TIMES JANUARY & FEBRUARY • 2020
Jump into energy savings
A Look ahead, Pg 3 a greener new year, pg 12
ELECTRIC • NATURAL GAS • PROPANE
TIMES JANUARY & FEBRUARY â€˘ 2020
In this issue
1500 Granville Road Newark, Ohio 43058 (800) 255-6815
a look ahead 3 teach kids energy safety 4 jump into energy savings 5
myenergycoop.com firstname.lastname@example.org Todd Ware President & CEO
directorâ€™s corner 7 delivering natural gas to your home 8 veterans grant awarded 11
Gary Baker Director of Marketing & Public Relations
a greener new year 12
Heather Juzenas Communications Manager Please report any change of email address or phone number to us at (800) 255-6815 or by emailing feedback@ theenergycoop.com. The Energy Cooperative Times is the official publication of The Energy Cooperative. This magazine is the bimonthly communication link between The Energy Cooperative, based in Newark, Ohio, and its 65,000 members. MYENERGYCOOP.COM
concern for community 14
Save the Date
Earth & Energy Day: Sunday, April 26 Annual Meeting: Monday, May 4 Kids Day: Sunday, June 28 2
a look ahead
By Todd Ware, President & Chief Executive Officer Energy Bills
Every year at this time, I look forward to updating you on our progress during the past year, and share what weâ€™re looking forward to in the upcoming year. We continue to focus on two areas that we think make a difference to our members. Todd Ware
At this time of year many members get concerned about high energy bills due to cold weather. As things stand currently the price of natural gas continues to stay low due to increased supply within the United States. Propane prices for this winter declined slightly which should help with the winter heating bills. Electric generation costs have remained fairly flat over the past couple years. If you get concerned about your winter heating bills, please contact our member service representatives at 1-800255-6815 to discuss budget billing or getting connected with community resources to assist with the winter heating bills.
The reliability of our service to you is our top priority. During 2019 we started installing our new electric Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI). These new meters will give us better data about your service and allow us to remotely operate your meter if needed. Over the past year we continued to update our infrastructure, replacing several miles of natural gas bare steel pipe, while also replacing several miles of aging infrastructure on the electric system. In addition, work has been completed on our transmission assets, both for electric and natural gas to ensure we are able to deliver your energy needs. We have worked to ensure that our storage levels for natural gas and propane are adequate to meet your demands over the winter. In addition, we have continued to grow our system as we anticipate adding over 600 new natural gas members, over 300 new electric members and nearly 200 new propane members.
Commitment We will work to continue to improve our system during 2020 so that we may continue to deliver safe and reliable energy to your home or business each day. This will include completing our AMI project.
I continue to feel honored to be your CEO and lead the cooperative as we head into the future. I would like to thank the board of directors and employees for their continued dedication. I hope that each of you had a wonderful holiday season. We look forward to serving you in 2020.
Communication We continue to work on improving our communication with you, our members. During 2019 we rolled out a chat feature to add another way for you to communicate with us. To date it has worked very well as we our averaging over 25 chats per day. Also, SmartHub was updated to improve some of its features. If you have not used one of these two tools, I urge you to check them out the next time you need to get a hold of us.
Teach Kids Energy Safety By Connie Hogue, Director of Human Resources and Safety Natural Gas
Keeping children safe should always be a top priority. Children don’t always know what can be dangerous, so it’s our responsibility as adults to teach them how to be safe around electricity and natural gas.
These tips will help keep children safe around natural gas. • Teach kids to recognize the odor of natural gas. • Explain that if they smell that odor in their home, they should get everyone out immediately. They should go to a neighbor’s home or another safe location and have the neighbor call 911 and notify the gas company. • If they smell a gas leak, they should never use anything in the home that might create spark. This includes using the phone or cell phone, opening an electric garage door, or starting a vehicle in an attached garage. Just leave. • Teach them not to play with gas stove burner knobs. Consider installing child proof knob covers. Use the back burners whenever possible and keep pot handles turned inward. • If you have a gas fireplace, keep your fireplace vents or exhaust clean. Install a carbon monoxide alarm. If you have glass doors, teach children to stay away to prevent burns. For babies, install a fence around the perimeter of the fireplace and hearth or put them in a playpen. Always supervise your children when the fireplace is being used.
Electricity To keep children safe from electrical hazards, follow these guidelines. Teach kids to never touch a power line or anything that may be touching a power line. This includes tree limbs, kite string or anything else that’s in contact with a line. Make sure children never climb trees, build tree houses or fly kites near power lines. Never allow children to play on or around green pad-mounted transformers that may be in their neighborhood. Keep all electrical products out of the reach of children. Use plastic outlet caps when there are young children in the home. Always keep power tools and electric lawn tools away from any sources of outdoor water, including sprinklers and pools. Never bathe children with a plugged-in electrical appliance like a radio or hair dryer nearby. Always unplug small appliances when not in use.
• • • • • •
The American Gas Association (AGA) released a short video to help educate youth about the importance of natural gas safety in the home. This resource can also be found on our website at myeenergycoop.com/kids-corner. We encourage you to follow these simple guidelines to help keep your children safe around these important energy sources.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International has created a library of resources that includes fun tips, cartoons and games about electrical safety. You can find a link to this resource, as well as others, on our website https://myenergycoop.com/kids-corner.
Jump into energy savings By Pat McGonagle, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Reduce water heating temperature.
Energy management is often associated with expensive projects, such as upgrading appliances or home heating systems. If a costly energy upgrade is beyond your budget, there are a number of small changes you can make that will have a big impact on your energy bills.
What is the temperature setting on your water heater? Manufacturers often set the temperature at 140°F, which is higher than necessary for normal use. Lowering the temperature setting to 120°F can reduce your energy costs while still providing the hot water that you expect.
Don’t forget the laundry room. Clothes washers and dryers are among the largest energy consumers of any home appliances. Save money by washing full loads in cool water. Use the high-speed or extended spin cycle to remove as much moisture as possible before drying. Save money by using the lower heat settings on the clothes dryer. Even if the drying cycle is longer—you’ll use less energy and save money.
Use only what you need. This is the simplest, and often the most effective, energysaving strategy. Turn off lights and electronic equipment when they’re not being used. Timers, occupancy sensors and other energy-management devices are low-cost alternatives that add convenience and optimize energy savings.
Change your furnace filter. A dirty furnace filter reduces heating system efficiency. This wastes energy and costs you money. If you have not changed your filter for a while, check it. Change the filter once per month during the heating seasons.
Adjust temperature settings. Set temperatures to minimize energy use while maintaining your comfort. Recommended energy-saving temperatures are 68°F in the winter and 75°F in summer. Install Wi-Fi programmable thermostats to optimize savings and comfort according to your schedule.
Close the curtain on heat loss. Windows cause a substantial amount of heat loss, but window treatments help to keep the heat inside your house. Hang treatments as close to the window as possible to create a sealed air space. Close window treatments at night to help retain heat.
Unplug and save. Many household devices continue to draw power in standby mode. Examples include TVs, cable boxes, smartphone chargers, microwaves and video game consoles. Unfortunately, standby (or phantom) power isn’t just standing by; it flows through your electrical circuits and onto your monthly bill. Because these devices continue to use energy while they’re switched off or not doing their job, they’re wasting electricity. Use power strips to shut off clusters of equipment with a single flip of the switch. Advanced power strips can automatically shut off power to devices when they’re not in use.
Questions? Give us a call at 1-800-255-6815 to discuss your energy needs.
G E N E R AT O R SAFETY TIPS Never connect a standby generator into your home's electrical system. There are only two safe ways to connect a standby generator to your equipment.
STATIONARY GENERATOR :
An approved generator transfer switch, which keeps your house circuits separate from the electric provider, should be installed by a professional.
PORTABLE GENERATOR :
• Plug appliances directly into the outlet provided on the generator. • Set up and run your generator in a well-ventilated area outside the home. Make sure it's out and away from your garage, doors, windows and vents. Carbon monoxide is deadly. • Use a heavy-duty extension cord to connect electric appliances to the outlet on the generator. • Start the generator first before connecting appliances.
Director’s Corner By Jack Schmidt, CCD, BL, District 3 Director
Cooperatives across the United States are deeply connected to the communities they serve and focus on meeting members’ energy needs today and into the future. Providing our members with safe, reliable and affordable energy will always be our highest priority, but this requires much more than simply maintaining power lines, pipelines and other infrastructure.
In response to public policy discussions in Washington about ways to reduce emissions, electric cooperatives are participating in cutting-edge research to capture and use carbon emissions to make commercial products. This work is under way at the Integrated Test Center, just outside of Gillette, Wyoming, where researchers will strive to advance technologies and expand understanding of what’s possible in this new arena.
get involved The ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action program is the political action committee of the nation’s electric cooperatives. ACRE was founded in 1966 by approximately 1,000 cooperatives in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
It requires us to focus on what our elected leaders are doing in Washington to ensure they are acting in your best interest. Here are some of the things we’re keeping an eye on in the nation’s capital.
Your participation in this nationwide program ensures that the voice of cooperatives remains strong in our nation’s capital and in your state legislature. Maintaining a strong grassroots presence in the political process is instrumental to the long-term success of the cooperative program and the communities they serve. To join ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action or to learn more about this effort, visit myenergycoop.com/acre.
RURAL Act Congress created a problem for electric cooperatives when it made changes to the tax code in 2017 that inadvertently put cooperatives’ tax-exempt status at risk if they received government grants. This could have stuck co-op members with the cost of paying taxes had Congress not acted to fix the problem. Fortunately, Congress passed bipartisan legislation known as the RURAL Act that makes it clear that electric cooperatives won’t lose their tax-exempt status just because they receive government grants.
Wind Energy Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy selected the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)—our national trade association —to research small-scale, community-based wind energy solutions that can be deployed by electric cooperatives. This research, to be conducted in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is critical to helping cooperatives meet their members’ desire for affordable renewable energy solutions.
Delivering natural gas to Your home
By Dan McVey, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer – Gas Operations
The U.S. natural gas system uses more than 300,000 miles of pipelines, hundreds of storage facilities, and more than 50 import/export locations. This extensive network can transport natural gas to almost any point in the country, quickly and affordably. Here’s more about what it takes to bring natural gas to your home.
While moving through transmission pipelines some natural gas is injected into underground storage facilities. Storage is critical to maintaining adequate supplies. Excess natural gas delivered during the summer months is stored in base-load facilities to ensure adequate supply and price control during the heating season. Peak-load storage facilities help meet short-term supply interruptions or demand increases. These facilities can deliver smaller amounts of gas more quickly than baseload units and are easily replenished.
Gathering Pipelines are used to transport natural gas from the wellhead to a central location where processing facilities remove liquids and other impurities. The natural gas can then be compressed to achieve a higher pressure and is then ready to go into the transmission pipeline system.
There are three main types of underground storage facilities: • Depleted gas reservoirs are geological formations that no longer contain recoverable natural gas. • Aquifers are permeable, water-containing rock formations reconditioned to store natural gas. • Salt caverns refitted for storing peak-load natural gas.
Transmission An elaborate network of pipelines and equipment transmit natural gas to areas of high demand. These transmission pipelines form a complex highway with natural gas traveling at an extremely high pressure.
Distribution Distribution is the final leg in the journey. The natural gas pressure is lowered with regulator stations at the transmission delivery point (city gate) prior to distribution. Because natural gas is odorless, mercaptan is added to make leak detection easier. Mercaptan smells like rotten eggs.
Transmission pipelines vary in size and function. There are two major types: • Intrastate pipelines carry gas from processing plants to distribution centers within one state. • Interstate pipelines carry gas from processing plants to distribution centers between states. Though technically similar, intrastate and interstate pipelines are often subject to different regulations.
Local distribution companies deliver gas to end-users at various points along the transmission system. These companies may be investor-owned or member owned gas systems like your Cooperative. Through this process, smaller volumes of gas at much lower pressure are transmitted through smaller pipelines to the meter at your house.
The transmission system includes infrastructure that guides and controls the flow of natural gas: • Compressor stations use turbines, engines or electric motors to maintain high pressure as the natural gas moves through transmission pipelines. • Metering stations measure the flow of natural gas so that it can be monitored and managed as it moves. • Valves and regulators control the flow of gas in the pipelines.
State utility commissions regulate local distribution companies, as well as distribution lines and intrastate pipelines. Some states allow gas marketers to provide for the supply of natural gas, although local distribution companies typically oversee and manage the delivery infrastructure.
Veterans grant awarded American Legion Post 254 - Johnstown, OH The Energy Cooperative awarded a $2,000 Veteran’s Grant to American Legion Post 254 on November 27, 2019. Members of the Johnstown, Ohio Legion Post, voluntarily offer their services not only to area veterans, but also to area seniors, youth, and people with disabilities. Annually, members of Post 254 average 8,000 volunteers hours and donate an estimated $12,000–$15,000 to their community. The post plans to use the funds to enhance and support missions of the American Legion.
“We recognize the incredible work provided by this service organization and are proud to offer this community grant to further strengthen their efforts in serving local veterans and the community.” - Gary Baker, Director of Public Relations & Marketing The Energy Cooperative Veteran’s Grant The Energy Cooperative’s veteran themed propane truck does more than just make propane deliveries. Its special purpose is to “pay-it-forward” to those who sacrificed for us. For every gallon of propane delivered by the patriotic truck, one penny is donated through The Energy Cooperative’s Veterans Support Grants.
Do you know an organization that could benefit from an veteran’s Grant? To learn more about this program, or to apply for a veterans grant visit myenergycoop.com/veterans-grant. MYENERGYCOOP.COM
From left: Post Commander Bruce Tolle, Gary Baker
A LOOK BACK AT 2019
A Greener new year Six resolutions to help
3. Buy green.
Are you looking to save energy and live more sustainably? The New Year is the perfect time to start fresh. With these six resolutions, you can make simple changes to your lifestyle that will have a positive impact on your energy bill and the environment.
Think about what you’re purchasing. Do you really need it? If you do buy, select products and packaging made from recycled and recyclable materials.
1. Use less energy. Start simple. Turn off lights and electronics when you're not using them. Next, adjust the thermostat when you're not at home to save energy. A Wi-Fi programmable thermostat is a low-cost upgrade that can optimize savings and add convenience. Light maintenance helps as well, like changing your furnace filter regularly to improve heating and cooling system efficiency.
2. Make your home more energy efficient. Start with lighting. Upgrade to LEDs, which use up to 80% less energy and last far longer than conventional incandescent bulbs. Check for air leaks in exterior doors and windows and seal with weatherstripping or caulk. Give us a call to schedule an energy audit. Our Energy Advisor will provide you with custom recommendations to optimize your energy efficiency and comfort.
4. Reuse and recycle. Don’t just throw things away; find ways to reuse them. Examples include boxes for storage and old clothing as rags. Separate waste — such as cans, bottles and plastic — and recycle them.
5. Eat local and organic. Organic foods are produced using sustainable practices and local foods reduce transportation and storage. Look for organic food at the grocery store, and visit your local farmer's market.
6. Use water wisely. Clean water isn't an infinite resource. Use less by taking shorter showers and only running your dishwasher and clothes washer when you have a full load. Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.
With these simple strategies, you can save energy and reduce your impact on the environment in 2020.
WHAT’S ON THAT POLE?
This illustration shows the basic equipment found on electric utility poles. The equipment varies according to the location and the service they provide.
PRIMARY WIRES Primary wires carry 7,200 volts of electricity from a substation. That voltage is 60 times higher than the voltage that runs through your home’s electrical outlets! SURGE ARRESTORS These protect the transformer from lightning strikes.
INSULATORS Insulators prevent energized wires from contacting each other or the pole.
NEUTRAL WIRE The neutral wire acts as a line back to the substation and is tied to the ground, balancing the electricity on the system. SECONDARY SERVICE DROP Carries 120/240-volts of electricity to consumers’ homes. It has two “hot” wires from the transformer and a bare “neutral” wire that’s connected to the ground wire on the pole. GROUND WIRE The ground wire connects to the neutral wire to complete the circuit inside the transformer. It also directs electricity from lightning safely into the earth.
TELEPHONE, CABLE TV, AND FIBER WIRES These are typically the lowest wires on the pole.
Original illustration by Erin Binkley
NEVER NAIL POSTERS OR OTHER ITEMS TO UTILITY POLES. THESE CREATE A SAFETY HAZARD FOR LINEWORKERS.
concern for community Operation Round Up grants
Youth Tour Applications
The Operation Round Up Foundation awarded $35,500 in December to the following community organizations:
Learn about government, politics, public service, and cooperatives on the 2020 Ohio Youth Tour! To learn more and apply, visit https://myenergycoop.com/youth-tour/.
• • • • • • • •
Danville Local Schools toward stage curtains and screen House of New Hope toward phone system YMCA of Mount Vernon toward security system Watkins Memorial HS Robotics Team for laptops Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center toward learning kits Hebron Youth Softball toward fencing East School PTO toward playground revitalization Touching Little Lives for fabric.
We sponsor one or two high school sophomores or juniors whose parent(s) or legal guardian are cooperative members receiving electric, natural gas, or propane services to participate in the Youth Tour. The Youth Tour is an allexpense paid week-long bus trip to Washington, D.C. each year in June.
Do you know an organization that could benefit from an Operation Round Up Grant? The meeting dates for 2020 are Feb 4, April 7, June 2, Aug 4, Oct 6, Dec 1. Application materials must be received ten days before the meeting date for consideration. Visit myenergycoop.com/operation-roundup to apply for an Operation Round Up grant, or download the application for paper submission. 2019 Ohio Youth Tour
Important Messages for Natural Gas Members In accordance with Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations 49 CFR, Part 192.16, The Energy Cooperative is required to inform members that the member shall be responsible for their gas service lines.
Here’s what you need to know
1. The member is responsible for the maintenance and repair of all gas piping from the gas meter to all gas appliances. 2. The member is responsible for the repair/replacement of the gas service line located on the member’s property from the buried curb valve to the inlet of the gas meter. Buried gas piping that is not maintained may be subject to the potential hazards of corrosion and leakage. 3. For your safety, all buried pipe should be periodically inspected for leaks. If the buried piping is metallic, it should also be periodically inspected for corrosion. If an unsafe condition is found, the gas piping will need to be promptly repaired. MYENERGYCOOP.COM
4. When digging near buried gas piping, the piping should be located in advance and the excavation done by hand. As a reminder, any time you are excavating, OHIO811 should be called by simply dialing 811 or 1-800-3622764 at least 48 hours prior to digging. OHIO811 will notify various utility companies to locate utility lines in the area. 5. Plumbing and heating contractors can assist in locating, inspecting, and repairing the member’s buried piping. The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that a DOT-qualified plumbing contractor must be used to repair or replace a member’s buried piping upstream of the meter, including the gas riser attached to the meter set. While this is not required for piping downstream of the meter, The Energy Cooperative strongly recommends a DOT-qualified plumber be used for all buried gas piping.
ENERGY SAVINGS WORD SEARCH Did you know there are many ways you can help save energy in your home? Read the energy efficiency tips below and circle the bolded words in the puzzle.
• Turn off lights any time you leave a room. • Keep the refrigerator door closed to save energy. • Wash clothing in cold water to reduce the load on your water heater. • Unplug items that consume electricity even when they’re not in use, like cell phone chargers and coffee makers. These are known as “phantom load” electronics. • Take showers instead of baths – showers require less water use. 15
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE
1500 Granville Road P.O. Box 4970 Newark, Ohio 43058-4970 1-800-255-6815
COLUMBUS, OH PERMIT NO. 608
Important phone numbers • •
To report an electric power outage or a downed power line: call 1-888-535-5732. To report a natural gas or propane outage or emergency: 1-800- 255-6815.
Safety Reminders: Safety is always our top priority. • •
If you smell natural gas (rotten eggs), leave the area immediately. Call 911. Then call us at 1-800-255-6815. If you see a downed power line or other electrical hazard call 911. Then call us at 1-800-255-6815. Assume downed power lines are energized and dangerous. Consider any object touching lines energized as well.
BRINGING WHERE IT safe, reliable and Affordable energy since 1936.