All-electric Chevy Bolt joins cooperative's fleet
By Sean J. Vanslyke
It’s quick. It handles like a go-cart. It requires no gas. It’s all-electric. It’s a Bolt!
A 2018 Chevy Bolt, an all-electric vehicle (EV), has been added to SEMO Electric Cooperative's fleet of vehicles to provide an interactive experience with EVs. Plus, EVs offer a new way for co-ops to engage with and serve their members. Consumer research suggests that a growing number of Americans are interested in EVs and expect their electricity provider to act as a trusted resource about this new technology.
Although we’re at the preliminary stages of the automobile industry’s transition to primarily EVs, it’s the best time for an electric cooperative to plan for the future. For example, we’re considering industry projections as we analyze how electric vehicles may affect SEMO Electric. GM plans on selling 1 million EVs a year by 2026, including electric trucks and SUVs. Toyota projects 5.5 million EVs and hybrids by 2030. Ford says it plans to double its spending for electric vehicles, and we’re seeing more EVs on the streets and highways.
EVs have a battery instead of a gas tank, and an electric motor rather than the internal combustion engine that powers traditional vehicles. EVs have no oil, transmission, spark plugs or fuel filter. Generally, the only parts requiring regular maintenance are the tires and brakes. Eventually, an EV’s battery pack will need to be replaced.
Most EVs can be charged by plugging into a standard 120 V outlet, but for a faster charge, many owners opt to install a specialized 240 V charging system in their garage. While the driving range varies considerably among models, FuelEconomy.gov notes the average midsize EV has a range of about 150 miles per charge. The Bolt, a small hatchback with a driving range of up to 238 miles per charge, far exceeds that average.
As we move forward, we may install public charging stations at our offices. Like you, we are unsure what the future holds for EVs but we believe it is best to invest time and energy to better understand EVs to help prepare the cooperative for the future.
For some member-consumers in Cape Girardeau, Scott and Stoddard counties, Mother Nature has been like the family member who comes to visit and stays the entire summer. She packs her bags, walks to the door and then turns around and unpacks. We have had several severe summer thunderstorms with powerful winds, often between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., creating outages and creating long nights for you and Team SEMO. As you know, we restore power as quickly as possible – in a safe manner – and we work to reduce outages by hardening the electric infrastructure and trimming trees. Thank you for your patience and prayers.
On a personal note, my family had a 19-hour power outage due to storms. I share this as many people believe Team SEMO is immune to power outages at our homes. At 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 28 an enormous tree fell into power lines and created a power outage for my family and 230 more homes and businesses. At 4:30 p.m. on Friday, power was restored. Like you, we are at the mercy of nature. Plus, we are dependent on our family members to take care of things at home when we are working as a team to restore power outages. Thank you to Team SEMO’s spouses and families for their support.
Traditionally, people receive a utility bill once a month for all of the electricity they used in the previous 30 days. Pay-As-You-Go works a little differently. This program allows you to choose how much and how often you want to pay before you use the electricity.
Think of SEMO Electric’s Pay-As-You-Go the same as you do putting gas (or someday electricity) in your car - you pay for it before you use it. You can purchase small amounts every few days or "fill up" the tank and not worry about it for several weeks. When your supply is low, you simply purchase more. Pay-As-You-Go members never pay a late charge and are not charged disconnect and reconnect fees if the account runs out of credit.
The prepay option works best for people who want to take control of their electric accounts and energy usage. By monitoring your consumption on a regular basis, you will begin to notice patterns in your day-to-day usage. Any variation from this pattern, such as a house guest (increase) or a vacation (decrease), will become evident as you monitor your account. Monitoring and controlling daily usage can help keep electrical costs down. Please call us at 800-813-5230 if you have questions or to enroll in Pay-As-You-Go.
Team SEMO continues its push to bring fiber-fast internet and HDTV to your home, farm or business. While we started building the fiber system substation-to-substation from scratch just over a year ago, we already have hundreds of home installations for the Miner Substation area and more than 300 homes in the que for the Advance Substation area. And the list is growing. It seems word-of-mouth is our best marketing tool as the user experience is fantastic. Neighbors are telling neighbors, which is increasing signups. Learn more about GoSEMO Fiber by visiting our temporary office on Fridays in downtown Advance, visit gosemofiber.com or join us for an Open House at 6 p.m., August 20 at Sikeston (1/2 mile south of Walmart). Don’t be left behind.
Book of the Month
“Coach Wooden’s larger goal was to create certain habits in his players – the habits that lead to winning. But the key to achieving that larger goal was careful attention to the little things. It meant being aware of gum wrappers and orange peels… putting towels in the towel basket where they belonged. At the start of every season, Coach Wooden gave his players a piece of paper with the heading ‘Normal Expectations.’ Just three little rules: 1. Be on time. 2. Do not use profanity at any time. 3. Never criticize a teammate. We are the sum total of the habits we build over a lifetime. We are what we repeatedly do. Be careful in all the little things in life… and the big things will take care of themselves.” Pat Williams – Coach Wooden’s Greatest Secret
Be smart. Act safe.
Vanslyke is general manager and chief executive officer of SEMO Electric Cooperative. The photo is Sean and the cooperative’s all-electric Chevy Bolt in front of the Anniston Substation in Mississippi County.