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$500 Classroom Grants Available

Teachers! Looking to add a little more spark to your education program? RECC is offering four $500 grants to help you! The Touchstone Energy Classroom Empowerment Grants Program will award $500 to four area teachers in December for education enhancement projects.

Public and private schools in the general service area of Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative can receive a grant of up to $500 for grades K-8. Up to two grants may be given for different grade levels within the same school district.

Application forms are available at the link below, and are due by November 2, 2015. Winners will be announced on December 4, and the project must be completed by May 27, 2016.While electricity and energy are not required to be the central topics of any project, entries that do include energy education will be weighted more favorably.

All applications should include the following details:

  1. A description of the project and what it will accomplish
  2. The estimated cost of the project
  3. An explanation of why outside funds are necessary to carry out the project
  4. When the project would be completed
  5. The number of people affected by the project
  6. If the project’s goals are measurable, and how
  7. How the project ties in with Touchstone Energy’s four core values of integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.

Deadline: Your grant application must be received at our office by Monday, November 2, 2015

Mail, deliver or e-mail your application to:

Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative
3973 W. State Route 104
P.O. Box 19
Auburn, IL 62615

recc@recc.coop

For more information, contact Dana Smith, Manager of Member and Public Relations, at dana.smith@recc.coop, or at his direct phone line 217-438-6516.

Download Application Form

Download List of Eligible Schools

 


2014 Capital Credits Allocated To Members

On members’ July electric bills, which were mailed on August 6, there was a message on the left hand side of the billing statement indicating the amount of capital credits allocated to each member for electricity purchased in 2014. This message only appears on your master account and only appears if you were a customer in 2014.

As a member-owner of your cooperative, you share in any annual margins. Your share of these margins is called “capital credits.” At the end of each year, these net margins are allocated to each member on a basis of the dollar amount of energy used during that year. We provided you with the amount of the allocation for the year on your electric billing statement.

These allocations are not available as cash nor can they be applied as payments on your electric bill. These monies are used by your cooperative for long-term debt retirement, reserves, emergencies, system improvements and other contingencies.

Capital credits may be paid to members as the board of directors deems appropriate and as the financial condition of the cooperative permits. RECC has returned over $3 million in capital credits to members, for all margins earned since our beginning in 1937 through 1981.


Three directors re-elected at Annual Meeting

Three directors were re-elected to the RECC Board at the co-op’s Annual Meeting on June 11, with one being a contested election between incumbent Cassie Eigenmann of Modesto and challenger John Earley of Girard in District 9. After a short speech from each candidate, ballots were cast and Cassie Eigenmann won re-election to the Board. In District 7, Andy Goleman of Divernon ran unopposed as did Lou Weitekamp of Raymond in District 8.

A great crowd of 276 members, plus families and guests, gathered at the co-op’s 78th Annual Meeting at Glenwood Elementary School in Chatham.

Secretary/Treasurer Mel Repscher reported that the co-op had a net margin of $528,235 for 2014, on revenues of $15,757,989. He pointed out that 65 percent of all revenue went to pay for wholesale power costs.

Those power costs have been stable for the past five years, and are expected to remain so in the foreseeable future, said President/CEO David Stuva. He said the co-op’s power contract with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency gives us a long-term approach to our power supply, which is a benefit to our members.

While coal still provides the majority of electrical power in downstate Illinois, Stuva pointed out that recent regulations announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seek to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by coal-burning power plants, which will effectively shut down many existing coal plants. He said that Illinois’ not-for-profit electric cooperatives support an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, one that incorporates natural gas, nuclear, renewable energy, and coal to generate power.

Stuva thanked the audience for supporting the action.coop campaign, with over one million comments registered online across the country to encourage the EPA to take a balanced approach to energy supplies. A “common sense” energy policy is needed to keep electricity reliable and affordable, he said.

Board Chairman Jimmy Ayers mentioned some of the new programs and billing options now offered to RECC members, including the SmartHub portal for viewing and paying bills online. The newest option is RECC’s Prepaid Electric Service, he pointed out, which allows members s to pay for electricity as they use it instead of in one large bill at the end of the month.

Click here to see the RECC 2015 Annual Report publication


New! Prepaid Electric Service Option

Gas GaugeRECC’s new Prepaid Electric Service allows you to pay for energy when you choose, the same way you buy gasoline for your car. The easy pay-as-you-go plan will give you greater control over your budget because you can decide how much to pay and when to pay it. Prepaid Electric Service offers many benefits:

Say goodbye to large deposits
A $50 deposit and $25 toward your first energy use is all that’s needed to start on Prepaid Electric Service. (You’ll still have your $5 co-op membership fee as well.)  If you have a larger deposit with the co-op, you can apply part of it to your energy bill!

No more monthly bill
Instead of one large bill at the end of the month, you can make smaller payments when your prepaid account runs low! And there are no late fees that increase your costs.

Buy electricity when convenient
You can customize a payment schedule that works for you. Make a payment anytime online or by phone, or through our office during business hours. You can buy an electricity supply for a month or more, or enough for a few days at a time.

Monitor and control your energy use
Since you can see your prepaid balance change each day, you’ll be more aware if your electric use increases. You can also see how changes in your habits can affect your energy cost!

Receive low-balance notifications
We’ll let you know if your prepaid balance is getting low, usually when you have about five days left of typical electric use. You can choose e-mail or text messages, or phone calls to alert you of a low balance.

Prepaid Electric Service is a different way to pay and manage your electric costs.  If you want more information about this new billing option, give us a call at (217) 438-6197. We can review your account history and current balance, and explain the transition to the prepaid plan.


Sign Up For Member Notifications

Our Notify 24 uses text and phone messaging to let members in specific areas know about planned outages, as well as the cause of unexpected outages and other information that may affect their service. Notify 24 helps members understand what’s going on with their electric system. Text messages have been the most popular means of communication among our members. With texting, we can often send out a notice while an outage is still happening, and give members an idea of the severity and expected recovery time.

Click here for more information on text and phone messaging from RECC.


Youth Tour Contest Open To HS Juniors

RECC will sponsor two local winners on the Youth To Washington trip set for June 13-18! Juniors at area high schools can enter the contest by attending the Illinois Rural Electric Youth Day program in Springfield on Wednesday, March 25. Up to 10 students from RECC’s area will tour the Capitol and other historic sites, and meet with their state legislators. Two of those students will be selected to attend the Youth To Washington trip with over 1,000 young people from around the country.

RECC sponsors these trips to encourage students to learn more about our government’s operation and about electric cooperatives.

Any junior attending a high school in RECC’s service area is eligible for these expense-paid programs. Application request forms have been sent to our local schools, or students can contact our office. We will mail an application kit and background information directly to the student. The application form includes a summary of the student’s school and civic activities and accomplishments, and a brief essay question pertaining to the rural electric program.

After the Youth Day activities in Springfield, the students will have individual interviews to select two winners for the trip to Washington, D.C. They will be judged on their written application, personal poise and confidence, and demonstrated understanding of the rural electric program. The two winners will travel by bus from Springfield to Washington this summer, in one of the best-recognized youth programs in the nation’s capital.

Applications must be returned to RECC by February 23. Call our office at (217) 438-6197 for an application kit!

 


One Million Comments Sent to EPA

More than 1 million comments from electric cooperative advocates were sent to the Environmental Protection Agency outlining concerns about proposed carbon dioxide limits for existing and new power plants by the agency’s Dec. 1 deadline.

“At the heart of this, we oppose the EPA’s regulations because they will raise electric rates, threaten reliability and are illegal under the Clean Air Act,” said Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

“This is why NRECA joins with co-op advocates all across the country who submitted more than 1.1 million grassroots comments asking for the withdrawal of the proposals on new and existing power plants.”

In comments to EPA, NRECA said its analysis shows that electric co-op members can expect to see rates increase by more tan 10 percent on average in 2020 and by more than 17 percent in 2025.

“And that’s just the averages,” said Emerson. “Some members will see hikes as high as 33 percent in 2020, and a whopping 46 percent in 2025.”

The proposed rule is expected to be finalized by June 2015, with emission reduction deadlines beginning in 2020.

NRECA also said that the pending EPA rule stands to hamper grid reliability, a concern of the country’s largest regional transmission organizations. For co-op members, the hurt is double, Emerson said.

“Reducing reliability and increasing costs has this proposal unfairly affecting co-op members the hardest,” she said, adding that 93 percent of the country’s “persistent poverty counties” are served by electric co-ops.

As not-for-profit utilities, co-ops that opt to close existing coal plants in favor of building new natural gas-based generation or renewables to meet the EPA rule will pass those expenses on to members, she said.

“We urge EPA to withdraw this proposal and work with electric cooperatives and others in the industry to create a policy promoting an ‘all of the above approach’ which is environmentally and economically responsible within the appropriate and lawful regulatory scheme.”

In Texas, one generation supply cooperative’s CEO said the rule as proposed will force five power plants owned by co-ops to close. The billions of dollars spent on new transmission in the state will not overcome the reliability risks from the lost generation, he said.

A new video represents the voices and experiences of average Americans who are facing the possibility of increased costs for their electricity due to proposed EPA regulations. Consumers are concerned with the supply and price of electric power, if our plentiful and reliable supply of coal can’t be used to generate electricity.

Click here to watch the video 

Climage Change Strategy

 


Don’t Be An Energy Zombie!

Margaret57What do fortune tellers, couch potatoes, and amater make-up artists have in common? They’re all hopelessly in the dark about the life-changing benefits of LED bulbs – until they learn to look for the ENERGY STAR. That’s the premise of three quirky, irreverent new spots promoting LED lighting from EPA’s ENERGY STAR program this fall.

ENERGY STAR has put this new series of video vignettes that highlight the benefits of ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs on You Tube for your entertainment and enlightenment. Click below to see the three videos!

Bad light bulb makes Margaret a zombie

Bad light gives Floyd explosive surprise

Bad light leads to bad fortune for Madame Helga

 


Member Appreciation Breakfast on Oct. 25

church exteriorRECC members are invited to an informal breakfast from 8-10 a.m. at Pleasant Hill Christian Church near Raymond on October 25! Stop in to  meet with co-op staff and directors, see what’s new at RECC, try out our SmartHub member portal on an iPad, or ask any questions you might have about our programs and operations.

Sausage & Biscuit Breakfast   8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Pleasant Hill Christian Church
19433 West Frontage Road, Raymond
(Just north of Grand Magnuson Hotel, at Exit 60 on Interstate 55)


Pink Hardhats Support Cancer Awareness

RECC National Pink Hard Hat Campaign_0271If you see RECC linemen in a pink hardhat during October, it’s s reminder of National Breast Cancer Month and the need to support all cancer patients. It’s also a reminder for everyone to use available screening and tests for early cancer detection, which increases survival rates tremendously. We’ve all been touched by family and friends fighting cancer, so let’s all work together to beat this terrible disease!