Thank you first responders!

The Energy Cooperative recently added a new propane truck to its fleet to honor first responders. “This themed truck is a Tribute to our First Responders who work tirelessly helping people in our communities. As a cooperative, we were built by the members who live and work in the communities we serve.

“This truck is one small way for us to recognize the commitment and concern for community first responders show each and every day, especially during this pandemic.”, said Todd Ware, President & CEO.

The Energy Cooperative has several community partnerships with first responder departments including police, sheriff’s, township fire, city fire and EMS. They join forces for cooperative events throughout the year, and the Cooperative helps educate them on electrical, natural gas and propane safety. Additionally, many first responder organizations have benefited from Operation Round Up Foundation grants. “This new propane bobtail truck gives us an opportunity to broadcast a special thank you, with a Tribute to our First Responders” Ware said.

If you would like more information about The Energy Cooperative’s propane service or Operation Round Up Foundation grants, please contact The Energy Cooperative at 800-255-6815.

Lineworkers serve on the frontlines of our nation’s energy needs, and on April 13, 2020, The Energy Cooperative, along with other electric cooperatives across the country, honor them. Line crews work around the clock, sometimes in difficult and dangerous conditions, to keep power flowing to our local communities. Whether they’re restoring power after a major storm or maintaining critical infrastructure to our electric system, lineworkers are at the heart of our cooperative.

When a storm hits, they set aside their personal priorities because Mother Nature doesn’t work around holidays, vacations and birthdays. A service-oriented mentality is one of the many characteristics of an electric lineworker.

The Energy Cooperative is proud to honor our lineworkers who provide safe, reliable electricity to 26,000 members in nine counties of Central Ohio. They work to operate, and maintain 32 miles of transmission line, 2,955 miles of distribution lines, 20 substations, and three switching stations.

The Energy Cooperative invites all co-op members to take a moment and thank a lineworker for the important work they do. On April 13, you can use #ThankALineworker on social media to show your support for the men and women who power our lives.

Keeping the Lights On

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Parenting isn’t easy. Days are packed with activities and it’s hard to find time to talk to your kids about real issues. But the lessons kids learn now will stay with them for the rest of their lives. One important lesson they should learn from you is how to use energy. What should you tell kids about saving energy? Here are some tips.

It all adds up

Kids tend to live in the moment. Long-term thinking is not their strong suit. Show your kids your energy bill discuss how much of that amount you’re paying is spent for them to watch TV, use a computer or play video games. Your kids may think that it’s not that much money. Teach them how that energy usage and money can really add up month after month, year after year.

It’s not hard to do

Let’s face it, kids are more likely to cooperate in conserving energy if you make it easy. Start with simple measures. Remind them to turn off lights when they’re the last one to leave a room, or close the door when they come in or out. Unplugging chargers and shutting off game consoles are other easy tips that can add up to big savings. When conserving becomes something your family does without thinking about it, you’re living an energy-efficient lifestyle.

We can do it together

Set a good example by living by the steps you teach. Here are some simple steps:

  • Turn off lights when you leave an empty room.
  • Lower the thermostat in winter. Use blankets and wear heavier clothing to stay warm.
  • Raise the thermostat in summer. Open windows and use ceiling fans to stay cool and save.
  • Close the door. Leaving doors open not only brings in hot or cold air, it lets that expensive conditioned air escape outside.
  • Take shorter showers; it’ll help save energy and water.
  • Unplug chargers and electronic devices when they’re not in use. Many devices still draw power even when turned off.

With these simple, no-cost measures, your entire family can save money and live more sustainably.

By Todd Ware, President & Chief Executive Officer

About this time every year, The Energy Cooperative’s management staff begins the budgeting process for the next year. This process involves looking at revenues, operating expenses, and capital expenses. The process also includes reviewing our rates to ensure fixed costs are covered by fixed charges, and variable costs are covered by variable charges. Our goal is for all of our members to share fixed costs equally, even when no energy is being used. If the fixed rate is not high enough, large users pay a disproportionate share of the fixed charges.

After reviewing our current rates, residential electric and natural gas rates will be adjusted effective
January 1, 2020.

Electric Members

Your electric bill has three main parts:

  • The fixed monthly facility fee covers the cost of connecting you to the electric grid. This cost doesn’t change depending on the amount of electricity you use each month.
  • Generation & transmission is the cost to get electricity to The Energy Cooperative’s system. This charge is a pass-through cost from our power supplier, Buckeye Power. This charge accounts for more than 50 percent of your electric bill.
  • The distribution energy charge is calculated based on the amount of electricity you use each month.

Electric Facilities Fee Adjustment

For residential electric members, the facilities fee adjusts from $26 to $27 per month effective January 1, 2020. There will be no change to the generation and transmission charge and no change to the distribution energy charge.

Natural Gas Members

Your natural gas bill has four main components:

  • The fixed monthly facility fee covers the cost of providing you with access to the natural gas pipeline system. The cost doesn’t change depending on the amount of gas you use.
  • The infrastructure replacement rider (IRR) is a fixed charge to recover the replacement of aging pipelines to comply with federal and state guidelines.
  • The gas cost is the commodity and transportation cost for the natural gas.
  • The distribution charge recovers variable operating costs based on your natural gas use.

Natural Gas Facilities Fee Adjustment

For residential natural gas members, the facilities fee adjusts from $22 to $23 per month effective January 1, 2020. There will be no change to the distribution charge.

The Cooperative Difference

To ensure the cooperative’s return on revenue, rates must align with assets and operating costs. Recent member surveys tell us that price, service, and reliability are most important to you. We work hard to control our expenses each day and balance those costs while bringing you reliable energy.

Each day we look for ways to make our operation more efficient and to be good stewards of each dollar we spend. We don’t want rates to go up and we don’t like applying rate adjustments, but these changes are necessary. The Energy Cooperative Directors and employees are committed to providing you with a good value for the service we provide. After all, we are a cooperative. We exist for our members, not to make a profit for shareholders. That’s a big part of the cooperative difference.

If you have questions regarding the adjustments, please contact The Energy Cooperative’s Member Service Department at (800) 255-6815 or visit myenergycoop.com.

By Pat McGonagle, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Did you know that you are your own first line of defense against any type of cybersecurity threats? Have you been hacked? How would you know? As we enter the online holiday shopping season, it is important to remember cybersecurity attacks can be one click away. It is critical that you remain vigilant in protecting your personally identifiable information (PII) online.

Ransom-ware, credential theft, phishing emails and other attempts at cyber crime are much more common than you might think. Every password is a possible access point into your systems and devices. There are, however, simple ways to protect your information from cybersecurity threats.

Keep Your Defenses Up

  1. Sign up for automatic updates and protect your devices with anti-virus software. Keep software up to date to help block cyber threats.
  2. Back up contacts, photos, videos and other mobile data to another device or a cloud service. This is important because if your device is compromised, you must reset it to factory settings.
  3. Set your devices to lock after a short time and use strong device passwords.
  4. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure the only person with access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires you to enter a password.
  5. Create strong passwords and keep them private. A poor password, even at nine characters, can be cracked almost instantly. It would take centuries to crack a good password of 12 or more mixed characters.
  6. Treat Wi-Fi networks as a potential security risk. Never check financial or other sensitive accounts when using a public Wi-Fi network.

Don’t fall for phishing, vishing and smishing

Be on the lookout for emails, phone calls and other messages from people attempting to gain access to your information. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instinct and don’t reply or open attachments in these emails.

Always think before you click!

Do not click links or open attached files in emails or text messages from senders you do not know. Even if you do know the sender, hover over the link and check the sending email address before you click, as someone could be spoofing them.

Protect yourself

Our personal information is under a constant state of attack in this digital age and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. Practice effective preventive controls to minimize the probability that your data will be breached.

It is always a good practice to remember that you are the first line of defense against cybersecurity threats.

By Connie Hogue, Director of Human Resources and Safety

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced when vehicles, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, portable generators or furnaces burn fuel. People and animals are at risk when carbon monoxide builds in enclosed spaces. Fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in minutes, even when doors and windows are open.

TIPS TO PREVENT CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

  • Do not run a car in a garage that is attached to a house. This puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning even with the garage door open.
  • Do not use portable, flameless, chemical heaters indoors.
  • Never use a gas oven to heat your home.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent.
  • Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year.
  • Make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished.
  • Install a battery-operated or battery backup carbon monoxide detector in the hallway near each separate sleeping area in your home.
  • Check or replace the battery for each carbon monoxide detector when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
  • Replace carbon monoxide detectors every five years.

SYMPTOMS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

Everyone is at risk. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows infants, the elderly, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia or breathing problems as more prone to illness or death from carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptom severity varies depending on the level of carbon monoxide and duration of exposure. People often mistake mild symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning for the flu.

Low to moderate carbon monoxide poisoning is characterized by:

  • High-level carbon monoxide poisoning results in:
  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death.

If you experience any of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, go outside to get fresh air immediately.

WHEN THE CARBON MONOXIDE ALARM SOUNDS

The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that you should never ignore a carbon monoxide alarm. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Move outside to get fresh air.
  • Call emergency services, fire department or 9-1-1.
  • Do a head count to check for everyone.
  • Do not reenter the premises until emergency responders have given you permission.

Winter is a prime time for carbon monoxide poisoning because people turn on their heating systems and often warm their cars in garages. As the weather turns colder, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep your family safe.

From Single Phase To Three Phase At 200 mph

By Gary Baker, Director of Marketing & Public Relations

Imagine driving a car from Newark, Ohio to Las Vegas, Nevada in less than 9 hours. Or picture yourself driving from Newark to Chicago in 105 minutes. This would be possible only if you drove an average of 200 mph. Most of us will never travel that fast in a car. But Larry Morgan has done it, one-quarter mile at a time, thousands of times. Larry spent 30 years as a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro-Stock racer and is one of the most successful drivers of all time.

Larry Morgan still enjoys getting behind the wheel and traveling across the country to NHRA races. His major focus, however, is his custom CNC machine shop. Larry Morgan Racing builds racing engine blocks, heads, manifolds and most any custom motor parts. Walking into the business, you are greeted with an impressive number of trophies and awards before heading into the machine shop. Larry earned 10 NHRA Pro Stock victories, 19 NHRA event victories, and 48 NHRA final round appearances.

Here are a few of the many championships Larry Morgan earned as driver:

  • $25,000 Mr. Gasket Challenge three times.
  • $50,000 Budweiser Shootout
  • 2015: Charlotte Four-Wide Nationals winner
  • 2012: Top ten finish
  • 2010: Debuted Ford Mustang and reached finals at Summit Nationals
  • 2009: Raced to Victory at Las Vegas; Posted career-best speed
  • 2008: Logged three runner-up finishes, including Indianapolis
  • 2007: Posted career best time competing in the inaugural Countdown to the Championship.
  • 2006: Runner-up finish at St. Louis and reached three semifinal rounds
  • 2005: Reached semifinal round in Englishtown
  • 2004: No. 1 qualifying position at Atlanta, snapping an 11-race top qualifying streak by Greg Anderson; First top-five points finish since 1993
  • 2002: Won first race, Sonoma, since 1994; earned a $25,000 bonus for winning the Motel 6 “Who Got The Light” award for posting the smallest margin of victory during the season (.0002 seconds)
  • 2001: Debuted the Dodge Neon at Denver.

Larry’s love for machines started long before his professional racing career began. As a young boy, he took apart the engine of a riding lawn mower and completely rebuilt it (with more power). Larry laughed as he told us he rebuilt the motor until it went 30 mph. Larry’s love for speed has served him well—he made a career out of it. Larry Morgan Racing manufactures quality custom parts for pro-stock, pro-mod, pro-nitrous, pro-boost, top sportsman, top dragster, pro extreme and grudge racing.

Larry Morgan (center), Dave Elk (left), Nick Morgan (right)

Are you looking for ways to save money on your utility bill this holiday season? Here are a few tips from the U.S. Department of Energy to help you save energy and money.

Use Power Strips

Even when you aren’t using lights and electronics, they still draw small amounts of energy — at an average cost of $100 a year. Plug your electronics into a power strip and turn it off to reduce your energy bills.

Install a Light Timer

Timer controls allow you turn lights on and off at specific times, while staying in the holiday spirit. Inflatable decorations are often the most expensive to use. A large, animated snow globe can use about 200 watts. As a general rule, the larger the inflatable the more it costs to power.

Use LED Lights

Light up your home with LED lights. They last longer and consume 70 percent less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. It only costs $0.27 to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs compared to $10 for incandescent lights.

Save Energy in the Kitchen

Cooking typically accounts for 4.5% of your home’s energy use. During the holidays, that number jumps as high as 15%. Using pots and pans that match the size of the burner can save about $36 a year for an electric range or $18 for gas. And resist the temptation to open the oven door for a peek at your food’s progress — the oven has to work harder each to reheat each time the door is opened. Use the oven light instead.

Buy Energy Star Electronics

Are computers, TVs or other electronics on your wish list this holiday season? Be sure to ask for ENERGY STAR rated home electronics for instant energy savings. Depending on usage, an ENERGY STAR computer can save 30-65 percent more energy compared a computer without this designation.

Take Advantage of Sunlight

Use sunlight to your advantage this winter. Open curtains during the day and allow sunlight to warm your home naturally. Close curtains at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Weatherizing your windows can reduce drafts, and installing storm windows can cut heat loss through your windows by 25-50 percent.

Maintain Your Fireplace

Proper chimney maintenance — like sealing your fireplace flue damper, caulking around your hearth, and installing tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system to blow warmed air back into the room — will help keep warm air in your house and cold air out.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Don’t pay for warm air you’re not using while you’re away for the holidays. A programmable thermostat can automatically lower the temperature, and 10-15 degrees for eight hours can save 5-15 percent a year on heating bills. The key is to set it and forget it.

Get a Home Energy Audit

Give yourself the gift of energy savings by having The Energy Cooperative perform a home energy audit. Our energy advisor will check your home for air leaks, inspect insulation, survey heating and cooling equipment and more. We can also recommend ways to save you money on your utility bill.

Make sure your home, office and vehicles are stocked with the supplies you might need.

At Home and Work

Your primary concerns at home or work during a winter storm are loss of heat, power and telephone service and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. In either place, you should have available:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information
  • Extra food and water such as dried fruit, nuts, granola bars and other food requiring no cooking or refrigeration.
  • Extra prescription medicine
  • Baby items such as diapers and formula
  • First-aid supplies
  • Heating fuel: refuel before you are empty; fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a winter storm
  • Emergency heat source: fireplace, wood stove or space heater properly ventilated to prevent a fire
  • Fire extinguisher, smoke alarm; test smoke alarms monthly to ensure they work properly
  • Extra pet food and warm shelter for pets
  • Never run a generator in an enclosed space
  • Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working correctly and that the outside vent is clear of leaves and debris. During or after the storm, make sure it is cleared of snow.

We are thankful for our members!

The Energy Cooperative Operation Round Up Foundation has donated over $3.5 million to community groups and organizations.

Since 2005, our members have rounded up their energy bills to the next dollar to benefit Operation Round Up. Each member donates approximately fifty cents per month, or six dollars per year. Operation Round Up grants are awarded to a group or organization that serves people living in our member communities.

We would like to thank our members for making an overwhelming difference in our community through their generosity and support of the Operation Round Up program.