Cold weather streak sets new energy peak; Connie Hooper retires after 27 years of service
By Sean J. Vanslyke
High Bills & Peak Load
What are a few things that happen when it gets really cold? Pipes freeze; skin dries out; and energy bills go up. Did you burn or use more propane, natural gas, firewood or electricity to heat your home in January? It seems like common sense that we use more energy, but there are many member-consumers who call and ask why their energy bill increased so much?
My guess is you may have set a new household energy usage threshold in January 2018. It has been really cold with no snow to act as an insulator to reduce wind impacts. 2018 ushered in single digit temperatures and below zero wind chills throughout SEMO Electric’s service area. In fact, Associated Electric Cooperative, SEMO Electric’s energy provider, set an all-time system peak of 4,691 megawatt-hours on January 1, 2018. With the continued bitter cold weather, AECI reset that peak to 4,850 megawatt-hours between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. on January 2. Both days surpassed the most recent peak of 4,598 megawatt-hours set on January 6, 2014 – the Polar Vortex.
When you use more electricity, did you know SEMO Electric Cooperative’s energy bill increases? When you use less electricity, did you know SEMO Electric’s energy bill decreases? However, we don’t adjust the rates based on monthly ups and downs. It is a little more complex than a typical household, but the cooperative prepares an annual budget and does its best to control costs and manage the ups and downs throughout the year. It’s not easy, but it is part of our job of providing safe, reliable and affordable energy to your home or farm. Did you know the residential rate per unit of energy is the same in 2018 as it was for 2013 through 2017?
To help you avoid future bill shock, consider using our SmartHub app via your smartphone, tablet or computer. Search SmartHub or call us for more information. About 25% of our residential member-owners are using SmartHub to view energy usage, report power outages and pay monthly bills. Also, we offer pay-as-you-go-services to help you take control of your energy bill.
Many of you may know Team SEMO’s Connie Hooper. She has been a regular at SEMO Electric for more than 27 years. Connie started her career as a cashier and served member-owners in other capacities during her time at the cooperative. In January, Connie retired to start a new chapter in her life. We thank Connie for her time and service. Congratulations Connie!
Keeping the Lights On
Team SEMO has been working hard during the cold snap. Our inside staff monitors energy loads to prevent overloaded circuits, updates system maps and helps members with budget billing. Our outside staff ensures regulators, capacitors and transformers are performing as needed and makes enhancements to our delivery system. Plus, Team SEMO responds to power outages as needed. We are excited about our GoSEMO Fiber project, but understand our first job is to keep the lights on. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we push forward.
We have started fiber home installations in Miner and will soon start construction efforts in Advance. Considering we are less than 10 months into the project, we are moving quickly according to industry insiders. Team SEMO has been working long hours and weekends to design the fiber system, set up the fiber backbone and coordinate construction with our fiber contractors. GoSEMO Fiber is a big project – nearly $40 million. We know you want exact timelines, but we don’t want to overpromise. We want to do this right. Once we get through the next six to nine months, we should be able to better project timelines for the rest of our service territory. It will take time to get to all member-owners, but if SEMO Electric doesn’t provide fiber services we haven’t figured out what company will do it. Visit GoSEMOFiber.com to see construction zones, prices and regular updates.
Book of the Month
“Human beings need to be needed, and they need to be reminded of this pretty much every day. They need to know that they are helping others, not merely serving themselves. When people lose sight of their impact on other people’s lives, or worse yet, when they come to the realization that they have no impact at all, they begin to die emotionally. The fact is, God didn’t create people to serve themselves. Everyone ultimately wants and needs to help others, and when they cannot, misery ensues.” Patrick Lencioni – The Three Signs of a Miserable Job
Be smart. Act safe.
Vanslyke is general manager and chief executive officer of SEMO Electric Cooperative. In the photo, Vanslyke shares a moment with Team SEMO’s Connie Hooper, who, after 27 years of service, recently retired from the cooperative.