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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!


Open House Sept. 19 for Retiring Employees

A retirement reception will be held at the RECC office on Friday, Sept. 19Retirement Party
from 2:00-4:00 p.m., for three long-time employees of Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative. Members and friends are invited to join us in honoring these men!

Dean Fuchs of Farmersville joined the co-op as a bookkeeper in June 1973, and was named office manager in 1977, just the second person to hold that job since RECC was started in 1937. He is being replaced by Matt Sheerin as Manager of Finance and Office Services.

Curt Fishburn of Auburn joined RECC as a warehouseman in February 1989, and soon moved into the line department. He became a Journeyman Lineman in 1995.

Tom Jones of Chatham was hired as an engineering technician in June 1991, working with the mapping system and line control equipment. He retires as Information Systems Supervisor, with Chris Bridges taking over the job duties.


SmartHub now online!

The new SmartHub communications tool is now in place for
RECC members’ use, providing more information than ever before on your computer, smart phone, or tablet. SmartHub lets you view or pay your monthly electric bill, but it also offers so much more information and convenience:

• Quickly pay your bill

• Review past payments

• Receive bill reminders

• View your hourly, daily, and monthly electric use

• Update your account or contact information

• Get outage information

• Receive alerts from RECC

Watch a short video introduction about SmartHub

SmartHub can be used on a computer website, and that’s where you should register and set up a secure password. Members registered for our previous e-bill site will use the same sign-on information as before.
Click here to register

We’re also offering a free SmartHub app, which can be downloaded for Apple and Android mobile devices. Just go to the Apple Store® or the Android® Market, and search for SmartHub.

After downloading the app on your mobile device, the installation will prompt you to find your electric co-op. You can type in “Rural Electric Convenience” or just search through the list to find it.

 We’re excited about SmartHub and the many features it offers to our members. We hope you’ll give it a try, and keep your information about Rural Electric and your account close at hand!

SmartHub Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)