From the CEO: A Little Money Back in Your Pocket…

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. Many of you are familiar with capital credits but for those of you who may be new JOEMC members this may be a foreign concept…I would like to take this time to explain the process.

The name “capital credits” may sound complex but it is a simple concept. Capital credits are monies left at the end of the year after operating expenses have been paid. These monies, or margins, are then credited back to the members who created them through the purchase of electricity. The credits are put into a member’s capital credit account and over time, as deemed feasible by your Board of Directors, these credits are returned. This year’s capital credit refund authorization will be for members who received electric service from JOEMC in 1995 and/or 2017.

Why are monies retained for some period of time? All businesses, those seeking to make profits and ones like your cooperative (not-for-profit organizations) must have money to operate. A profit-
making company secures the money from the stockholders and banks. With cooperatives, the money comes from member equity (margins or capital credits) and the bank. By retaining a portion
of the capital credits for a period of time, JOEMC can secure part of the needed money to operate the company. As financial conditions allow, your Board of Directors return those credits back to
members who “contributed” to the operation of the company by purchasing electricity.

With this year’s current capital credit refund authorization ($1.8 million), all active members who received service during 1995 and/or 2017 will receive their refund in the form of a “capital credit
refund” on their electric bill. This refund will consist of 100% of the remaining allocated capital credits from 1995 and 25% of allocated capital credits from 2017. All inactive members who received service from the cooperative during the dates mentioned above will receive a capital credit check in the mail.

If you’d like more information about capital credits please visit the capital credits section on our website.

 

 

A 4-Step Guide to “Phantom” Loads

Studies show that in an average home 5 to 8 percent of electricity consumption stems from appliances with “phantom” loads, which means that they consume electricity even when switched off. To put that in perspective, the average North American household consumes roughly 10,800 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. If you estimate that 6.5 percent of your total electricity consumption comes from phantom loads, the amount drained by these appliances equals about 700 kWh annually — or $70 per year.

So how can you tell which devices are okay to leave plugged in?

  1. Satisfactory Standby: Microwave ovens and alarm clocks, which use relatively small amounts of standby power, are acceptable to leave plugged in. If you record programs frequently with your DVR, you should probably leave it plugged in.
  2. Unnecessary Unplugging: You don’t have to worry about unplugging items with mechanical on/off switches, such as lamps, hair dryers, or small kitchen appliances like toasters or mixers…they don’t draw any power when turned off.
  3. Power Strip Protection: Try plugging household electronics like personal computers, monitors, printers, speakers, stereos, DVD and video game players, and cell phone chargers into power strips. Not only do power strips protect sensitive electronic components from power surges, you can quickly turn off several items at once.
  4. Smart Savings: A better solution to power strips may be found in “smart strips”. Most smart strips feature three outlet colors, each with a unique task. The blue outlet serves as a control plug and is ideal for heavily used devices like TVs or computers. The neutral or green outlets are connected to the blue outlet. Turning off the blue outlet will also cut power to any equipment plugged into those outlets. Devices plugged into red outlets remain on — electricity to these outlets never cuts off making them perfect for satellite boxes or other appliances that need constant power.

 

Top 10 Energy Saving Tips as Things Warm Up

Here are just a few simple things you can do to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home as warmer temperatures arrive:

  1. Service your air conditioner. Easy maintenance such as routinely replacing or cleaning air filters can lower your cooling system’s energy consumption by up to 15 percent.
  2. Open windows. This creates a cross breeze, allowing you to naturally cool your home without switching on the A/C. This is an ideal tactic in spring when temperatures are mild.
  3. Use ceiling fans. Running in a counterclockwise position ceiling fans will cool your home allowing you to raise your thermostat four degrees. This can help lower your electricity bills without sacrificing comfort.
  4. Cook outside. On warmer spring days keep the heat out of your home by using an outdoor grill instead of indoor ovens.
  5. Install window treatments. Energy efficient window treatments or coverings such as blinds, shades and films can slash heat gain when temperatures rise.
  6. Caulk air leaks. Using caulk to seal cracks and openings in your home keeps warm air out – and cash in your wallet.
  7. Set the thermostat. Setting a programmable thermostat to a higher setting when you are not at home can help reduce your energy costs by approximately 10 percent.
  8. Maximum efficiency: When setting your thermostat, considering setting it at 78 degrees to maximize your energy dollars.
  9. Seal ducts. Air loss through ducts can lead to high electricity costs, accounting for nearly 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption.
  10. When taking a shower, switch on bathroom fans…they remove heat and humidity and improve comfort.

Spring Gardening…Don’t Forget to Call Before You Dig

If you’re thinking of starting a spring garden or any landscaping projects that will require digging, please remember to call 811 at least 72 hours before you dig in order to have underground utilities marked.

By calling 811 before every project, residents can help save lives, avoid costly penalties from hitting
underground lines and protect infrastructure.

For more information about safe digging and the “Call Before You dig” process, visit the 811 website at www.nc811.com.

For more safety tips go to our ENERGY CENTER Tab and look under Safety.

LEDs Coming of Age

Out with the old, in with the new. When you’re doing spring cleaning, you might want to remember that phrase when it comes to your household lighting.

Believe it or not, even compact-fluorescent lights (CFLs) are becoming outdated, and super-efficient LED lights are taking their place.

With prices dropping, LED lighting is becoming the simple option for every American, offering long life and energy savings. A typical LED uses a fraction of the wattage required to power a bright
incandescent bulb. This makes LEDs dramatically more cost effective over the long run, and they last at least 15 times longer.

Don’t know which brand to buy? Look for the Energy Star label. These lights must demonstrate that they can deliver on brightness, color quality and being able to shine light in all directions.

To find equivalent brightness when replacing old bulbs with LEDs, use the guide below. LEDs are rated in lumens, as opposed to watts.


LEDs come in a variety of shapes and sizes for any application, including recessed and track lights, lamps, fans and more. Plus, you can even find dimmable versions. Click the lighting tab at energystar.gov/products to learn more.

Electric Vehicles 101

As their name implies, electric vehicles are powered—in all or in part—by electricity. All-electric vehicles are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source, like an outlet or a special charging station. The energy is stored in a battery and the battery powers the vehicle when it’s in use. Hybrid electric vehicles are powered by a combination of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine that runs on gasoline.

HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE ‘GONE ELECTRIC’?
Though electric vehicles account for only about 3 percent of all auto sales, according to the Center for Automotive Research, they are gaining popularity and their sales were up more than 16 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. Electric vehicles are expected to become more affordable, and a federal tax credit also exists to help offset initial costs.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Electric vehicles offer numerous benefits over traditional gas-powered vehicles including increased energy efficiency, reduced environmental impact, and lower fuel and maintenance costs. According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), EVs can be more than twice as energy efficient, save 70 percent in fuel costs, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 75 percent, compared to internal combustion engines. And the good news is that electricity continues to get more efficient as a power source and its prices are more stable than fossil fuels.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS?

Drivers often cite “range anxiety” as a primary barrier to adopting electric vehicles, but as electric vehicles continue to make up more of the auto market, so too will charging stations. Additionally, battery technology is improving the number of miles electric vehicles can travel on an electric charge, expanding the vehicles’ use from day-to-day commuting and activities to transit and travel.

EDUCATION AND INFORMATION.

We strive to provide our members with the knowledge needed to make informed energy decisions and stay up-to-date on new technology issues that may affect our cooperative, including electric vehicles. We exist to serve our members, not to generate a profit, and we’re looking out for your best interests. Contact us at the office or go to our website and look under Energy Center and Renewable Energy tab for more information about electric vehicles and the other services we have available to support your needs.

Click here to go to JOEMC’s Electric Vehicle Page where you can watch a video and learn more



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