after planting. This will help conserve soil moisture and keep down weeds, which compete for water and nutrients. Water new plantings the first two waterings with a dilute solution of fish emulsion or liquid seaweed to help them quickly settle into their new environment. During the first week or so you may need to water daily or every other day depending on the weather, soil type, and the plant’s growing requirements. After that it’s important to keep the soil slightly moist until the plant becomes established in the garden. For most perennials and shrubs that usually occurs after the first growing season. It only takes a little extra attention and a few simple techniques to help new summer plantings thrive. So go ahead and take advantage of summer plant sales and fill in those empty spaces in your yard. The result can be amazingly beautiful.

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SAFETY BRIEFS

Follow all safety rules when using power tools ower tools serve us well. They enable us to perform difficult tasks with greater ease and accuracy than most of us could ever hope for without them. However, they demand respect. To avoid accidents, power tool operators must be knowledgeable and thoroughly prepared. Inexperienced, untrained, and unprepared operators can be injured within minutes of attempting to use a power tool. Modern power tools are designed to operate safely when used prudently and according to all instructions in the tool's operator’s manual. Virtually all power tool accidents are preventable. Yet, accidents happen to novices and experienced operators alike. Experienced tool operators get into trouble when they are careless or give in to the temptation to hurry or violate safety rules. Accidents involving novices are most often caused by a lack of necessary safety knowledge and/or respect for what a tool can do. The inexperienced tool operator may fail to identify a potentially dangerous situation. He or she may not recognize, for example, the sound of a saw that is beginning to labor because of a binding or pinching condition on the

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blade. The knowledgeable operator knows that sound is warning of an impending kickback condition. Three of the major causes of power tool injuries are inattention through repetition, an unexpected event, and inexperience or over confidence.

Inattention Through Repetition Inattention through repetition is most likely to occur at a busy jobsite or in a production shop. Hurrying to beat deadlines increases the risk of accidents and injuries. No matter how competent and confident you are, you must not become complacent. Pause deliberately after every few repeat operations to refocus on the task at hand and then proceed with renewed awareness. Unexpected Events Because most power tools operate at

high speeds, when things happen, they tend to happen very quickly. A kickback situation can suddenly hurl a workpiece - or a portable tool itself at the operator. Fingers might be drawn into the blade in some instances, or the tool may move toward fingers or other body parts that are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Working with fingers too near the blade can result in a wide variety of unpleasant surprises. Giving into distractions such as trying to catch a waste strip moving backward on a table saw after the cut can cause an operator to thoughtlessly move his or her hands into dangerous areas. Unexpected events are more likely to end badly when operators are inexperienced, plan poorly or don’t understand how a particular tool works. For example, attempting to cut, joint, or shape small workpieces without a guard and the use of work helpers (or jigs) can end in disaster. Blades and cutters can mangle fingers when an operator attempts to machine small pieces. Knowing how to build and use jigs and fixtures that keep the workpiece under control and hands well away from blades and cutters is essential.

Rural Electric Nebraskan


This Farmall fan wants to know... First issue in the

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Celebrating an American tradition For over half a century, America’s farmers have relied on Farmall—“Red Power” to get the job done right. Now, this little boy is happy to carry on the tradition, just like his dad and grandad before him. Introducing “Is it harvest time yet?” a new edition from Ashton-Drake that honors the tractor that “helped grow America!” Officially authorized by International Harvester, this 5-inch doll by awardwinning artist Sherry Rawn is amazingly lifelike from his irresistible chubbiness to his perfectly sculpted little fingers and toes! He arrives wearing a red Farmall cap, denim overalls, and white tee. He also comes with a tiny hay bale and blanket adorned with nostalgic Farmall artwork.

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CUT YOUR UTILITY BILLS

How to insulate an attic access cover by James Dulley

I just had a house built and disQ :covered no insulation on the attic opening cover. Shouldn't the cover be insulated and sealed? If I add folding stairs, how can I insulate them? don’t always insulate A :andBuilders seal the attic access opening cover, but it certainly should be added for energy savings. Most often, just a scrap piece of plywood or drywall is cut somewhat close to the correct size and placed in the opening, resting on a strip of molding. That type of cover’s insulation value is less than R-1 and it leaks air like a sieve. Because the attic access is often in the ceiling of a bedroom closet or a hallway, the air leakage and heat loss/gain are seldom noticeable. During summer, attic temperatures can get extremely high and the air is humid, so you don’t want it in your living space. During winter, the heated air in the house, because it is less dense, tends to leak up and out. The simplest fix is to attach insulation to the top of the cover and weatherstripping underneath where it rests on the lip of the opening. Measure the cover to make sure it fits the opening, with the cover overlapping the molding lip so the weatherstripping seals well. If you have to make a new one, a piece of 1/2-inch drywall works well and is fire resistant. The insulation on the top of the cover should be up to the recommended code ceiling R-value for your area—find out what that is at www.ornl.gov/~roofs/Zip/ZipHome.ht ml. (Adding more insulation above this level will not help appreciably.) In a well-insulated house, even just several square feet of uninsulated floor can lose a considerable amount of heat.

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Before you add weatherstripping to the molding lip, place the cover over it and check whether it’s even. The lip often consists of pieces nailed to the sides of the opening and aren’t level. You may have to pry a side or two loose and reattach it. If it’s very uneven, it will be difficult to get a good seal under the cover no matter how compliant the weatherstripping is.

This close-up view of the cardboard box shows how well it seals against the attic floor to block air leakage.Photograph provided by Battic Door In my own house, I first nailed a piece of 1/2-inch drywall to the plywood cover to give it some additional weight. Next, I glued a few layers of 3/4-inch polyurethane foam sheets on top of it. I added four layers to get three inches of foam insulation. I used foil-faced insulation so it would reflect the heat from the hot roof back up during the summer. The next step is to attach adhesive-backed foam weatherstripping to the top edge of the lip around the opening. Use as thick a foam as you can find to accommodate any out-oflevel edges. The weight of the plywood and drywall should be adequate to compress the foam weatherstripping.

If you plan to go up into your attic often and want to install pull-down stairs or a ladder, or your attic currently has one, buy a special insulated cover for the attic access opening. You could attempt to make one yourself, but its weight may be hazardous to open and manage when you are on the stairs. One of the least expensive options is basically a three-sided heavy duty cardboard box. It’s easy to open and assemble, and then you can attach your own insulation to the top and sides. It’s very lightweight and easy to lift and handle when you enter the attic on the stairs. An efficient option is a lightweight large rigid-foam domed device that covers the folded stairs or ladder from above. It’s strong, and the foam provides adequate insulation. Another design uses a flexible zippered insulated cover that is permanently attached to the attic floor for a good airtight seal. The zipper provides a large opening for easy access to the attic. TogetherWeSave.com, an energy efficiency website from the nation’s electric cooperatives, has two videos on this subject as part of its Watch & Learn series; visit http://energysavings.togetherwesave.com/watch-andlearn and click on the Sealing & Insulation tab, then scroll down to find how-to videos on insulating attic hatches and attic pull-down stairs. The following companies offer attic entrance products: Atticap, (781) 259-9099, www.draftcap.com; Attic Tent, (877) 660-5640, www.attictent.com; Battic Door, (508) 320-9082, www.batticdoor.com; Calvert Stairs, (866)477-8455, www.calvertusa.com; and Rainbow Attic Stairs, (203) 322-0009, www.rainbowatticstairs.com.

Send inquiries to James Dulley, Rural Electric Nebraskan, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.

Rural Electric Nebraskan


Keeping your children and babysitter safe eaving your children in the care of a babysitter can be a stressful experience. You have prepared the babysitter by going over instructions on the kids’ routines, where to find needed supplies, and important contact information. Did you also prepare your home? With a little preparation you can help ensure your children’s safety and make your babysitter's life easier. Safe Electricity has tips to help you prevent electrical accidents in your home. Your home's electrical system should be in good working order. Looking for and repairing electrical problems is an important step in preventing electrical accidents in your home. Cracked outlet covers and discolored outlets and switches are indications of electrical problems. These problems can lead to fires and electric shocks. Contact a professional to have your home inspected and repaired. These additional tips from Safe Electricity can help increase safety awareness, eliminate electrical hazards, and put your mind at ease: • Repair or dispose of damaged electronics and cords. • Put cords out of sight so that children are not tempted to play with them. • Use outlet covers or tamper resistant receptacles. Small fingers can easily fit into sockets, and curious children may poke objects into outlets. A tamper resistant outlet has a shutter system that only accepts electric plugs. • Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection to prevent shocks. GFCIs detect and prevent dangerous situations where an electric shock could occur. You should have GFCIs anywhere that water and electricity may meet—such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. • Have a fire extinguisher that is rated for electrical fires. Be sure your babysitter knows where it is located and how to use it. • Have smoke alarms, and be sure

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August 2013

their batteries work. • Give your babysitter a tour of the home so they are familiar with exits. • Be prepared for power outages. Have flashlights on hand, and let your babysitter know where they are. • Have a list of emergency phone numbers that includes your utility. • Look into available safety classes. Not-for-profits, hospitals, and community centers in your area may offer classes to prepare people for situations they may encounter while babysitting. You have gone through the time and effort to ensure that your children are in capable hands while you are away. With awareness and preparation, you can also help make sure that they are in the comfort of a safe home. For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.

Keep the fun in your summer pool time efore you jump in the pool this summer, you need to take the necessary steps to make sure everything is safe and you are ready for any possible emergency so that you can concentrate on having fun! Homeowners should make sure that the National Electric Code (NEC) has been followed for wiring and that ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are properly installed on equipment in areas around pools, spas, and hot tubs. Know where electrical switches and circuit breakers are for pool, hot tub, and spa equipment and know how to operate them. Refrain from swimming before, during, and after thunderstorms. Purchase a fiberglass Shepherd’s crook/rescue hook for emergencies.

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DOWN HOME

RECIPES

Delightful Zucchini Dish Grease or spray a 10x6x2 inch pan or dish Chop 3 medium tomatoes in 1/2 inch cubes Chop 3 cups zucchini in 1/2 inch cubes Slice 1 small onion Layer all in pan Place 6 cheese slices (your choice on top) Add 3 cups of soft bread crumbs that have been sauted in 5 tablespoons butter or oleo. Spread bread crumbs over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Joan Beutler, Pender, Nebraska

Sour Cream Enchiladas

Maple-Mustard Country-Style Spareribs 3/4 cup maple syrup 3/4 cup coarse grained mustard 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar 2 teaspoons Tabasco 2 teaspoons soy sauce 6 large country spareribs (about 4-1/2 pounds) Salt and coarse ground black pepper Mix maple syrup, mustard, brown sugar, hot sauce, and soy sauce. Set glaze aside. Create indirect fire with foil drip pan halffilled with water. Lay ribs on rack over drip pan and brush with glaze. Cover and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes, turning and basting every 15 minutes. Move ribs to hot side of grill. Brush with glaze, cover, and grill for 5 minutes. Repeat, turning and basting, until ribs are tender and brown (about 20 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Recipe provided by the National Pork Board

1 lb ground beef 1 pkg enchilada sauce mix 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce 1 1/2 cup boiling water

16 oz. sour cream 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese 12 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown hamburger. In saucepan combine boiling water, enchilada mix and tomato sauce. Simmer. Add 1/2 cup of this to the meat mixture along with 1/2 cup cheese. Place 2 tablespoons of meat mixture on tortilla, top with 1 tablespoon sour cream. Roll tortilla and place in 9 x 13 greased pan. Spread remaining sour cream over top and sprinkle remaining cheese. Finally, spoon enchilada sauce over all. Bake 25-30 minutes or until enchiladas are well heated and cheese is melted.

Diana Gartrell, Columbus, Nebraska

Raspberry Coffee Cake 1 cup fresh raspberries 3 tablespoons sugar or Splenda substitute 1/2 package (3 oz. size) sugar free raspberry jello 1 cup all purpose flour 1/3 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg 1/2 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon vanilla 3 tablespoons melted butter 1/3 cup sliced almond Frosting: 1 cup powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 tablespoon softened butter 1 tablespoon hot water

Grease & flour an 8 inch round baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine raspberry mixture and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Combine egg, sour cream, butter & vanilla, stir into dry ingredients just till moistened. Spoon half of batter into baking pan, top with raspberry mixture. Spoon rest of batter over raspberry mixture. Sprinkle almonds over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10-15 minutes and then remove from pan. Can also use a springform pan. Drizzle icing over coffee cake and serve while warm.

Lana Gosch, Amherst, Nebraska 20

Rural Electric Nebraskan


AUG - 1: DWM, 51, from north central Nebraska. Enjoy farm life, country living, nature, outdoor activities. Looking for great lady to spend time with. Please send photo & phone number or just write. AUG - 2: SWCM, 31, 6’2”, from east central Nebraska, like music, movies, the outdoors, star gazing, fast cars, and grilling out. Looking to meet a girl with similar interests. Please send info & phone number. Photo appreciated.

To appear in print The Rural Electric Nebraskan Adult Pen Pal Service is exclusively for member-readers ages 18 and over. To be considered for use, submissions must: (1) Identify rural electric system providing magazine; (2) Include $6 to cover mail forwarding costs; (3) Be 25 words or fewer; (4) Include full name and mailing address (will not be used in magazine); and (5) Be first person, submitted directly by person to receive responses. Acceptance, editing and issue scheduling is at editor’s discretion. Address all submissions to Rural Electric Nebraskan Adult Pen Pal Service, P.O. Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501. All responses received by the Adult Pen Pal Service are routed directly, postage paid, to the response number assigned to each submission.

AUG - 3: WWidM, NS/ND, 60, from southwest Nebraska would like to find a friend to spend time with. Agriculture oriented with good job and good work ethic. Spend most of time outside and like most all things outdoors, but stay home most of time. If interested, let’s get in touch. Please send photo.

country living, traveling, & CW music. Looking for a NS gentleman that is hardworking, kind, fun to be around, and enjoys country living. If you are that gentleman please reply. AUG - 6: SWM, 36, blonde, blue eyed, hard working cowboy from northern Nebraska that is career set. I like traveling, grilling out, gardening, rodeos, and most of all how to treat a lady. Please send a photo if interested. AUG - 7: SWM, NS, 44, farmer, rancher, social drinker, from central Nebraska enjoy cards, camping, slow dancing, being outdoors, watching Husker football & basketball. Looking for a soul mate, a young lady. AUG - 8: 42, CDWF, NS/ND, central Nebraska, C/W with a little 80’s R&R, honest, compassionate, 5’5”, 120 lbs of country girl. Photo Appreciated.

AUG - 4: DCM, NS, 48, from central Nebraska looking for someone between 40-50 that likes to work outdoors, dance & loves to have fun. Please send photo and phone number. AUG - 5: WidC, hard working, compassionate, big hearted 55-year-old gal from central Nebraska. My likes are family, rodeos, animals, gardening,

To write To respond to one of the adult pen pal requests, write letter, place in envelope, seal and affix first class postage. Address to full, correct response #, c/o Rural Electric Nebraskan Adult Pen Pal Service, P.O. Box 82048, Lincoln, NE 68501. Your letter will be forwarded unopened. Do not send money or additional postage; forwarding is prepaid. Enclose your full mailing address for return correspondence. Once again . . . it is very important that all responses carry the full response number—both month and number—to be properly forwarded. Abbreviation Code C — Christian; C/W — Country-western; D — Divorced; F — Female; M — Male; NS — Non-Smoker; ND — Non-Drinker; R&R — Rock and roll; S — Single; W — White; Wid — Widowed

August 2013

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Five major considerations to help make an informed decision before buying a Walk-In Tub:

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UĂŠ >VĂ•Ă˘Ă˘ÂˆÂŽ PointProTM Jet System

- Warranty - Ask for a lifetime “no leak guarantee� The best tubs offer a lifetime warranty on both the tub and the operating system.

UĂŠ ÂœĂœĂŠ Threshold Step

The Designed for SeniorsŽ Walk-In tub is luxurious, feature-packed and affordable here is nothing like the simple pleasure of taking a warm bath. The cares of the day seem to fade away, along with the aches and pains of everyday life. Unfortunately for many aging Americans with mobility issues, slipping into a bath can result in slipping onto the floor. The fear of falling has made the simple act of bathing and its therapeutic benefits a thing of the past‌ until now. firstSTREET, the leader in products Designed for SeniorsŽ has partnered with JacuzziŽ, the company that perfected hydrotherapy. Together, they’ve created a walk-in tub that offers more than just safe bathing, peace-of-mind and independence, it can actually help you feel better. Unlike traditional bathtubs, our Designed for SeniorsŽ Walk-In Tub features a leak-proof door that allows you to simply step into the tub rather than stepping

precariously over the side. It features a state-of-the-art acrylic surface, a raised seat, and the controls are within easy reach. No other Walk-In Tub features the patented JacuzziŽ PointProTM jet system. These high-volume, low-pressure pumps feature a perfectly balanced water to air ratio to massage thoroughly yet gently. Some swirl, some spiral, some deliver large volumes of water and others target specific pressure points. They are all arranged in precise locations designed to deliver a therapeutic massage, yet they are fully adjustable so that your bathing experience can be completely unique. Why spend another day wishing you could enjoy the luxury and pain-relieving benefits of a safe, comfortable bath. Call now and you’ll get an unsurpassed limited lifetime warranty. Knowledgeable product experts are standing by to help you learn more about this product. Call Today!

- Pain Relieving Therapy - Find a tub that has both water and air jet therapy to soak away your aches and pains preferably with a perfectly balanced water to air mix. - Comfort - Insist on ergonomic design, easy-to-reach controls. - Endorsements - Only consider tubs that are ETL or UL listed. Also look for a tub tested to IAPMO (International Assoc. of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials) standards and that’s USPC (Universal Spa Plumbing Code) Certified.

Designed For SeniorsÂŽ ew & Walk-In Tub

N ved For information call: m I pro

1-888-684-8049

SEE THE DIFFERENCE

Laboratory tests clearly show how JacuzziŽ jets outperform other manufacturers’ jet systems, producing a deeper and wider plume of revitalizing bubbles. Best of all, it doesn’t cost you a penny more!

Call now Toll-Free and mention your special promotion code 50273. Third-party financing available with approved credit. Aging in the Home Remodelers Inc. is neither a broker nor a lender. Not available in Hawaii and Alaska

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What To Look For in a Walk-In Tub:

Š 2013 Aging in the Home Remodelers Inc.


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The Rural Electric Nebraskan (REN) has been published since January 1947.