TIMES MARCH & APRIL • 2020
Know what’s below
OHIO811 Before you dig april is safe digging month, Pg 3 Natural gas & Propane safety, pg 11
ELECTRIC • NATURAL GAS • PROPANE
TIMES MARCH & APRIL â€˘ 2020
In this issue
1500 Granville Road Newark, Ohio 43058 (800) 255-6815
Presidentâ€™s Message 3 April is safe digging month 4 Director Elections 6
Energy use in your home 7
Todd Ware President & CEO
Avoid Scams 8 Natural Gas & Propane Safety 11
Gary Baker Director of Marketing & Public Relations
Important messages 13
Heather Juzenas Communications Manager
ENergy to find a cure 14
Please report any change of email address or phone number to us at (800) 255-6815 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Energy Cooperative Times is the official publication of The Energy Cooperative. This magazine is the bi-monthly communication link between The Energy Cooperative, based in Newark, Ohio, and its 65,000 members. MYENERGYCOOP.COM
President’s Message By Todd Ware, President & Chief Executive Officer
much more. These features are also available from our app. If you haven’t already downloaded the SmartHub app, I encourage you take advantage of this service.
Connecting with our members helps us keep pace with the community’s priorities and needs. We encourage you to give us a call, chat or email through our website, respond to a survey or social media post, or simply stop by our main office in Newark.
One of the advantages of digital communication is that there is no print or postage involved. The digital tools are available to create useful (and sometimes instant) avenues of communications between you and your cooperative.
Respond to survey requests
As a cooperative, your feedback is needed and appreciated. We were built by our members in 1936 to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy in our communities. While times and technology have changed, our mission and outlook have not. We hope you think of The Energy Cooperative as a trusted energy partner that supports your community.
We conduct the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey annually to gather feedback from our members on the effectiveness of our services. A random selection of members will soon be contacted by phone or through email. If you are selected, please take the time to give us feedback.
Reach out to member services Our member services department (pictured below) is available from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They can note your feedback and share it with the proper person inside our organization.
We want to know Understanding our member’s priorities helps us plan events and opportunities for engagement. Choose your preferred way to connect with your cooperative:
Join us for an event Cooperative events create the opportunity to share feedback with us. If you haven’t joined us at an event, we invite you to mark your calendars for this year. • • •
Earth & Energy Day: April 26 at the Utica Service Center Annual Meeting: May 4 at The John Gilbert Reece Center, OSU Newark/COTC Campus Kids Day: June 28 at The Works in downtown Newark
Member services department, Feb. 2020
The bottom line For our cooperative and community to thrive now and in the future, we depend on hearing from our members. I hope you will continue to connect with us in 2020 and let us know your perspective and priorities.
Join the conversation online We’re focused on making it easy for you to do business with us. Myenergycoop.com serves as our digital communication hub, where members can pay bills, submit propane meter reads, view the outage map, chat with a member services representative, send us a message, and 3
April is safe digging month By Connie Hogue, Director of Human Resources and Safety Traditionally, April brings outdoor work, which often includes digging. Before you start landscaping, building a deck, planting a tree, or installing a mailbox, don’t forget to always contact OHIO811 before you dig. Digging without contacting OHIO811 is disruptive at Connie Hogue best and life-threatening at worst, should a utility line be struck. National Safe Digging Month reminds us how important it is to know what’s below—and that’s an incredible amount of buried utility lines, including gas and electric. More than 20 million miles of utility lines are buried across the U.S. Simply contact OHIO811 before any project that requires digging, and all the utilities in your area will be contacted to mark your property. Failing to call OHIO811 can cause unnecessary outages, require costly repairs or incur fines or penalties, and even risk your life. Failure to contact OHIO811 could result in fines or penalties.
HOW TO CONTACT OHIO811 • •
Call 1-800-362-2764 or 811. Visit www.oups.org/edig.
Project planning Ohio law requires anyone who plans to dig to contact OHIO811 at least 48 hours (excluding weekends and legal holidays) prior to beginning work. OHIO811 acts as the communication link between utility companies and Ohioans planning any digging activity. Within just a few days of contacting OHIO811, local utilities will mark the location of any underground lines. This service is provided free of charge and must be incorporated into your project planning. Each utility marks their lines with a specific color: Red for electric Yellow for natural gas Orange for telecommunications Blue for water Green for sewage
Hiring a contractor? It’s the responsibility of the excavator to contact OHIO811 and receive a ticket number. After making the connection, the excavator must wait 48 hours to be compliant with Ohio law. If you hire the excavator, be proactive and ensure the lines are properly marked before work starts on the project.
5 Steps for Safe Digging 1. NOTIFY Contact OHIO811 two to three days before your work begins. They notify the utilities affected by your project.
2. WAIT Wait two to three days for affected utilities to respond to your request. They will send a locator to mark any underground utility lines.
3. CONFIRM Confirm that all affected utilities have responded to your request by comparing the marks to the list of utilities the 8-1-1 call center notified.
4. RESPECT Respect the markers provided by the affected utilities. The markers are your guide for the duration of your project.
5. DIG CAREFULLY If you canâ€™t avoid digging near the markers (within 18-24 inches on all sides, depending on state laws), consider moving your project location.
director elections As a member of The Energy Cooperative, you are more than a customer, you are a member who can participate in the annual election for our Board of Directors. This gives you a voice in how your Cooperative is operated. The Energy Cooperative is working with Survey & Ballot Systems to offer electronic voting, in addition to our traditional mail-in paper ballots. Electronic voting is a secure and easy way to vote. Beginning as early as March 23, members will receive a paper ballot and annual meeting notice. Each ballot contains a unique passcode that allows members to vote online. Democratic member control is one of the seven core principles for cooperatives. This year the Board of Directors seats in Districts 1, 6, and 8 are up for election. The results of the election will be announced at the annual meeting on May 4. MYENERGYCOOP.COM
VOTE ONE OF THREE WAYS
Mark and return the paper ballot in the enclosed return envelope. 2. Login and click Vote Now in SmartHub. 3. Visit myenergycoop.com and click Vote Now. You will need to log in using the unique election passcode provided in the paper ballot. Your vote will only be counted once.
Questions? Contact our member services department at 1-800-255-6815 or visit our website at myenergycoop.com. Information on candidates and step by step instructions for the ballots will be available on myenergycoop.com.
Energy use in your home By Gary Baker, Director of Marketing & Public Relations Let us help you
The United States Energy Information Agency lists heating, cooling, water heating, lighting and refrigeration as the top five energy users in your home. The cost to heat your home typically makes up 40% of your total energy bill. As your energy cooperative, we encourage you take Gary Baker control of your energy use. By understanding how your home uses energy, you can determine ways to save energy and keep more money in your wallet.
Our member services team can provide insight into your energy use. Give us a call at 1-800-255-6815 or visit our website to chat with a member service representative. We’re ready to answer your questions! Sometimes, the best way for us to help you determine the cause of higher-than-expected energy use is to offer you an in-home energy audit. The analysis can identify how you use energy, determine where it’s being wasted and prioritize efficiency upgrades. Energy Advisor, Ray Crock, often helps our members uncover savings. If you can’t seem to get a handle on a high energy bill, our member services team can discuss this service with you in more detail.
Take control of your energy use Your family’s comfort and personal preferences play a large part in your monthly energy use. It’s also influenced by the age and size of your home, your heating and cooling system, and the temperature setting of your thermostat. All that means energy use varies widely from home to home, and what works for your neighbor may not be the best approach for you. Use the SmartHub mobile app to take a close look at your energy use. Our meters supply hourly consumption data for electric and natural gas members so you can view your energy use by the hour, day, week or year on the app and understand when you use the most energy. For instance, you may notice a spike in energy use as your family prepares to leave the house each morning and when everyone returns in the evening, and use might trend up over the holidays, when more people are in your home more often.
From left: Member Services Supervisor, Joe Pastor and Energy Advisor, Ray Crock
Finally, we encourage you to visit myenergycoop.com/ save for resources and tips on lowering your energy consumption. Remember, we’re a cooperative. We were built by our members in 1936 to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy, and our mission has not changed. We want to be a trusted energy partner for all of our members. Let us know how we can help you—that’s why we’re here.
SmartHub also charts the average temperature by day, which helps to show how temperature spikes and dips affect your energy use. The greater the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, the more energy it takes to keep your family comfortable, so you’ll see corresponding increases and decreases on your energy bills. 7
Avoid Scams Dustin Buckingham, CCD, BL, District 7 Director Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert—or just tell a friend. 6. Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls. 7. Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank.
Cooperative principle number five states we must provide our members with education, training and information. In the spirit of that principle, I want to share information to help you avoid fraud and report scams.
7 Tips to Avoid Fraud The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has developed a list of guidelines that can help members avoid being the victim of fraud. Dustin Buckingham
1. Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request—whether it comes as a text, a phone call or an email. 2. Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine. 3. Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. 4. Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for re-loadable cards (like MoneyPak or Reloadit) and gift cards (like iTunes or Google Play). Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods. 5. Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. MYENERGYCOOP.COM
Follow these steps if you encounter a scam: 1. If a suspected scammer shows up at your home, lock the doors. 2. Report the suspicious activity to your local law enforcement. 3. Contact your energy company and explain the situation so we can warn others. 4. Spread the word to family, friends and neighbors so that they don’t become victims of the scam. 5. Report the scam at stopfraud.gov, a U.S. Department of Justice website.
Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place
For more tips on smart tree planting in your community, contact us at myenergycoop.com.
Trees beautify our neighborhoods, and when planted in the right spot, can even help lower energy bills. But the wrong tree in the wrong place can be a hazard… especially to power lines.
MEDIUM TREES Height/spread of 25 to 40
Height/spread of more than
feet, such as:
40 feet, such as:
• Maple • Oak • Spruce • Pine
• Birch • Sweetgum • Linden
• Washington hawthorn • Goldenraintree • Eastern redbud • American arborvitae • Dogwoods
SMALL TREES Avoid planting within 20 feet of power lines. When planting within 20 feet is unavoidable, use only shrubs and small trees. Height/spread of no more than 25 feet such as:
• Star magnolia • Crabapple • Lilac
40ft. high or less
Tree pruning zone
Maximum tree height 25ft.
Be safe! Always call 811 before you dig to locate any buried utility lines. Source: The Arbor Day Foundation and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Types of Electric Vehicles If youâ€™re looking to purchase an electric vehicle, use this cheat sheet to help determine the various options. Drivers can choose between three types of electric vehicles (EVs). EVs are classed by the amount of electricity that is used as their energy source.
Fuel: Gasoline and/or electricity from grid
Gas Battery Battery
HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLE
Fuel: 100% electricity from grid
PLUG-IN HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLE
BATTERY ELECTRIC VEHICLE
Want to learn more about our rebate for electric vehicle charging units? Visit myenergycoop.com/rebate-programs. MYENERGYCOOP.COM
Source: Electric Power Research Institute
Natural gas & Propane safety By Dan McVey, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer – Gas Operations Natural gas and propane are used in millions of homes for indoor heating, water heating and cooking. These simple precautions will help to ensure the safety of you and your family.
Look • • • • •
For a damaged connection to a gas appliance. Dirt or water being blown into the air. Dead or dying vegetation (in an otherwise moist area) over or near pipeline areas. A fire or explosion near a pipeline. Exposed pipeline after an earthquake, fire, flood or other disaster.
maintain appliances Regularly inspecting all devices and appliances that use gas helps prevent and identify possible gas leaks. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for each appliance to understand what to check and how often for safe use. Dan McVey
Follow these safety tips: • Keep the area around appliances and equipment free of flammable materials. • Have furnaces, boilers and water heaters inspected and maintained regularly by a qualified professional. • Make sure heating equipment and flues are in good working order. • Keep the air intakes and drainpipes on water heaters unobstructed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about maintenance or the installation of insulation blankets.
An unusual sound, such as hissing, whistling, or roaring near a gas line or appliance.
If you suspect a leak If you suspect a gas leak: leave the area immediately. Call 911. Then call The Energy Cooperative at 1-800-255-6815.
Trust your senses While incidents are rare, it’s still important to know the signs of a natural gas leak—and to trust your senses. Here are the tips to help you smell, see and hear a gas leak.
An organic compound called Mercaptan is added to our natural gas and propane before it is delivered to your community. Mercaptan smells like rotten eggs. This distinctive smell helps alert you to the presence of natural gas or propane escaping in or around your home. Natural gas transported by gathering pipelines does not have the odorant mercaptan added. This gas may still have a distinct petroleum-like odor. 11
Operation Round UP Grants The Energy Cooperative’s Operation Round Up Foundation awarded $35,659 to the following community organizations in February. • Dan Emmett Elementary School to purchase ELMO document cameras, listening devices and a laminator • Mental Health America of Licking County to purchase an awning, surveillance equipment and lighting repairs • Granville Christian Academy to purchase an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and first aid kits • The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology toward the streetscape project Alcohol and Drug Freedom Center of Knox County • toward a server
Homer Volunteer Fire Department toward a medical supplies vending machine Falls Township Volunteer Fire Department toward an enclosed trailer.
Do you know an organization that could benefit from an Operation Round Up Grant? The remaining meeting dates for 2020 are 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.
Earth & Energy Day 2020
April 26th • Noon to 3:00 pm 11339 Mount Vernon Rd • Utica
Experience the Cooperative Difference As part of our efforts to fulfill the seventh cooperative principle, concern for community, we look forward to hosting our annual Earth & Energy Day celebration for you.
save the date! Annual Meeting: May 4 Kids Day: June 28 MYENERGYCOOP.COM
Bring your family to our Utica Service Center on Sunday, April 26th from noon to 3:00 pm. Along with several community partners, we will provide members with a FREE day full of great educational activities focused on earth science, conservation, energy efficiency, recycling, safety, and much more! Pick up a tree, lunch, and a bag of goodies while supplies last. Bring the ticket included in this newsletter or your bill for entry. 12
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM You Beginning this spring, The Energy Cooperative will begin working with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Market Research Services to complete a member satisfaction survey. The surveys will be conducted by phone and email. Not everyone will be contacted. If you are contacted, please take a few minutes of your time to share your opinions of The Energy Cooperative. We strive to provide our members with safe, reliable, and affordable energy. By taking part in the survey, you will help us make decisions that benefit you, your family, and our member communities. All information is confidential.
Important Messages for electric Members We are working with Anixter Power Solutions to upgrade our electric meters. Members are notified by phone before the meter exchange. Anxiter will first knock on the door, and leave a door-tag to let you know the work is complete. The installation process takes approximately ten minutes and results in a brief electric outage. It is not necessary for anyone to be home during the replacement, but please ensure there is a clear path to the meter. Visit myenergycoop.com/electricmeter-upgrade for additional information. Questions? Chat with a Member Services Representative from myenergycoop. com or call at 1-800-255-6815.
Important Messages for Natural Gas Members In accordance with Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations 4. When digging near buried gas piping, the piping should be located in advance and the excavation done by hand. 49 CFR, Part 192.16, The Energy Cooperative is required to As a reminder, any time you are excavating, OHIO811 inform members that the member shall be responsible for should be called by simply dialing 811 or 1-800-362-2764 their gas service lines. at least 48 hours prior to digging. OHIO811 will notify various utility companies to locate utility lines in the Here’s what you need to know area. 1. The member is responsible for the maintenance and repair of all gas piping from the gas meter to all gas 5. Plumbing and heating contractors can assist in locating, inspecting, and repairing the member’s buried piping. appliances. The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) 2. The member is responsible for the repair/replacement requires that a DOT-qualified plumbing contractor must of the gas service line located on the member’s property be used to repair or replace a member’s buried piping from the buried curb valve to the inlet of the gas meter. upstream of the meter, including the gas riser attached Buried gas piping that is not maintained may be subject to the meter set. While this is not required for piping to the potential hazards of corrosion and leakage. downstream of the meter, The Energy Cooperative 3. For your safety, all buried pipe should be periodically strongly recommends a DOT-qualified plumber be used inspected for leaks. If the buried piping is metallic, it for all buried gas piping. should also be periodically inspected for corrosion. If an unsafe condition is found, the gas piping will need to be promptly repaired. 13
Pictured from left: Rob Montagnese, Todd Ware
Energy to help find a cure On behalf of The Energy Cooperative, President & Chief Executive Officer Todd Ware recently presented a $5,000 donation to Licking Memorial Health Systems President & CEO Rob Montagnese. The cooperative’s donation is part of an ongoing effort to give one penny for every gallon of propane delivered by one of the cooperative’s specially themed propane trucks. This donation was funded from the lavender propane truck that supports cancer awareness, research and treatment. Licking Memorial plans to put the money toward the purchase of a SonoSite point-of-care tool for the oncology department. This portable ultrasound machine helps locate optimal IV placement and can ease the process for patients. The Energy Cooperative has several themed propane delivery trucks. The pink and lavender trucks promote cancer awareness. The red, white and blue truck is in support of veterans affairs. By using The Energy Cooperative’s propane service, members of the cooperative help support their communities, one penny at a time. MYENERGYCOOP.COM
LINEWORKER GEAR WORD SEARCH Did you know lineworkers wear special protective gear to keep them safe while working on power lines and other electrical equipment? Read the descriptions to learn about a lineworker’s gear and find the bolded words in the puzzle below.
• Work boots provide extra protection while lineworkers work with heavy materials that could fall near their feet.
• Safety goggles keep debris away from lineworkers’ eyes while on the job.
• Flame-resistant clothing keeps lineworkers safe from electrical hazards.
• Hard hats protect lineworkers from head injuries and falling debris.
• Insulated gloves protect lineworkers from electrical shock while working on power lines. • Equipment belts hold several tools that lineworkers need to get the job done.
S G B S R F V D O X P U K C S
E E P G I V L Y H M Y T O E A
E A V D Z X P A X T N K Q E F
X A T O F Y A O Y V L U N H E
H U K G L Z B X Q B I E L T T
M H T F G G W T R P U H Q I Y
D J Q A G W D O M H S M W F G
T N A T S I S E R E M A L F O
V P J L W X N P T K K O S K G
H G J Z H T D C G A B A T D G
E I Q H B R W Y M J L O K C L
Z E X E H W L Y G U N U O G E
N V L D G M K H J X N G S T S
P T Z I O Q O R X Z T O U N S
S H A R D H A T S B S S Q H I
1500 Granville Road P.O. Box 4970 Newark, Ohio 43058-4970 1-800-255-6815
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE
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.
Use less. Save more.