TIMES SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER • 2019
clear access to Utility equipment
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: pg 3 • A RENEWED ENERGY pg 4 • DISTRACTED DRIVING pg 8 • HIGH BILL CONCERNS pg 10 • BUCKEYE POWER pg 12 • PROPANE PRICES pg 14 • DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ACRE?
ELECTRIC • NATURAL GAS • PROPANE
TIMES SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER â€˘ 2019
1500 Granville Road Newark, Ohio 43058 (800) 255-6815
myenergycoop.com firstname.lastname@example.org Todd Ware President & CEO Gary Baker Director of Marketing & Public Relations Heather Juzenas Communications Manager
Please report any change of email address or phone number to us at (800) 255-6815 or by emailing email@example.com. 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.
In this issue 3
A renewed energy
clear access to utility equipment
high bill concerns
10 buckeye power 12 propane prices 14 Do you know about acre?
A Renewed energy Written by Todd Ware, President & Chief Executive Officer There is a transformation happening across the nation. America’s smaller communities are changing in remarkable ways. While holding steadfast to the values that made them, rural communities are experiencing a renewed energy. They are attracting growth and economic development projects and Todd Ware creating opportunities for new generations of people to build a life for themselves and their families. As a result, more people are choosing to live in the communities served by cooperatives.
Every cooperative is as unique as the community that shaped it, changing over time to meet their members needs. We’re local and we’re independent. Yet our cooperative is part of a network of cooperatives across the United States. We work together and learn from one another to develop new technologies and infrastructure. It’s all part of the cooperative spirit that’s always been one of the best things about living in our communities. Neighbors looking out for neighbors. People working for the common good. That’s the cooperative difference. It’s what fueled the cooperative movement so many years ago — and it’s the source of our renewed energy today.
THE COOPERATIVE DIFFERENCE
It can be easy to forget The Energy Cooperative is different from other utilities. What makes us different? The short answer is you –– our members. We were built by our members in 1936 to bring their communities safe, reliable, and affordable energy. From day one, we were shaped to respond to the specific needs of you and your neighbors. We are led by members like you, and we don’t answer to outside investors. This key difference has been part of the cooperative model from the beginning. Another feature that sets us apart from a traditional utility is one of our core principles, “concern for community.” Cooperatives work to enrich the lives of the members we serve. The Energy Cooperative partners with many local organizations and supports a variety of community events each year. The Operation Round Up Foundation provides grants to local schools, community groups, and organizations that serve our members. Ultimately, the larger community benefits from these programs because of you. You empower us through your membership and through your participation in Operation Round Up.
Pictured top: One of the early photos of Licking Rural Electric’s trucks, bottom: Employee Scott Sorrell with one of our propane fueled trucks at Earth & Energy Day 2019.
Distracted driving Written by Connie Hogue, Director of Human Resources and Safety OHIO LAW
When it comes to distracted driving concerns, cell phones are at the top of the list. We have all seen a driver distracted by a cell phone. However, when that person using the phone while driving is us it’s more difficult to notice the risk you are taking.
No person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.
OHIO ADULT DRIVERS
For adult drivers over the age of 18, distracted driving is a secondary offense, meaning that police cannot make a traffic stop simply because they think they see you texting behind the wheel. However, if they observe any other traffic offense and believe that you were distracted at the time of the infraction, they will likely cite you for distracted driving as an add-on offense. For example, if they notice a marked lanes violation, failure to yield, failure to use a turn signal, or any other infringement, no matter how minor, they can pull you over and cite you for a primary traffic offense as well as distracted driving
MULTITASKING IS A MYTH
Driving and cell phone conversations both require a Connie Hogue great deal of thought. When doing them at the same time, your brain is unable to do either well. For example, it’s nearly impossible to read a book and have a phone conversation. While driving, distraction often results in crashes due to delayed response times and missing traffic signals.
DRIVERS UNDER AGE 18
Multitasking is a myth. Human brains do not perform two tasks at the same time. Instead, the brain handles tasks sequentially, switching between one task and another. Brains can juggle tasks very rapidly, which leads us to erroneously believe we are doing two tasks at the same time. In reality, the brain is switching attention between tasks – performing only one task at a time. The brain not only juggles tasks, it also juggles focus and attention. When people attempt to perform two cognitively complex tasks such as driving and talking on a phone, the brain shifts its focus and people develop “inattention blindness”. When this happens, important information falls out of view and is not processed by the brain. For example, drivers may not see a red light. Because this is a process people are not aware of, it’s virtually impossible for people to realize they are mentally taking on too much.
Drivers under the age of 18 may be pulled over for distracted driving as a primary offense. In other words, if you are under 18 and the only offense the traffic officer has observed is that you are texting or talking on the phone or are otherwise distracted in any way, you can be pulled over – and cited for a traffic infringement. Drivers under the age of 18 and drivers on a temporary instruction permit are not permitted to use a cell phone while driving at all. Even hands-free use of cell phones is not permitted for the underage driver.
NO SAFE WAY TO USE A CELLPHONE AND DRIVE
Even when talking hands-free, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what’s around them because they are engaged in a cell phone conversation. In 2017, more than 13,000 drivers in Ohio crashed while being distracted by something within their vehicles. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) reported that 51 of these crashes were fatal, resulting in 55 total deaths. Another 4,668 drivers were in injury-causing crashes, resulting in a total of 6,988 injuries.
The Operation Round Up Foundation awarded $36,267 in June to the following community organizations: • Round Lake Christian Camp for AED. • Newark Midland Theatre Association toward new HVAC system. • PBJ Connections toward construction of meditation trail. • Friends of Wiggin Street Elementary parent teacher organization toward guided reading books. • Knox Technical Center – Public Safety for EMS training equipment. • The Turban Project for fabric. • Welsh Hills School toward materials to repair ramp. • Granville Athletic Boosters toward renovation of high school athletic complex. • Watkins Memorial Music Boosters for trailer for marching band use. GRANT ELIGIBILITY To be eligible for an Operation Round Up Grant, a group or organization must serve people who reside in our member communities. Programs of all types can apply for funding, as long as the funds are not used for utility bills and the organization is non political and non controversial in nature. The funds are typically disbursed to groups that demonstrate a need that benefits not only them, but the overall community as well. DO YOU KNOW AN ORGANIZATION THAT COULD BENEFIT FROM AN OPERATION ROUND UP GRANT? The remaining meeting dates for 2019 are Oct. 8, and Dec. 3. Application materials must be received 10 days prior to the Oct. meeting, and by Nov. 17th for the Dec. meeting. APPLY ONLINE Visit myenergycoop.com/operation-roundup to apply for an Operation Round Up grant, or download the application for paper submission.
clear access to utility equipment Written by Dan McVey, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer – Gas Operations
It is common for people to hide utility equipment when they are landscaping their home. You have likely seen someone try to disguise a meter or plant around a utility box to camouflage it. When focusing on the curb appeal of your home, it is easy to forget that utility companies need access to this equipment. At The Energy Cooperative, we work hard to provide our members with safe and reliable energy.
To help maintain this level of service, we ask that you keep in mind a few landscaping tips. • Always contact OHIO811 before you dig. • Leave clearance for our employees to work on utility equipment. • Trim shrubs and bushes planted near utility equipment. • Keep utility equipment free from obstructions.
Be sure to trim bushes and shrubs regularly if they are near utility equipment. This helps the plants stay healthy and ensures the equipment is accessible for our employees. Landscaping that is too close to utility equipment is in danger of being damaged or removed.
PETS, FENCES, AND GATES
If you have a guard dog for security, please contact us, and we will make sure that our employees know. We may ask that you confine animals while we are working on your equipment. If the equipment is located behind a fence or locked gate, please contact us to arrange access.
Make sure that no other objects cover or block access to your utility equipment. Items that often block access include vehicles, trailers, garbage cans and recycling bins, construction equipment or supplies, landscaping or gravel.
CHECK ON RESTRICTIONS
The first call before planting anything near utility equipment should be to the utility company. Contact The Energy Cooperative for the clearance needed for your equipment.
CALL BEFORE DIGGING
The next call you make should be to OHIO811. When you make the call, provide information about your planned project. OHIO811 contacts utility companies to mark all underground utilities that could cause a problem when you dig. It can take a few days before someone comes to mark the underground utilities, so plan your project in advance. Do not begin your project until all the utility lines are marked.
Although it’s tempting to landscape next to utility equipment, avoid doing so. The key is allowing room for our employees to safely access it. As a rule, leave at least three feet of clearance on all sides of utility meters and other equipment connected to your home. Keep shrubs and structures at least 10 feet away from any padmount devices. This clearance is necessary for our employees to safely access, maintain, and work on the equipment.
Consider the mature size of any plants you choose when deciding where to plant. The shrubs may not fully cover the equipment right away but could eventually fill in and block access. Even if we do not regularly access your equipment, it should be visible and accessible for our employees.
CLEARANCE NEEDED FOR NORMAL OPERATIONS
3 feet on all sides 3 feet on all sides
10 feet all sides
LET’S WORK TOGETHER
Landscaping can enhance the beauty and enjoyment of your property but please consider your utility equipment as a part of this process. Access to utility equipment is paramount for us to provide safe and reliable energy to your home. It is also a necessary step in ensuring the safety of our employees. If you have questions about specific equipment on your property, please give us a call. You can connect with our member service department by calling 1-800-255-6815. Members can also chat with a member service representative on our website, myenergycoop.com, or through the SmartHub app.
Chat with member service in SmartHub app! Members can now chat with one of our member service representatives through the SmartHub app, or from our website myenergycoop.com. We respond to your chats Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
High Bill concerns? WEATHER IS THE KEY
The primary factor impacting your bill from The Energy Cooperative is the cost to heat or cool your home. Weather plays a big part in this, and central Ohio experienced several very hot days in August. Additionally, you may notice an adjustment in your budget billing amount in March and September. We evaluate this amount twice a year to determine if your usage differs from the estimated budget amount. Your budget will be adjusted accordingly if a difference exists.
HAS YOUR USAGE BEEN ESTIMATED?
When a bill is estimated, it is based on usage from the same time last year and can often result in your estimated usage being lower or higher than your actual usage. Your next bill, based on an actual read, will bring your account back in line with the current reading on your meter. If your previous estimated bill was too low, your next bill may be higher than you expected. Similarly, if your bills have been overestimated, you will eventually receive a reduced bill.
HAVE YOU USED MORE ENERGY?
You will see your energy usage for the previous 12 months on your bill. This allows you to compare your usage to see when you use the most energy. To understand why you may have used more energy, look at the billing dates on the bill and think about what happened during that period. • • • • •
Did someone in your household spend more time than usual at home, or did you have guests staying? Did you use more heating during a cold period? Did you use more hot water or did you cook with gas more than you normally do? Did you buy or use any additional appliances? Are you supplementing your home heating with a space heater? Space heaters do increase your electric usage, and you may notice this increase in your utility bill.
HOW ENERGY EFFICIENT IS YOUR HOME?
We know saving energy often means saving money, but did you know that having an energy-efficient home can help out even more? MYENERGYCOOP.COM
Making energy efficiency improvements is pretty easy, too! Touchstone Energy’s Home Energy Analysis Tool gives you quick tips and fixes, designed around your space, to help you cut down on your energy use and costs. Visit homeefficiency.touchstoneenergy.com to get started.
LOOKING FOR ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS? Beyond the programs we offer to help stabilize your monthly bill, we can connect you with community assistance programs that may be able to help.
The Energy Cooperative is here to help you understand your energy bill and find ways to be more energy efficient. We also offer our members budget billing. If you would like to speak with one of our member service representatives, please call us at 1-800-255-6815 to discuss your bill concerns.
Substation Work Written by Josh Filler, Manager of Engineering - Electric Operations 2. ESTIMATED ELECTRIC USAGE: When we transfer
As part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen reliability and improve our electric system, we are updating three substations. Our team is finishing recent work on the Bladensburg and Johnstown substations, and will begin work on the Martinsburg substation in mid-September. When working on the substations, we must take them offline to complete the work. When a substation Josh Filler is offline the members who typically receive power from it have their service transferred to another station. The transfer is rarely noticed by the member. This process ensures members served by these substations continue to have safe and reliable electricity.
your service to another substation, we estimate your electricity usage during this time. Once the substation comes back online the actual usage is determined, and we will adjust your next bill to reflect any difference.
Our team is working as quickly and safely as possible to return the substations to normal operation status. We appreciate your flexibility during this time.
QUESTIONS? Contact us at 1-800-255-6815 or from our website at myenergycoop.com.
DOES THE SUBSTATION WORK IMPACT OUR MEMBERS?
Yes. While we work hard to minimize the impact of this work for our members, it is possible you will notice the following:
1. LONGER RESTORATION TIMES: In the event a power outage occurs in your area (due to weather, a broken pole, etc.) members could see longer than normal restoration times.
er is ity b o t Oc Secur r s Cybewarenes! A onth M
Buckeye Power Written by Gary Glover, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer – Electric Operations Have you ever thought about where the electricity that powers your home or business is generated? Our electric generation comes from Buckeye Power. Buckeye Power, Inc. (BPI) is Ohio’s generation and transmission cooperative, providing electricity to the 24 Ohio-based cooperatives and Michigan-based Midwest Energy & Communications. Owned and governed by the cooperatives Gary Glover it serves, Buckeye Power is dedicated to providing its member cooperatives with affordable and responsibly-produced power. They own a portfolio of generation and peaking facilities, outfitted with best-in-class environmental controls. They are also committed to researching and investing in economically sustainable sources of renewable power.
A BALANCED PORTFOLIO
Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives take a balanced approach to renewable energy. They utilize affordable coal-fired generation for the bulk of our member’s power. In addition to this base load generation, Buckeye Power has made significant investments in renewable energy on behalf of Ohio cooperative families.
BASE LOAD GENERATION
Buckeye Power began receiving attractively priced hydropower from the New York Power Authority (NYPA) in 2004. NYPA is the largest state-owned power organization in the nation and a not-for-profit provider of generation to electric cooperatives, community-owned electric systems, and private utilities. Power comes primarily from the Niagara (90 percent) and St. Lawrence rivers.
GAS GENERATION AT LANDFILLS: 9.6 MEGAWATTS OF METHANE GENERATION
Buckeye Power receives methane-produced power from the Hancock County Landfill and Suburban Regional Landfill (in Perry County), using interconnections provided by Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative and South Central Power.
SOLAR ENERGY: 2.1 MEGAWATTS OF SOLAR ENERGY
Buckeye Power installed solar energy arrays at 23 locations throughout Ohio for the OurSolar community solar project. Individual sizes range from 25 kilowatts to more than 600 kilowatts. Local member cooperatives may offer subscriptions to these solar farms as an alternative source of generation. These subscriptions provide direct access to solar generation to electric consumers who otherwise may not have the means or ability to have their own rooftop systems. The Energy Cooperative has generated nearly 455,000 kWh of electricity through the community solar panels located near Utica, Ohio. This has offset nearly 682,000 pounds of CO2 emissions. Each panel has generated enough energy to power eight lights for a year and power a 400w refrigerator for just over seven months.
Buckeye Power’s base-load generation assets serve the day-to-day needs of Ohio’s cooperative members. These facilities are best-in-class, outfitted with state-of-the-art environmental controls. • Cardinal Power Plant is located in Brilliant, Ohio. Cardinal is a coal-fired power plant that has a generating capacity of 1,230 megawatts. • Clifty Creek and Kyger Creek plants, owned by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation. These two coalfired power plants have a combined capacity of 434 megawatts.
ANAEROBIC DIGESTERS AT LIVESTOCK FARMS: 4.45 MEGAWATTS FROM BIOGAS PROJECTS
Buckeye Power’s natural gas-fueled peaking facilities serve Ohio cooperative members on the coldest and hottest days of the year. • The Robert P. Mone Plant is in Convoy, Ohio. It is a natural gas power plant with 510 megawatts of capacity. • The Greenville Generation Station located in Greenville, Ohio, is a natural gas plant with 200 megawatts of generation capacity. MYENERGYCOOP.COM
HYDROPOWER FROM UPSTATE NEW YORK: 55-MEGAWATT ENTITLEMENT
Buckeye Power purchases the excess generation from animal waste anaerobic digester systems at four locations across the state. Bacteria breaks down the manure produced at these dairy, pork, and poultry operations to create the methane gas used to fuel engine-and-generator sets. Power flows onto the grid via interconnections with the member systems Consolidated, Midwest, North Western, and Paulding Putnam electric cooperatives.
To learn about Buckeye Power visit their website at ohioeg.org/buckeye-power.
Photos: Buckeye Power’s Cardinal Power Plant, The Energy Cooperative’s Our Solar Field, Hydro Plant, The natural gas-fueled Mone Plant, Dairy Farm
Financial Corner: securing supply & price Written by Pat McGonagle, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Did you know natural gas can be stored underground for future consumption? Storage fields (or depleted gas reservoirs) are the most prominent and common form of underground storage. They are typically natural gas wells that have produced all their economically recoverable gas and are readily capable of holding injected natural gas. Pat McGonagle Using these wells has proven to be economically attractive because start-up costs for a storage facility are eliminated by taking advantage of existing space, gathering systems and pipeline connections. Depleted reservoirs are also attractive because their geological and physical characteristics have already been studied and are well known.
Typically, these facilities are operated on a single annual cycle; natural gas is injected during the off-peak summer months when demand is low, and is withdrawn during the winter months of peak demand.
This cycle allows us to purchase natural gas when it when it’s in low demand securing both the supply and price for you, our members. We closly monitor our withdrawal and injection cycles yearround to providing our members with reliable natural gas energy supply at affordable rates.
The Energy Cooperative utilizes three on-system storage fields in order to balance the seasonal requirements of natural gas for our members. The three storage fields are Perry, Zane and Muskie. Their capacity is 2 Bcf (billion cubic feet) which equates to nearly one third of the annual system usage throughout our cooperative. The Zane and Perry fields were developed in the mid 1950’s primarily to meet the seasonal needs of our increased residential load during that time period. The company’s residential load continued to grow through the 60’s and 70’s and contributed to the need for the Muskie storage field beginning in 1973. The cooperative’s three gas storage fields are located close to our transportation infrastructure (pipelines and distribution systems) which also helps control the transmission costs of getting the product to our members.
Photo left: Zane storage facility, right: Zane storage well integrity inspection.
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 • The member is responsible for the maintenance and repair of all gas piping from the gas meter to all gas appliances. • 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. • 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. • 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 1-800-362-2764 at least 48 hours prior to digging. They will notify various utility companies to locate utility lines in the area. • 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.
Do you know about ACRE? Written by Nelson Smith, CCD, BL, District 2 Director As a member of The Energy Cooperative, you are among 42 million Americans who can claim ownership in a not-forprofit member owned utility that provides energy. Joining the Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) is an opportunity for you to raise your voice and participate in the political process. Nelson Smith
For over forty years, ACRE has been working to support candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who understand and support electric cooperatives and their members. ACRE® strengthens a strong grassroots network of 30,000 cooperative members who are dedicated to the long-term success of the electric cooperative program. Together we will continue to fight for a viable environment for electric cooperatives and the quality of life of the people and communities that cooperatives serve.
Your participation in the nationwide ACRE 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 model and the communities they serve in these unpredictable times. All nine directors at The Energy Cooperative, along with the entire senior staff, are strong supporters of the ACRE program and help make Ohio the #1 ACRE program in the country.
Contributions to ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action® are not tax deductible. All contributions to ACRE are voluntary and will be used for political purposes. Contribution guidelines are suggestions only, therefore you may contribute more or less than the recommended amount. Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) gives you, the member, the opportunity to use your voice on behalf of your cooperative. State and federal government officials make policy decisions that affect your local cooperative and way of life. The ACRE program is an easy way for you to help determine who gets to make those decisions. Founded in 1966 by the approximately 1,000 cooperatives of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), ACRE supports candidates for state and federal office – those in office now and running for office – who will speak for and protect the interests of cooperatives and their members. Contributions to ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action® are not tax deductible. All contributions to ACRE are voluntary and will be used for political purposes. Contribution guidelines are suggestions only. You may contribute more or less than the recommended amount. You may refuse to contribute without reprisal.
Learn more about ACRE on our website: myenergycoop.com/acre.
CO-OP MONTH CROSSWORD October is National Co-op Month! Complete the crossword puzzle below to learn about ways co-ops are unique. Need a hint? Use the work bank below. 2
WORD BANK: LED MEMBERS LOCAL COMMUNITY PRINCIPLES 5
CLUES: 1. DOWN: Co-ops are _______ organizations and businesses, so they understand the communities they serve. 2. DOWN: Co-ops don’t have customers; they have _______. 3. DOWN: All co-ops operate according to the same set of seven cooperative _______. 4. ACROSS: “Concern for _______” is the seventh cooperative principle. 5. ACROSS: Co-ops are _______ by the members they serve.
ANSWER KEY 1. DOWN: LOCAL
2. DOWN: MEMBERS
3. DOWN: PRINCIPLES
4. ACROSS: 5. ACROSS: COMMUNITY LED
1500 Granville Road P.O. Box 4970 Newark, Ohio 43058-4970 (800) 255-6815 www.myenergycoop.com
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE
COLUMBUS, OH PERMIT NO. 608
FOR MEMBERS OF THE ENERGY COOPERATIVE:
• 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 1-888-535-5732 or 1-800-255-6815. Always assume downed power lines are energized and dangerous. Consider any object touching lines energized as well.