From the CEO: Electric Cooperatives’ Policy Priorities

As a member of JOEMC you know that providing safe, affordable and reliable electricity is our top priority 365 days a year. Our employees are dedicated to this mission whether they work on a line crew or spend their time behind a desk. But it might surprise you to know just how much of the work we perform in the communities we serve can be greatly affected by what lawmakers and regulators are doing in Washington, D.C. That’s why co-ops all across the country join together in making sure our national leaders know what’s important to co-ops and their members.

We do this, in part, through our membership in the National Rural Electrification Association (NRECA). NRECA is the national service organization that represents the interests of the nation’s more than 900 electric cooperatives on Capitol Hill and before federal agencies. A few priorities for electric co-ops in the next couple of years include the following:

Strengthening Rural America: Electric co-ops built and improved the infrastructure to bring electricity to people living in rural America who were being left in the dark and left behind. Today, co-ops provide power to 42 million Americans in 47 states. We know that growing a vibrant economy is essential to America’s success and prosperity and the federal government can help. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has long been a partner in helping co-ops fund a wide variety of economic development activities and the co-ops will work to further strengthen our relationship with the USDA in 2018 and beyond. We are also aware that tens of millions of rural Americans continue to live without access to high-speed internet service. Bridging the digital divide continues to be a critical economic development issue for rural America and it’s a priority for co-ops in Washington.

Avoiding Regulatory Overreach: Electric co-ops strongly advocate for public policies that are driven by consumers’ interests and needs— not a “Washington knows best” mentality. Overreaching federal regulations can have a significant negative impact so we are asking Washington policymakers to revisit a number of federal rules that have hurt rural communities and threatened co-ops’ mission to provide affordable and reliable electricity. We’re also examining future rules and actions under major environmental laws, such as the Endangered Species Act and Clean Air Act, to ensure that they carefully balance the nation’s environmental and economic goals without imposing undue burdens on rural America.

Improving Infrastructure: One of the themes that ran through the most recent presidential campaign was the need to improve the nation’s infrastructure. Electric co-ops have been in the infrastructure development and improvement business for decades and hope to work with our nation’s leaders to continue this important progress. Co-ops continuously improve the cyber and physical security of our systems and have been leaders in developing and using smart grid technologies. Here again, a strong public-private partnership remains eessential, particularly in the area of cyber security. Electric cooperatives also support a wide range of research activities to help improve our nation’s future energy infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Energy and other agencies remain key partners in advancing this research, as well.

These are just a couple of co-ops’ priorities over the next couple of years. It isn’t an exhaustive list but hopefully it demonstrates that JOEMC and America’s electric cooperatives are working just as hard in Washington as we are here at home to keep the electricity flowing and improve the quality of life for you our consumer-members.

 

CEO Clark Honored for 25 Years of Service

Jones-Onslow’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jeff Clark, was recently recognized for his 25 years of service to electric cooperatives in North Carolina.

“In his time with Jones-Onslow, Jeff has dedicated himself to JOEMC, its consumer-members and the electric cooperative family,” said Board Chairman John Pierce. “First as Chief Financial Officer and most recently in his role as CEO, he has led the co-op and its employees with integrity and character, working to make JOEMC a model of excellence not only in North Carolina but throughout the country.”

The commendable service award was presented in April at the annual meeting of North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, a family of organizations that support the 26 electric cooperatives located throughout the state, including JOEMC. Collectively, these not-for profit, member-owned cooperatives provide reliable, safe and affordable electricity to 2.5 million North Carolinians in 93 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. They are also committed to delivering new energy solutions and improving quality of life in the communities they serve.

JOEMC Awards Touchstone Energy Sports Camp Scholarships

This month, two exceptional local middle school students—Lilah Johnson and Jack Leary—are seizing an opportunity to learn more about teamwork via the Touchstone Energy Sports Camp Scholarship program. The youth, who will represent JOEMC, will have an experience that builds foundational skills that can be used on the court and in the classroom.

Johnson, who goes to Topsail Middle School, will attend the NC State Wolfpack Academy and Leary, a student at New Bridge Middle School, will attend the Roy Williams Basketball Camp at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Students who will be enrolled in the 6th, 7th, or 8th grades during the 2018-2019 school year were eligible to participate in the contest. Applicants were judged on academics, extra curricular activities, and an essay on why they wanted to attend the basketball camp.

At the camps, students stay overnight in campus dorms, learn fundamental basketball and life skills, and receive individual and group instruction from college coaches.

JOEMC, along with the other electric cooperatives in the state, will send more than 50 middle school students to camp on full scholarships this year. The Touchstone Energy Sports Camp Scholarships provide a one-of-a-kind educational and athletic opportunity to our state’s youth and reflect JOEMC and Touchstone Energy’s core values of accountability, integrity, innovation, and commitment to community.

For more information about the sports camp or other community programs that your cooperative participates in, visit joemc.com and look under the “Cooperative” tab.

Time for a New HVAC Unit?

How do you know it’s time to replace your aging heating and cooling equipment? Here are a few clues that your HVAC equipment is headed for its final curtain.

  • YOUR HVAC SYSTEM CAN BE DESCRIBED AS “VINTAGE”. If your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old it’s approaching the end of its useful life. While some units hang on for years, replacing an older unit with one that’s ENERGY STAR rated can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs. If your furnace is more than 15 years old, it’s time to think about replacing it with an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace or, even better, an efficient heat pump that can also reduce your cooling cost.
  • YOUR HVAC SYSTEM ISN’T KEEPING UP WITH YOUR HEATING AND COOLING NEEDS. HVAC equipment gets less efficient as it ages…this can increase your energy costs and decrease your comfort.
  • YOUR EQUIPMENT HAS NEEDED SEVERAL REPAIRS RECENTLY OR YOU’RE FACING THE COST OF REPLACING A MAJOR COMPONENT LIKE A COMPRESSOR. It often makes more sense to replace your equipment with a new high-efficiency unit that can reduce your energy bills.
  • YOUR HOME’S AIR IS TOO HUMID OR TOO DRY. Inadequate equipment or leaky duct work can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.
  • YOU NEED TO DUST MORE OFTEN EVEN THOUGH YOU CHANGE THE HVAC SYSTEM FILTER(S) REGULARLY. Ductwork can also deteriorate over time. Leaky ducts pull particles from attics and crawl spaces and circulate them throughout your house. In addition, ductwork may get accidentally damaged or the joints may need sealing.
  • YOUR HEATING OR COOLING SYSTEM IS NOISY. Noise can indicate developing mechanical problems or undersized ductwork.
  • YOU’RE ADDING ON TO YOUR HOME. Your heating and cooling unit may not be large enough to handle the extra workload and the duct system may need redesigning. If you suspect it’s time to replace your equipment, schedule a visit from a certified HVAC contractor to discuss your options.

Members who install an ENERGY STAR rated electric central AC, air-to-air heat pump, or a geothermal heat pump are eligible for a heating and cooling rebate from JOEMC of up to $350. Click here for more details.

Summer Energy-Saving Tips

Cost associated with cooling your home can make up a large portion of your summer electric bills. Stay cool and save money with these energy efficiency tips!

NO-COST TIPS

  • Close blinds and drapes during the day to keep heat out.
  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home. Set it to a higher temperature when you are away.
  • Turn off lights and ceiling fans when you leave the room.

LOW-COST TIPS

  • Plant trees and shrubs to shade the exterior of your home.
  • Replace disposable air filters (or clean permanent filters) once a month to maximize efficiency.
  • Use solar lighting to brighten up your outdoor space. Solar lights are easy to install, low maintenance and provide free electricity.

For more energy-saving tips around the home go to JOEMC’s Energy Efficiency Resource Page.

Keep up with Outages Around-the-Clock

Providing reliable power is our top priority. However, sometimes circumstances beyond our control cause members to lose power. To keep up with the outages on our system, members can go to our website and view the current outages on our system. The map has around-the-clock access to outage information, is updated in real-time, and shows the number of customers affected by outages.

Staying Safe During Summer Storms

Many of us look forward to summer in North Carolina with its sunny days, warm weather and relaxing time spent with family and friends. However, the arrival of summer also ushers in the potential for hurricanes and storms that can impact our state from the mountains to the coast.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1 and runs through the end of November, meaning that now is the time to prepare for storm season. Here are some proactive steps you can take to get ready for summer storms and the heavy rain, wind and hail they may bring:

  1. Make a plan. Identify the safest spots in your home, designate a meeting place and write down emergency contact information. Also identify evacuation routes.
  2. Compile an emergency kit. Include three days’ worth of water and food (for you and pets), batteries, a flashlight, a first aid kit, medications, cash and other essential items. Also, make sure to charge your cell phone and secure or store outdoor items in advance of an approaching storm.
  3. Review storm safety tips. Learn how to stay safe through hurricanes and adverse weather by visiting joemc.com. Browse through the Storm Center section (under the Energy Center tab) to view storm checklists and additional storm resources.
  4. Connect with us. Stay up-to-date with the latest outage updates and other important information by clicking here.

No matter what this summer has in store, JOEMC is ready to respond, and we encourage you to be prepared, too.



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.

Resources