Winter weather is coming…prepare now

While many of us dream of a white Christmas, winter weather can also present challenges especially snow, ice or just frigid air. Get ready for winter weather, and stay cozier inside this season, by following a few simple tips:

BEFORE A WINTER STORM HITS

  • Go to joemc.com for the latest regarding outages and other storm impacts.
  • Create an emergency supply kit with essentials like blankets, a flashlight, batteries, food, water, medi­cations, and first aid items.
    Make a family communications plan that details what you’ll do in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged.
  • Bring pets indoors and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.
  • Fill up your car with gas. Since gas stations often rely on electricity to power their pumps, a power outage may leave you stranded without gas.
  • Trees can be a major cause of outages during storms, and so we work year-round to trim tree limbs and manage vegetation that grows around our power lines. If you see limbs near power lines close to your home, please call our office so we can address the issue.

DURING AND AFTER A WINTER STORM

  • Prevent your pipes from freezing by turning your faucets on just enough so they can drip.
  • If using a space heater or heat lamp, be sure to place it on a solid surface at least three feet away from anything combustible. Always turn off space heaters before leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Never leave a fireplace unattended unless its embers are completely extinguished. Also consider using a glass or metal fire screen to catch sparks and rolling logs, and never store flammable liquids near sources of heat.
  • Know how to use your generator. Generators should be placed in an open and ventilated area. They should never be operated inside a home—including spaces like the basement and garage—due to the danger of inhaling carbon monoxide fumes.
  • If there is a downed power line nearby, leave the area immediately and notify your cooperative or call 911. If others are around, let them know they need to stay away.
  • Report any power outages to JOEMC’s automated outage report line by calling 910-353-7117 or 800-681-4146.

LEDs for the holidays

“LED, LED, LED’” (imagine this being chanted the way “USA” is at the Olympics.) While LEDs won’t necessarily anchor a relay to victory, they are most certainly the current champions when it comes to energy-efficient lighting. So, let’s discuss using LEDs for your holiday decorating enjoyment.

The first incarnations of LED lights generated less than appealing garish blues, greens and reds but quickly softened into a more eye-pleasing spectrum. Today, LEDs are the undisputed champs of holiday lighting.

And now LEDs are also showing up in other forms and places. They are available in clear tubes that you can wrap around objects for extra interest (the tubes glow), and many yard figures are constructed with these as the main structural element. Imagine the possibilities!

You have worked hard all year to reduce your energy consumption to save money and slim down your carbon footprint. Now reward yourself with a splendid holiday display that will be the envy of all who see it while still being miserly with power use.


 

 

Holiday gift ideas that make an impact

 Interested in going green with your gift giving this year? Or not sure what to get for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list? Here are some holiday gift ideas that will keep on giving by helping you save energy and money throughout the year.

SMART THERMOSTATS
These Wi-Fi enabled thermostats help you reduce your heating and cooling costs by automatically adjusting the temperature by a few degrees at certain times. They also offer the convenience of controlling your thermostat anytime from your smartphone or computer

ENERGY STAR ELECTRONICS AND APPLIANCES
If a new home appliance is on your holiday wish list, consider asking Santa for one with the ENERGY STAR label. JOEMC offers rebates on energy efficient appliances, heat pumps and water heaters. Visit joemc.com for details.

TABLETS
The switch from desktop computers to laptops provide huge energy savings and the switch to tablets will save even more. Tablets cost under $2 a year to charge and are more than 25 times cheaper to power than the average desktop. (Tip courtesy of Alliance to Save Energy)

SOLAR POWERED GADETS
The number of solar-powered gizmos has exploded in recent years. You can find solar-powered lights, cellphones and battery chargers, and solar backpacks. And what better way to teach kids about renewable energy than buying them a solar-powered toy?

 

 

 

12 days of energy efficiency

As the holiday season nears, follow these 12 energy efficiency tips around your home to help maximum your energy dollars:

  1. Deck your tree out with LED Lights. They use 70% less energy than traditional bulbs.
  2. Close your fireplace damper when a fire is not burning.
  3. Hire a trained professional to inspect your home’s heating system.
  4. Turn down your thermostat when hosting holiday parties. The extra visitors and cooking will warm your home.
  5. Install a programmable thermostat for a new year of energy savings.
  6. Use a timer to turn off holiday lights during the night while you are sleeping.
  7. Buy energy efficient electronics and appliances, and look for the Energy Star label.
  8. Caulk or weatherstrip to seal air leaks around doors and windows.
  9. Open curtains or blinds during the day to allow sunlight to heat your home; close them at night.
  10. Rechargeable batteries and chargers save energy and they make great stocking stuffers.
  11. Use the oven light to check your dishes rather than opening the oven door.
  12. Enlist a professional to conduct an energy audit of your home.

From the CEO: Wrapped in value

One of the most exciting times of year has to be the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And as a child I remember that anticipation as we counted down the days to the morning of December 25th.

While the holiday season is full of excitement, we sometimes miss the magic as we juggle hefty shopping lists, parties and wrapping up work projects before the end of the year. These commitments can add stress—not joy—to the holiday season. However, JOEMC wants you to think of your electric cooperative as an early holiday gift, wrapped with layers of value.

As a member there are several money-saving perks that are available to you this time of year. First, did you know that we offer rebates/credits on purchases of Energy Star appliances and Energy Star-rated HVAC equipment including heat pump water heaters? Investing in these energy efficiency items will earn you rebates/credits ranging from $25 to $350 as well as save you money down the road in energy consumption.

Did you know you can save at local and national businesses with your Co-op Connections Card? You might even find coupons for the secret ingredients of your famous green bean casserole on our Co-op Connections pagehttps://www.joemc.com/the-cooperative/community/coop-connection-card/ or connections.coop.

Family visiting over the holidays? Every kilowatt-hour saved counts and that’s where our energy efficiency experts can help, offering tips on how to manage your electricity use and even suggesting more efficient holiday lighting options.

In addition to helping you save money we can help you save time as well. Too busy to stop by our office? You don’t need to take time out of your packed holiday schedule to visit one of our offices to pay your bill. Instead, pay over the phone using our automated system, use your smartphone to pay via our website (it’s mobile friendly), or stop by one of the new remote kiosks located at the Realo Drugstores at the Gateway Shopping Center in Surf City and the Wal-mart Shopping Center on the southwest side of Jacksonville. View ALL your payment options here.

Try to avoid, the best you can, getting caught in the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season. And, after all the gifts are wrapped and meals prepared, take time to look into the faces of those around you —they are your purpose. The rest of the holiday scramble is just details and JOEMC can help you take care of a few of those.

From our family to yours, enjoy this time of year…I hope you have a blessed holiday season!

 

Digital devices impact energy use

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Ah, the Digital Age. We have gadgets galore, the ability to manage our homes in new and innovative ways, brilliant images and captivating sounds of modern entertainment options and of course, the internet. Clearly, digital devices reign supreme. Yet these cool new capabilities come with a couple of pitfalls; vampire loads and the issue of “technology reincarnation.”

Over the course of the Digital Age, electricity use has continued to increase. Families have multiple televisions. Computer prices have plummeted, meaning many homes now have multiple computers. Everyone in the family needs a cell phone. Gaming consoles and set top cable/satellite boxes satisfy our desire for entertainment.

Major appliances aside, most digital devices do not use 120-volt power, which is the standard voltage of a home outlet. They actually use a lot less. So, trying to plug your brand new smartphone directly into an outlet is going to lead to a fried device and lots of tears from someone. This is why low-voltage devices come with a power adapter. These “wall warts” as some term them, take the 120-volt electricity supplied by JOEMC and convert it to say, five volts. Unfortunately, most folks leave their adapters plugged in to make recharging easier. The problem with this approach is that the seemingly innocuous wall wart uses power even when it isn’t charging a device.

This invisible energy consumption is often called “vampire load.” Studies show that 5 to 10 percent of the average home’s energy use is from vampire loads. The only way to stop this is to unplug the power adapter when it is not in use or employ smart power strips. These look like the typical power strip but with a twist––only one socket gets power all the time. When the device or appliance connected to it turns on and starts using power, the remaining sockets receive power too. This is perfect for entertainment systems, computer set ups and a variety of other situations.

Technological advances have steadily increased energy efficiency and reduced purchase prices. On its face, this seems like a good thing. Unfortunately, when replacing a product at the end of its life, the tendency is to go bigger, or continue to use the old tech. This is the second issue I noted––technology reincarnation.

For example, flat screen television prices have plummeted as technology has evolved––and so has the amount of electricity they use. Consumers wander into the big box store and are dazzled by walls of giant, brilliant televisions. What they used to pay for the paltry 32” model now might net them a 50” giant. And who doesn’t want to see their favorite show or sports event in near life size? But if you spring for the bigger TV, you won’t benefit from the increased energy efficiency of the newer technology. The bigger model uses as much juice as the older, smaller TV, which likely ends up in another room (reincarnated in another setting) still using power.

Or refrigerators. These are the showpieces of the evolution of smart appliances. Many new models include touchscreens and cameras; they communicate over the internet and probably even keep food cold and make ice. Yet what often happens is the old refrigerator ends up in the basement or garage, reincarnated as a dedicated beverage unit or overflow.

Invest in smart power strips or make a point to use outlets where you can conveniently unplug power adapters when not in use. Don’t oversize your replacement appliances and entertainment gear unless family needs dictate the larger capacities. And recycle the replaced appliances and equipment to stem technology reincarnation. You will enjoy the Digital Age for a lot less.



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