From The CEO: Preparing For The Winter Chill

Winter is here so it’s natural to start thinking about balancing how you’ll stay warm while keeping energy efficient. Being proactive and trying to solve potential problems before the cold weather is in full force is the best way to prepare…and we’re here to try and help you do just that. 

Free Home Energy Audits
At JOEMC, we offer a couple of different options when it comes to home energy audits for our members. First, if you have a few minutes and at least 10 months of billing history, you can perform an energy audit on your home online. You’ll input a few details about your home and a calculator will break down your energy use and provide specific ways to save. We also offer members the option to have a JOEMC employee come to your home and perform an energy audit. During the free analysis, the energy specialist will make suggestions for efficiency improvements around your home. This includes a check of your home’s insulation levels, air tightness, heating and cooling systems, windows and doors as well as lighting and appliances. After the audit you’ll receive a summary of the findings, recommended improvements and opportunities to reduce your energy use and costs.

Consider Replacing Your Heating System
There’s nothing worse than settling in for a cozy winter night at home, only to realize that your heating system is broken. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start thinking about replacing your heating system. If it’s over 12 years old, it may be time to consider replacing it with a new, more energy efficient heat pump. We can offer heat pump advice as well as provide a rebate for qualified HVAC systems to help control the cost of replacement. If you are considering replacing your heating system or are interested in a free home energy audit, we are more than happy to offer assistance. Start by contacting one of our experienced energy specialists at (910) 353-1940 or (800) 682-1515. You can also email us.

We’re Here to Help
We value you, our members, and we are here to help you through the up-coming cold months. You can call our office and speak with a consumer representative about our budget billing program. Take a few minutes to visit our website and find energy efficiency tips/resources that include a video library, home energy calculators and information about HVAC or appliance rebates. Or simply follow us on Facebook and Instagram where we’ve introduced in 2019 “Tuesday Tips”, quick and useful energy efficiency advice for you and your family. 

 

New Outage Text Alerts Let’s You Stay Informed

JOEMC’s new outage text alert program provides a convenient way to stay connected  during a power outage. Using the everyday accessibility of text messaging, we can quickly and  easily communicate with you about power outages.

Using the outage text alerts can give you peace of mind knowing that you won’t be caught by surprise. You can notify the co-op about an outage and then check on its status to you can make plans.

Signing up for outage text alerts is simple and easy and will only take a couple of minutes:

  1. Go to our website and click on “Report an Outage” located under Power Outages on our homepage. Locate Outage Text Alerts and click on the “Sign Up” button (you must have your account number to register). 
  2. Enter your cell phone number and your account number. After submitting your info you’ll receive a text from (800) 681-4146 that provides  a passcode number that you key in to complete the registration process.
  3. Remember to save (800) 681-4146 to your contacts on your cell phone so you can quickly report your outage when needed. Please note that standard text and data rates  may apply.

The next time you experience a power outage, text our outage reporting hotline at (800) 681-4146 using the following keywords:

  • OUTAGE to report a power outage
  • STATUS to request the status of a power outage
  • STOP to cancel participation in the outage text alert program

Please note that only these keywords will work with the outage text alert program.

For outage text alert HELP please call (910) 353-1940 or (800) 682-1515.

 

SIGN UP FOR OUTAGE TEXT ALERTS

 

Members can also report outages by calling the JOEMC Office or by going to joemc.com and looking under POWER OUTAGES. To report an outage at the website you must have the account number, meter number or phone number associated with the account.

 

Do You Have a Middle Schooler Who Loves Basketball?

If your child wants to gain experience training alongside real college basketball players and coaches, apply for a Touchstone Energy Sports Camp Scholarship and attend basketball camp for free this summer!

Jones-Onslow EMC is now accepting applications for full scholarships to renowned basketball camps at two North Carolina universities this summer. Young men can apply for a scholarship to attend the Roy Williams Basketball Camp June 22-26 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and young women can apply for a spot at the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Camp June 9-12 held at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. 

To apply, students must be a rising sixth, seventh or eighth grader. Applications and more information have been sent to all public middle schools in the JOEMC service area. Applicants will be judged on their academics, extracurricular activities and an essay. The application deadline is March 31.

Click here to download an application

How Much Is That Space Heater Really Costing You…

Winter is here and with it comes colder temperatures. Space heaters can work great as a supplemental source of heat but you may want to consider using them sparingly as they can be costly to operate.

Take a look at JOEMC’s space heater calculator to find out how much it is costing you to operate. Click here to view the Space Heater Calculator.

Check out JOEMC’s other Home Energy Calculators for a quick estimate of energy use costs based on your inputs. You’ll be able to input energy-saving scenarios to pinpoint opportunities for savings. Calculators available include those for appliances, lighting, televisions, heat pumps, and more.

Nominate A Veteran From Our Community…

Our local community is home to many veterans, many of whom are living with a disability. That’s why—for the third year—Jones-Onslow EMC, in conjunction with one of our financial partners, is searching for disabled veterans from its service territory to nominate for the  No Barriers Warriors Expedition Program, a Colorado-based nonprofit organization.

The program, sponsored by Co-Bank, provides expeditions that mentally and physically challenge veterans on outdoor expeditions through mountaineering, rafting and rock climbing. Co-Bank covers the full cost for participants including meals, gear and travel expenses. These five-day expeditions offer veterans an opportunity to challenge limitations (both real and perceived) and to create a network of support that can last a lifetime. 

TO BE CONSIDERED:

  • Veterans must have VA disability rating to qualify
  • Individuals can nominate a veteran
  • Veterans can self-nominate
  • Submit a letter summarizing the veteran’s military background, their VA disability rating, length of military service, and why they/you think attending a No Barriers expedition would be of benefit
  • Send letter to predick@joemc.com or to Paula Redick, Jones-Onslow EMC, 259 Western Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC 28546
  • Once we receive your request, we will be in contact to give you further instructions on the application process
  • Deadline to nominate is April 1, 2019

Click here for more information.

How Does My Heat Pump Work?

A heat pump is the most energy efficient type of electric heat on the market, particularly for the southern United States. When installed properly, air source heat pumps can deliver one‐and‐a half to four times more heat energy during the winter than they consume.

So how does a heat pump work? A heat pump is not much different than a car in that it can go forward or reverse. In the winter, an air source heat pump gets heat from the outside air and brings it into your home. In the summer, the unit works in reverse and takes heat from your home and dumps it outside.

Air source heat pumps work very efficiently when the outdoor temperature is in the 50 degrees range. As the outdoor temperature drops, the heat loss of a home is greater and the unit needs to operate for longer periods of time to maintain a constant indoor temperature.

Around 37 degrees many air source heat pumps reach what is called the balance point. At or near this temperature the unit needs to run constantly to produce enough heat to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

As the outdoor temperature continues to drop, the heat pump needs help from traditional electric resistance heat coils (supplemental, auxiliary or emergency heat). These coils resemble the glowing wires inside your toaster and consume vast amounts of electricity as they burn to keep you warm. Your thermostat will most probably have a light that comes on when this happens. It is usually labeled as emergency or auxiliary heat.

Despite setting your thermostat to 68 degrees, there is a very good chance your heat pump can’t reach that temperature…this can vary from house to house based on factors like insulation levels and air infiltration. The result is your heat pump has to run continuously which causes your monthly bill to add up quickly since heating/cooling accounts for around 50% of your monthly usage.

Under normal conditions, the cost of running a heat pump for a JOEMC member is around 30 to 35 cents per hour. When operating in the auxiliary/emergency heating mode, that cost goes up to around $1.30 per hour.

If your heat pump is operating in auxiliary/emergency mode without due cause (outdoor temperatures are above freezing or no drastic adjustment to your thermostat), it is possible that your system is malfunctioning. You should contact a licensed heating and cooling professional and have it serviced immediately. 

Put Safety First During Winter Weather

Keep these tips in mind to protect you and your family when winter weather comes your way:

  1. Place space heaters on solid surfaces at least three feet away from flammable items. Always turn off space heat-ers before exiting a room or going to sleep.
  2. Don’t leave a fireplace unattended unless embers are extinguished. Use a fire screen to catch rolling logs or sparks.
  3. Generators should only be used in open and ventilated areas and should never be operated inside a home, including in a basement or garage, due to the risk of carbon monoxide fumes. Never connect generators directly to household wiring without first having a qualified electrician       install a transfer switch to prevent backfeeding, which poses a serious threat to line workers.
  4. If using Sterno or charcoal to cook food, always do so outside in a well-ventilated area. Cooking indoors with Sterno or charcoal will produce deadly carbon-monoxide fumes, which are colorless and odorless.
  5. Stay away from downed or sagging power lines and don’t attempt to remove tree limbs from lines. Never drive over power lines and always assume they are electrified and dangerous. Alert your electric cooperative of any damaged lines immediately.

Find more safety information on our website under the ENERGY CENTER tab.

Resolve For A Slimmer Energy Bill in 2019

New Years is a time for making resolutions to improve your life. Two favorites are dieting and saving money. This year, combine the two by putting your home on an energy diet. Post these simple steps from Jones-Onslow on your refrigerator and start trimming your energy costs:

  1. Switch all the lighting in your home to energy efficient options like LEDs.
  2. Clean and replace filters regularly. Also, a yearly check up for your heating and cooling system is recommended to prevent unforeseen, costly repairs and to insure maximum efficiency. A household’s heating and cooling system account for about 54 percent of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making this the largest energy expense.
  3. Plug energy leaks with weather stripping around windows and doors.
  4. Take advantage of natural sunlight and window shading for no-cost lighting, heating and cooling.
  5. Maintain water heater temperature at 120 degrees or lower and take short showers instead of baths.
  6. Adjust your thermostat when your home is unoccupied to avoid heating or cooling an empty house. When home, set your thermostat to 68-72 in the winter and 76-78 in the summer. You can also save on your energy bill by replacing your manual thermostat with a programmable one or a smart thermostat.
  7. Run the dishwasher and clothes washer only when fully loaded.
  8. Air dry clothes when possible; clothes dryers are a big energy user.
  9. Power down, turn off and unplug computers, battery charges and other electronics when not in use. Also, consider buying a laptop for your next computer purchase…it uses less energy than a desktop computer.
  10. When replacing older appliances and equipment in your home, purchase high efficiency ENERGY STAR products…you may qualify for a one-time credit/rebate from JOEMC. Click here to see details.

Meter Base Inspection To Be Performed In The Topsail Island Area

As you are aware, the salt air quickly corrodes exposed equipment in areas closer to the ocean than in the more inland areas, which can lead to problems with your electric service or it can even create a hazard. It has been several years since your cooperative did a thorough inspection of meter bases at our beach service locations, so we knew it was past due to perform one.

JOEMC has contracted with Bellwether Management Solutions to perform the meter site inspections. Due to the already heavy workload, we simply lack the resources to complete the inspections prior to the busy summer season. Bellwether will begin the inspections in January 2019 with a completion time before March 31, 2019. We chose this timeframe because the traffic in the area is significantly less. Also, if the inspection revealed needed repairs or replacements there would be ample time to correct the problems prior to the start of the vacation season.

All Bellwether personnel are dressed in chambray blue or fluorescent yellow shirts with a visible Bellwether logo. Their vehicles are white Nissan Frontiers with the Bellwether logo prominently displayed on both doors along with our “JOEMC contractor” sign attached to each truck.

Bellwether’s practice is to take photos upon arrival as well as when they exit each property being inspected. They also photograph the metering equipment and meter base at each service address inspected.

Our automated phone system will make a call to the contact number we have in our records closer to the actual time that your location is to be inspected. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.



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