Balancing Beauty with Reliable, Safe Electricity

In a continued effort to meet our mission of providing the most safe, reliable, and affordable electricity possible, while at the same time balancing the beauty of our landscape and being good environmental stewards, JOEMC utilizes a carefully planned Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) Program.

The primary goal of our IVM Program is to develop an environmental-friendly approach to vegetation management that is designed to improve reliability, provide for safe and efficient operation and maintenance of our electrical system, maximize cost-effectiveness, and enhance member satisfaction.

This approach, which is evaluated for safety and environmental impact, includes both mechanical (maintaining right-of-way with equipment such as tractors and chain saws) as well as the spraying of chemical herbicides that have been tested and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Spraying of right-of-way is done in strict accordance with prescribed regulations. In addition, every right-of-way employee at JOEMC has their applicator license and is certified annually by the State of North Carolina.

The herbicides used are not common “weed killers” but are plant specific, selective chemicals. The objective is to change the vegetation of the right-of way areas from aggressive plants, like pine and wax leave plants, and promote the growth of grass and other low-growing plants.

Ground nesting birds and animals such as rabbits, squirrels, and deer are not harmed by the herbicides. In fact, many protection organizations for animals have studied the effects of long term spraying (versus mowing and cutting) and strongly promote these practices. Quails Unlimited has highlighted Jones-Onslow’s IVM Program in past publications and the NC Department of Transportation, NC Vegetation Management Association, and Dow AgroSciences have all visited JOEMC because of its practices. Right-of-way maintenance is performed on a regular three-year rotating cycle and performed throughout the year. The spraying portion of the IVM Program, which will be conducted this year from the southwest area of Onslow

County towards Holly Ridge and Sneads Ferry, is seasonal. Because of this spraying, aggressive plants don’t return as they would with mowing or cutting alone.

What about the “brown” or “dead-looking” plants you see along the right-of-way? They are a temporary result of the selective spraying process. Although not pretty to look at, they are temporary — the removal of these undesirable plants will result in a more visually pleasing right-of-way in future years. It also allows JOEMC to continue to provide the most safe, reliable, and affordable electricity possible.

Go to our right-of-way maintenance page for more information

Thanks for the Big Thumbs Up!

JOEMC scored a 90 out of a possible 100 for customer service and satisfaction on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for the second quarter of 2017. With the score, the cooperative, who surveys members twice a year to gauge how we are performing, received our highest score since 2013.

The ACSI is a nationally recognized measurement tool that takes feedback and uses that data to develop an overall score. The score can then be compared to other similar companies across the nation to gauge performance. JOEMC uses feedback from this survey to improve our processes and customer interaction.

The most recent survey results of cooperative members placed JOEMC as one of the highest scoring cooperatives (again a 90) amongst other high-performing electric cooperatives (the highest score amongst electric cooperatives was 91).

At the local level, customers gave JOEMC a satisfaction score of 9.39 (out of a possible 10). Other scores in the survey include a 9.43 for providing reliable service, a 9.34 for having knowledgeable employees, a 9.33 for restoring electric service when power goes out, a 9.25 for being committed to the community, and a 9.20 for handling member complaints or problems.

From the CEO: Appreciating Electricity

You know, there was a time when penny candy actually cost a penny. For a nickel, you could buy enough sweet stuff to rot your teeth out, as my mother used to say.

But what does a penny buy these days? Not much. The government can’t even make a penny for a penny anymore. According to the U.S. Mint, it now costs 1.5 cents to produce one.

About the only thing of value you can still get for a penny is electricity. You might call it “penny electricity.”

No, I’m not kidding. Think about it.

To make the math easier, let’s say the average rate for a kilowatt- hour of electricity is 10 cents. That is 60 minutes of 1,000 watts of electricity for a dime, so a penny of electricity equates to 100 watts. It’s enough to power a 9-watt LED lightbulb—the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb—for 11 hours, all for only a penny.

Where else can you get that kind of value?

How many eggs will a penny buy? How much milk, bread, coffee, medicine or gasoline will a penny buy?

Gas has come down from levels of several years ago, but there is still no comparison to the value of electricity. For example, if a gallon of gas costs $2.50 and your car gets 25 miles to the gallon, you can drive 176 yards—about two blocks— on a penny’s worth of gas. I will take 11 hours of lighting for a penny over a two-block drive any day.

The value is just as evident when powering things other than lighting. Take, for instance, your smartphone. Using the same 10 cents per kWh price, penny electricity allows you to fully charge your iPhone more than 18 times. You can charge it once every day of the year for about 20 cents total.

We are fortunate electricity is such an excellent value because we have a huge appetite for it. We tend to forget that. Electricity is not expensive. It’s that we use it for so many different things: lighting, heating and cooling, cooking, refrigeration, cleaning, entertainment, communications—even transportation these days.

So to my way of thinking, the value of electricity is like the bygone days of penny candy, and it’s OK to indulge yourself a little. But, unlike penny candy, penny electricity won’t rot your teeth out.

Capture Energy Savings by Sealing Air Leaks

Save energy and seal air leaks by weather stripping exterior doors. How do you know if you need to weather strip? If you can see any amount of light between the door frame and the floor, weather stripping should be applied to eliminate energy waste. This DIY energy-saving project is relatively easy and inexpensive depending on the type of materials selected. The most common weather stripping material is self-adhesive foam strips, although rubber, vinyl, metal, or a combination of materials may also be used.

New Payment Option Available

Beginning this month, JOEMC members have another option to pay their monthly bill…two remote payment kiosks.

Partnering with the Realo Drugstores (located at Gateway Shopping Center in Surf City and the Wal-mart Shopping Center on the southwest side of Jacksonville), the kiosks will accept payments by cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, or Discover Card during Realo’s business hours (hours vary from weekdays to weekends). An important thing to note is that the machines do not return change; so if members make a payment in cash, any overpayment to an account will be applied as a credit to the account. Payments made at the kiosks are immediately applied to the account, just like they are when you make a payment in our office.

To make a payment at the kiosk you must have your account number which is located on the payment stub portion of the electric bill. Members can enter the account number on the touch screen or scan the payment stub for recognition. Then it’s as simple as following the prompts to make a payment with a card, check or cash. Payments of any amount will be accepted and you will receive a receipt at the end of the transaction.

“Our goal is to provide payment options that fit the schedules and needs of our members,” said Wanda Jones, Vice President of Commercial Operations. “We believe they will like the convenience of the kiosks and we plan to add additional units in other parts of our service area in the coming year.” If you have any questions about the new payment kiosks, please call the cooperative at (910) 353-1940 or (800) 682-1515.

JOEMC makes it easy for members to choose the payment option that is most convenient for them and their family. With seven different payment choices, members can set payments to be made automatically, pay online, choose to visit the office, pay by phone from the comfort of home, use one of the new payment kiosks, or put a stamp on it and mail it in. “We encourage our members to review the payment choices we offer to determine which option is best for them,” said Wanda Jones, Vice President of Commercial Operations. “We offer a variety of possibilities because we know that all of our members are different and we want to provide a wide array of services that best meets their needs and lifestyle.”

$300 Rebate Now Available on Qualified Water Heaters

If your electric water heater has been around more than a decade, it might be time for a replacement. When shopping around, take a look at the energy-saving heat pump water heaters (HPWH). While a HPWH typically cost more than a standard water heater, it can be two to three times more energy-efficient than conventional electric resistance units. And now, we’re trying to help make the purchase and payback of a HPWH even easier.

JOEMC is now offering a rebate of $300 for newly installed HPWH of 55 gallons or less. To be eligible for the rebate, the unit must be installed within the 90 days preceding the rebate application submission and in a home served by JOEMC. In addition, when replacing an existing unit with a new HPWH, the old water heater can’t have an efficiency factor greater than 0.90 and the unit must be completely disconnected from the home.

Click here for more information, rebate requirements or to print a rebate application. All submitted applications must also include a proof of purchase (sales receipt or invoice) and a copy of the yellow EnergyGuide included with the system.


Stay Plugged In

Going out of the country for an extended period of time? Storm in our area and you want to see an up-to-date outage map? Wondering if we service the new location where you're moving? Maybe you want to set up an automatic draft or just manage your account? Our resource page has all the information you need at the click of button.