From the CEO: It pays to be a member

Returning money back to our members is an important cooperative value and we hope you agree that it’s also a nice benefit of being a cooperative member.

During the last week of February, your cooperative mailed a “green” letter to you, our members, concerning the authorization by your Board of Directors of a capital credits refund. There is a space provided for your signature and a return envelope so you can mail it back to our office.

The name “capital credits” may sound complex but it’s a simple concept. Capital credits are the annual margins—reve­nues minus expenses of the cooperative—which are allocated to each member based on their individual purchase and use of electricity. Until they’re returned to members, capital credits are funds used as operating capital to invest in power lines, substations, and other electric system assets that provide all of the JOEMC members with reliable electricity. After using the money for a period of years to finance investments in electric facilities, it is returned to our members.

To assure your return of capital credits and the fiscal health of your cooperative, your Board of Directors has approved and put into place an equity management plan. The plan uses an industry best standard that looks at the percent of member eq­uity to total assets. It includes a schedule for the regular return of member equity in the form of capital credits.

The equity plan also determines how much of the coop­erative’s investment in electric system assets will be covered through member capital and how much will be covered by long-term debt. Our goal is to balance member capital (equity) and debt in order to give members the lowest possible rates.

This year, the capital credit refund authorization (almost $2.2 million) will be for members who received electric service from JOEMC during the years 1994 and 2016. These refunds will consist of 100% of the remaining allocated capital credits from 1994 and 25% of the allocated capital credits from 2016.

All active members who received service during the years mentioned above will receive their refund in the form of a “capital credit refund” on their electric bill. All inactive mem­bers who received service from the cooperative during those years will receive a capital credit check in the mail.

Since 1998, JOEMC has returned in excess of $30 million in capital credits to our members including this current retirement. It pays to be a member of a cooperative and we’re pleased to provide good value in addition to good service to our members.

Jeffery T. Clark | CEO

Click here to learn more about capital credits

JOEMC seeking veteran for expedition

An opportunity for veterans with disabilities to challenge themselves, overcome barriers and learn that “what’s within them is stronger than what’s in their way.”

Jones-Onslow EMC, in conjunction with one of its financial partners, is searching for a veteran from its service territory to nominate for the No Barriers Program. This program, sponsored by CoBank, provides expeditions that mentally and physically challenge veterans on outdoor expeditions through mountaineering, rafting and rock climbing. CoBank covers the full cost for veterans, including travel expenses. Veterans must have VA disability ratings to qualify.

JOEMC is searching for a veteran from its service territory to nominate for this program. For consideration, veterans with VA disability ratings should submit an application and a letter summarizing their military background, length of service and why they wish to attend the No Barriers expedition. The application and letter may be sent via email to Paula Redick or through the U.S. Post Office to Jones-Onslow EMC, Attn: Paula Redick, 259 Western Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC 28546.

The application deadline for the September No Barriers expedition is April 15, 2017. Click here to download an application or for more information or visit nobarriersusa.org.

Qualify for $35-$350 HVAC credit/rebate

JOEMC members who have installed an Energy Star rated electric central air conditioning unit, air-source heat pump, or geothermal heat pump may be eligible to receive a credit/rebate from the cooperative ranging from $35 to $350. To download the credit/rebate form and for more information click here or call our office at (910) 353-1940.

Eligible HVAC Systems/Rebate
High Efficiency Central AC (15 SEER) / $35
High Efficiency Central AC (16 SEER or greater) / $50
High Efficiency Heat Pump (15 SEER or greater) / $250
Geothermal Heat Pump (19 EER or greater) / $350

Window treatments or coverings

Warmer weather is on the way! Use energy efficient window treatments or coverings, like blinds, shades and films, to reduce heat gain in your home. These devices not only improve the look of your home but also reduce energy costs.

 

Watch energy savings grow

Winter is coming to a close and spring is just around the corner! As you welcome the new growth of spring outside, it’s a great time to grow energy savings too.

According to the Department of Energy, a “typical American family” spends nearly $2,000 per year on their home energy bills. Much of that money, however, is wasted through leaky windows or ducts, old appliances or inefficient heating and cooling systems.

Luckily, there are several relatively easy ways to save energy without a substantial commitment of time and money. These efforts will help you save whether you own or rent an older or newly constructed home.

  • Improving the “envelope” of your home is a good place to start. Sunlight, seasonal temperature changes and wind vibrations can loosen up even a tight home, increasing air leakage. Doors and windows may not close tightly, and duct work can spring leaks, wasting cooled and heated air. By placing weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors, you can keep cool air inside during warm months and prevent chilly air from penetrating the indoors during colder months. Sealing gaps around piping, dryer vents, fans and outlets also helps to seal the envelope and cre­ates greater efficiency. Apply weather stripping around overlooked spaces like your attic hatch or pull-down stairs.
  • Installing a blanket around your water heater could reduce standby heat losses by 25 to 45 percent and save you about 7 to 16 percent in water heating costs. For a small investment you can purchase a blanket and install it in less than an hour. On a safety note, it’s recommended that you not set the thermostat above 130 degrees Fahrenheit on an electric water heat­er with an insulating jacket or blan­ket; the higher temperature setting could cause the wiring to overheat.
  • Given that a large portion of your monthly energy bill goes toward heating and cooling your home, it makes sense to ensure your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is performing at an optimal level. Checking, changing or cleaning your filter monthly can extend the life of your HVAC system and saves you money.
  • Take a look at your programmable thermostat. When was the last time you checked to make sure it was programmed for the current season and family schedule? This is one of the best energy-saving tools at your finger-tips. It enables you to fine tune the temperature during particular hours of the day. Many models allow you to differentiate between weekday and weekend schedules, and internet-connected thermostats can learn your schedule and make adjustments automatically.

Remember, there are easy steps you can take now to improve the energy efficiency of your home. To learn about additional ways to save, contact our office or go to the Energy Efficiency section of our website.

7 Cooperative Principles: Members’ economic participation

We continue our discussion this month about the cooperative-form of business and the seven cooperative principles.

Each month we’ll highlight one of the seven principles and explain what that means to a member-owned, not-for-profit organization like JOEMC. This month we’ll talk about Members’ Economic Participation.

#3 Members’ Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

 

Fun, food, door prizes, and more!

JOEMC members, bring the family out for an evening of free fun, food, door prizes and entertainment. On Friday, March 31, Jones-Onslow EMC will hold its Annual Meeting of Members at the Onslow County Fairgrounds/American Legion Building located at 146 Broadhurst Road in Jacksonville.

Highlighting this year’s meeting will be special entertainment from North Carolina’s very own The Gravy Boys. Hailing from the Raleigh/Durham area, the group’s music draws deep from the well of our country’s diverse musical heritage. Performing Acoustic Americana music, The Gravy Boys add a cup of country, a pinch of roots rock, a handful of honky-tonk, a splash of bluegrass, a dash of hobo folk, stirring vigorously, and then left to simmer until the pot bubbles over. Their high energy shows feature heartfelt vocal harmonies, boot-stomping rhythms, lively stage banter and honest musicianship.

In addition to The Gravy Boys, local musical groups will also be performing. There will be hot dogs and soda, a clown for the kids, games and giveaways, and informative displays. And don’t forget…as has become an annual meeting tradition, one lucky JOEMC member will win a recently retired fleet vehicle (“as is” condition).

Registration and displays open at 5:30pm, local musical entertainment takes the stage at 5:45pm, and the busi­ness meeting will start at 7:00pm. At 8:00pm, The Gravy Boys take the stage.

Two selected to fill vacant board seats

Nelson Burgess fills the unexpired term of Mack Whitney while Brandon Howard fills the unexpired term of Hugh Batts.

Two community leaders and local business owners with extensive business experience, were recently selected to fill unexpired terms of previous board members.

Nelson Burgess, of Jacksonville, was selected to fill the remaining term in District Two of Reverend Mac Whitney III, who passed away in late September 2016. Mr. Burgess, who is a native of Richlands, attended Richlands High School and East Carolina University and is a small business owner in Onslow County. Mr. Burgess is active in the community, serving as a board member of BB&T and the Onslow Caring Communities Foundation. He is also on the Board of Trustees of Coastal Carolina Community College and is a past board member of the New River Rotary and the Onslow Economic Development Commission. Mr. Burgess and his wife, Regine, have two children, Tiffany and Jessica.

Brandon Howard, of the Half Moon Community, was selected to fill the remaining term in District One of board member and one time chairman Hugh Batts. Mr. Batts retired from the board at the end of July 2016. Mr. Howard, who was born and raised in Onslow County and attended Richlands High School and later North Carolina State University, is self employed as a farmer, general contractor, and home inspector. A current board member of the Onslow County Farm Bureau, Mr. Howard is also a member of the Jacksonville Board of Realtors. He previously served on the Farm Bureau of North Carolina’s Young Farmer & Ranch Committee. Mr. Howard has two children, Anna and Zachary.

 

Cold weather leads to increased electric use for members

Our area experienced plenty of cold weather during the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, and we received numerous inquiries from members about high bills.

Higher electric bills are usually caused by an increased use of electricity, and during wintertime, increased consumption can usually be attributed to the large difference between cold outdoor temperatures and heated indoor temperatures. Frigid temperatures can cause heating systems to work overtime, and heating can account for as much as 50 percent of the typical all-electric home’s energy use in winter.

Spikes in electric use are especially noticeable after a month or billing period that is significantly colder than the prior one, or when a month or billing period is significantly colder than historical averages. Something else to remember is that members’ December 2016 electric bills had WPTA(Wholesale Power and TIER Adjustment) credits on them that ranged from $30 upward (based on usage) thus reducing that month’s bill and perhaps making increased electric use and higher bills in January and February even more noticeable.

How cold has it been?

During December 2016, 15 out of the 31 days saw temperatures dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. And, it was extremely cold 8 of those days, with the lows reaching below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

Keep in mind that the electricity needed to heat your home will vary depending on how efficient your heating, venting and air-conditioning (HVAC) unit is and how well-insulated your home is, among other factors. And unfortunately, when temperatures don’t get out of the 20s, 30s or 40s all day, your HVAC system will probably have to run off and on—all day and all night—to heat your home, regardless of how efficient your system is. Even if you set your thermostat to our recommended 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, when it is 30 degrees Fahrenheit outside (for example), your system still has to work hard to make up that 38-degree difference. If you have an electric HVAC system, you’ll be using a lot of electricity on days like these—even more so if you have a non-heat pump furnace system that uses straight electric heat (heat strips).

Tips to help reduce winter electricity use

  • Set your thermostat to 68°F or as low as is comfortable for you. During cold weather, your system has to work harder to overcome big temperature differences between the outside and inside air, but not as much as if you had set your thermostat at a higher temperature.
  • Going to be away from home? Program your thermostat to lower the temperature 10 degrees. If you turned the unit off, it will have to work overtime when turned back on, eating into any savings.
  • Dress for the weather, even if you’re inside. Wearing long sleeves and pants or wrapping up in a cozy blanket will help combat the temptation to bump up the thermostat.
  • Clean or replace HVAC filters monthly.
  • Keep vents free from obstructions.
  • Keep drapes closed at night and keep those that don’t get direct sunlight closed during the day also.
  • Have your HVAC system serviced every year by a certified technician.
  • Space heaters sound like a good idea but they can use a surprising amount of electricity.
  • Close the fireplace damper when it’s not in use.
  • Caulk around the fireplace hearth and caulk or weatherstrip around doors and windows.

 

UNC and Wolfpack Basktball Camp scholarships

JOEMC is accepting applications from middle-school students for all-expense paid scholarships to summer basketball camps at the University of North Carolina and N.C. State University.

Young men can apply to attend the Roy Williams Carolina Basketball Camp in Chapel Hill, and young women can compete for a spot at the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Camp in Raleigh.

Applications and more information have been sent to area middle schools. Students can also download an application by CLICKING HERE. JOEMC will select one student for each camp in a competitive process based on academics, extra-curricular activities and a short essay. Rising sixth through eighth graders are eligible to apply, and the final application deadline is March 31.

The Touchstone Energy Sports Camp Scholarship program, sponsored by JOEMC and the state’s 26 electric cooperatives, sends more than 50 students statewide to learn from renowned collegiate coaches and athletes each year. Both camps will work closely with students to develop fundamental skills like sportsmanship and leadership that will help the young athletes excel both on and off the court.

The Touchstone Energy Sports Camps program provides a unique educational and athletic opportunity for outstanding students across our state and is yet another way the cooperatives are demonstrating their commitment to North Carolina communities.

 

7 Cooperative Principles: Democratic member control

Last month, we discussed the cooperative-form of business and the seven cooperative principles.

Each month we’ll highlight one of the seven principles and explain what that means to a member-owned, not-for-profit organization like JOEMC. In January, we discussed Voluntary and Open Membership—this month we’ll talk about Democratic Member Control.

#2 Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote), and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.

View all of the 7 Cooperative Principles

 



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