January 2018

Attend Co-op 101; GoSEMO Fiber's Progress

By Sean J. Vanslyke

Co-op 101 – Electricity and Fiber

Are you curious about SEMO Electric Cooperative’s GoSEMO Fiber project? Do you know what it takes to deliver energy or fiber to your home, farm or business? Do you know the seven cooperative principles? Would you like to tour the cooperative’s dispatch center?

Join us for Co-op 101 at 6:30 p.m., Monday, January 15 at our Sikeston office. We will discuss the business model of cooperatives; provide insights about SEMO Electric and GoSEMO Fiber; and provide a tour of the facility. Plus, you might even get to experience Gigabit Fiber Internet.

If you are a SEMO Electric member-owner and would like to hold a strand of fiber, touch a fuse barrel or see our inventory barcoding system in action, email Marla at [email protected] or call 800-813-5230 to reserve a seat. 

High School Seniors – Scholarship Application Deadline

For high school seniors wishing for a scholarship to attend a college or a technical school in the fall of 2018, the application period is open until January 8, 2018. Applications are available at your high school or online at GoSEMO.com.

In 2017, 103 high school seniors were each awarded a $750 scholarship by the SEMO Electric Cooperative Foundation, thanks to SEMO Electric member-owners who participate in Operation Round Up. Operation Round Up is a program that rounds up a member's bill to the nearest dollar.

Since the scholarship program started in 2008, a total of 604 scholarships worth $720,000 have been awarded to help area youth succeed in life. Scholarships are only for high school seniors whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) is a member-owner of SEMO Electric Cooperative. Please visit GoSEMO.com or your high school guidance counselor for more information.

GoSEMO Fiber

We are making significant progress on the fiber-to-the-home project as interest grows. Team SEMO has been working on the fiber ring, which will connect SEMO Electric's substations into a high-speed fiber backbone. Think of our substation ring as a redundant, ring-shaped backbone network, through which we can route broadband traffic in either direction if there is an outage on the line. The substations are then our jumping off points to build laterals and service drops to connect homes, farms and businesses.  The process is similar to our electric delivery system. So getting the substations connected with fiber has been the first order of business. Our fiber huts in Sikeston, Miner and Dogwood have been delivered, energized and installed with electronic equipment. As we move forward on the project, there are 14 more fiber huts that will need to be delivered and prepared to complete the fiber ring.

Thanks to many of you, we have surpassed 1,100 registered supporters at GoSEMOFiber.com. We reached this milestone with virtually no paid advertising – just word-of-mouth. Thank you for your support as we work through the process of design, make-ready, construction and service drops to bring fiber to rural southeast Missouri. We are making test home installations now and expect mass installations to begin in late January for member-owners in Miner, Mo. We have started design and make-ready efforts in Advance, Mo. Visit GoSEMOFiber.com to see regular updates.

Property Taxes

With property taxes due, I thought you might be curious about the cooperative’s tax bill. SEMO Electric’s property taxes for 2017 totaled about $620,000, an increase of nearly $74,000 over last year. Since the co-op has roughly 2,600 miles of power lines and 16,000 meters, property taxes equate to about $238 per mile of line or $38.75 per meter.

2018 Rates

As mentioned in November’s issue, rates will slightly increase for 2018. Effective with bills due February 10, 2018, the residential Grid Availability Charge (GAC) will increase from 67 cents per day to 80 cents per day. For rates other than residential, the cost per kWh will increase two percent with no change to the GAC or demand charge. The last time we increased energy rates was January 1, 2013.

The fixed or basic charge called the grid availability charge is a flat fee designed to recover a portion of the cost of delivering electric energy to all members. The grid availability charge is reflective of the costs for poles, wires, transformers, fleet equipment, property taxes, etc. that it takes to operate the cooperative. It takes just as much equipment to deliver one kilowatt-hour as it does 1,000 kilowatt-hours.

Book of the Month

“We tend to evaluate ourselves on our intentions, while other people evaluate us on our impact.” Tony Richards – The Big Idea

Thank you for the opportunity to provide safe, reliable and low-cost electricity to your home, farm and business. Happy New Year!

Be smart. Act safe.


Vanslyke is general manager and chief executive officer of SEMO Electric Cooperative. In the photo, Vanslyke shares Team SEMO’s journey in its efforts to bring fiber-to-the-home to southeast Missouri with hundreds of attendees at Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s (TECA) annual meeting in Nashville. TECA is a statewide organization established to serve the needs of Tennessee’s electric cooperatives. The association represents Tennessee’s 22 electric cooperatives, which serve more than one million homes, farms and businesses in rural and suburban Tennessee. 

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