Everything listed under: Rural Electric

  • Rural Electricity Jargon Explained

    Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives are dedicated to bringing you, our Member-Owners, safe, reliable, and affordable electric power. One of our Seven Cooperative Principles is Education & Training, and we take that Principle to heart.

    Today on the blog, we’ve got several helpful rural definitions to share with you. All of these definitions are related to rural electrification, and we hope that sharing them will help you to better-understand the value your Cooperatives bring to rural Missouri communities.

    The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives is the statewide association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, organized and controlled by member Cooperatives throughout the state. The Cooperatives formed the state association to realize greater economy by pooling services in one central organization.

    Among the services offered to member Cooperatives AMEC are: assistance with member Cooperative annual meetings; safety and job training for Cooperative employees; legislative research; public relations services; and publication of the monthly Rural Missouri magazine.

    Area Coverage
    This concept holds that all applicants in an area served by a rural electric system would receive electric service, the investment required to extend the service notwithstanding.

    Generation & Transmission (G&T) Cooperatives are organized by other rural Cooperatives to act as the wholesale supplier of electric energy. REA loans are made only when adequate power is not available from other sources, power costs would be less from G&T than from other sources, or the security of the Cooperative is jeopardized by unstable or unsatisfactory power sources.

    In Missouri, G&T Cooperatives have pooled their power supplies and interconnected them with several power company systems. This pooling achieves maximum efficiency and dependability of service to consumers.

    The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is a nonpartisan, nonprofit service organization for the mutual benefit of its members.

    The Pace Act
    Passed in 1944, the Pace Act extended the repayment period for REA loans from 25 to 35 years. It establishes REA as a permanent agency and set the interest rate on REA loans at a flat 2 percent. In return, Congress made it clear that it expected to Cooperatives to provide “area coverage” — something not achieved under the shorter loan period and flexible interest rates applying to earlier years.

    Rural Electric Cooperatives (RECs) are nonprofit suppliers organized for the purpose of bringing electric power to consumers within specified rural areas. RECs are tax paying, free enterprise organizations, and RECs are owned and controlled by the people they serve.

    The REA of 1936 made available federal loans to Cooperatives and companies in order to bring electricity to rural America. These loans must be paid back within 35 years with interest. In exchange for the loans and the favorable interest rate, the Cooperatives and companies agree to provide area coverage with electric service.

    RUS (REA)
    The Rural Electrification Administration is the banker for the rural electrification program. Created in 1935, REA makes long-term loans to both cooperatives and companies for the purpose of bringing electric power to rural areas. The relationship between REA and the rural electric cooperatives is that of a banker to borrower. REA is a government agency under the Department of Agriculture.

    *All definitions taken from the AMEC Member Journal 2015

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  • Thank You Member-Owners from Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives

    Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives want to thank you, our Member-Owners, for your continued involvement and personal investment in your rural Electric Cooperatives. For each day we work to bring reliable, safe, and affordable power to rural Missouri, you’re there voting and participating in your local Cooperative. We couldn’t do it without you, our Member-Owners.

    Your Voice is More Important Than You Realize
    Missouri’s Cooperative system is one of the best three-tiered systems in the United States. We offer some of the most reliable service in the country, and we have you to thank for that legacy. We hope that you’re proud of your Missouri Electric Cooperative, and that you’re proud of the ownership that you have in it.

    Your Cooperative can offer the best service when we understand what you want and need from us. Mike Torres of Platte Clay Electric Cooperative says it well when he says that:

    “We’re there to provide the service and the reliability to Members that they want in the way that they want it. We’re constantly asking them questions and looking for their answers. Your voice and your participation in the Cooperative is so much more important than you realize (source).”

    Be an Active #MemberOwner
    You can tell your Cooperative what you want and need by participating at your annual meeting, responding to surveys your Cooperative sends out, and sharing new ideas with your Cooperative when you have them.

    At your annual membership meeting, you get to vote on bylaws, board member selections, and other voting matters of the Cooperative. You have a direct say in your Cooperative’s operations and policies when you attend — and vote — at your annual meeting.

    Surveys are used by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), by the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC), and by your local Cooperative to gather important feedback about Member-Owner priorities, including cost of electricity and the importance of renewable energy sources.

    Finally, your Cooperative counts on your ideas to continually improve on our engagement with our community. Whether your ideas regard civic programs, legislative advocacy, educational services, or some other aspect of Cooperative operations, we welcome your input.

    As Emery (Buster) Geisendorfer, Jr., of Lewis County Rural Electric Cooperative says, “New ideas are wonderful. We need new ideas.”

    If you’d like to be a more active #MemberOwner, reach out to your Missouri Electric Cooperative today. We’re always glad to answer your questions, share tips for energy efficiency, and help you find ways to get more involved. Remember, we couldn’t do what we do without your help.

    Thank you for your interest and involvement in your Missouri Electric Cooperatives!

    Learn More
    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • Meet the Mascot: Willie Wiredhand

    Not many workers are still on the job when they turn 67, but Willie Wiredhand isn’t your ordinary employee. Willie is the long-time mascot of America’s rural Electric Cooperatives, and he’s been working hard for us since 1950. To celebrate Willie’s service, we’re going to look back at his birth, his life, and some highlights of his time with our national, state and local Cooperatives over the last 67 years. 

    1950: A Mascot is Born
    The nation's first Electric Cooperatives were established in 1936: the same year that the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) began offering rural Electric Cooperative loans. In just a short few years, there were dozens of rural Cooperatives in Missouri and hundreds of us across the United States. By the 1950s, our Cooperatives were networked together through the well-established National Rural Electric Association (NRECA).

    NRECA decided that Cooperatives needed a mascot: someone to be the face of rural electricity. In 1950, Willie Wiredhand was created by freelance artist Andrew “Drew” McLay to fill that role. He was born on October 30th, 1950, and by 1951 he was selected by NRECA’s membership to be the official mascot of Cooperatives nationwide.

    A New Symbol of Cooperative Culture
    Everything about Willie was symbolic of rural electricity. He was small and wiry; a hard-working, friendly icon with a big, determined smile. One magazine story describes Willie as, “the friendly and inspirational golden boy who symbolizes dependable, local, consumer-owned electricity (source).”

    His bottom and legs were an electrical plug, and his body was made of wires. His head was a light socket, and his nose was a push button. Even Willie’s name was symbolic — a confident nod to Cooperative history.

    NRECA says Willie was given the last name “Wiredhand” because the electricity that was brought to rural America by Cooperatives in the 1930s and 1940s was “the never-tiring, always available hired hand to help the nation’s farmers.”

    Image Credit: Horry Electric Cooperative, Inc.

    Willie Stayed Busy in the 1950s
    Willie’s work ethic didn’t disappoint: He quickly became a household name. His face appeared on lightbulbs, he represented Member-Owners in Washington, D.C., and he even stood on stage with Senator John F. Kennedy.

    The Willie Wiredhand incandescent lightbulb was created in a partnership between NRECA and the Sylvania Electric Products Lighting Division. The bulbs were etched with Willie’s image and packed in cardboard sleeves that had a special Willie design. They were then sold by Cooperatives and given away at 4-H events, state fairs, and other local demonstrations (source).

    Willie’s work in the didn’t stop there. He dressed up as a Colonial Minuteman for a campaign called “Minutemen for Rural Electrification” that leveraged volunteers to engage with lawmakers on legislation that impacted rural Cooperatives. Volunteers wore the “Minutemen for Rural Electrification” lapel pin bearing Willie’s Minuteman image.

    Photo Credit: Wisconsin REC News via ElectricConsumer.org

    That same campaign put Willie on stage in 1959 with then Senator John F. Kennedy at an NRECA gathering in Washington, D.C. As Senator Kennedy spoke, a large banner of Willie the Minuteman stood towering behind him.

    Willie Wiredhand from the 1960s to Today
    During the 1960s and 70s, Willie promoted electric heat in rural homes, and he was featured in two comic books: Cousin Johnny Discovers Power in Rural America and It’s Annual Meeting Time for the Davis Family.” 

    Photo Credit: Electric Consumer

    In 1974, the Morgan County REMC (now South Central Indiana REMC) in Indiana even produced a Willie Wiredhand Cookbook. Unfortunately, though, by the end of the 1970s, many spokes-characters — Willie included — waned in public popularity. For the rest of the 1970s and into the mid-1980s, Willie was seen less frequently in Cooperative marketing and publications.

    By the mid-1980s, though, Baby Boomers were ready to bring back the spokes-characters they remembered from childhood. Willie gradually regained traction with Cooperatives, and by the early 2000s, his presence was strong again.

    Photo Credit: Willie Wiredhand Facebook Page

    Red Hot Willie hot sauces, which promoted Electric Cooperatives in Arkansas, used Willie’s image, and for several years Willie got his very own Christmas ornaments. He was even made into a bobblehead doll! The dolls, which stood 7.5” tall, were created by NRECA. They sold out so quickly that they’re now a collector’s item.

    Today, Electric Cooperatives use Willie’s image on marketing materials, on products, and even in safety publications and videos. It’s rumored that Willie will make another big comeback in 2017, so keep an eye out for him here and on other Cooperative publications.

    Learn More About Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives
    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • Co-op Connections: Saving You Money Every Day

    Your Missouri Electric Cooperative works hard to save you money. From energy efficiency tips to home energy audits; budget billing programs to capital credits, your Cooperative offers a wide variety of economic services to rural communities statewide.

    One of the many economic services your Cooperative offers — and one that you might not be using to its full potential — is called Co-op Connections.

    Co-op Connection is a free membership card that gives you discounts on everyday expenses. What kind of expenses? That depends on where in the state you live (some of the card’s discounts or location-dependent), but in general, Co-op Connections gives you discounts on travel, dining, and even household and pet expenses.

    Keep reading to learn more about the local and national discounts available to you as a Member-Owner of a rural Missouri Electric Cooperative.

    Local Discounts

    Your Co-op Connections card can score you great every day deals. Bring your card with you when you go wine tasting in Ste. Genevieve for 10% off at Charleville Vineyard and 15% off at Crown Valley Winery. Live in Joplin? Take 50% off at Slane’s Wedding Gowns, Etc, or save on pet vaccines, boarding, and other pet-related services in the area.

    Save $500 off of your first month’s rent at Ashland Villa assisted living facility in Ashland, or stop by My Spa for 25% off of any spa service. Rainbow Variety in Butler offers 50% off ready-to-go soy candles, and Dairy Queen gives Co-op Connections members a 15% discount on your order.

    National Discounts

    On a larger, national scale, your Co-op Connections card can make it less expensive to visit select Legoland Resorts, or it can save you 20% on Sealy bedding. It can make your rental car 25% less expensive or earn you 20% off at 1-800-Flowers.com. Your Coop Connections Card can even get you a 20% discount on the best available rates at Howard Johnson.

    If you need to upgrade to LEDs for your home or business, LEDUSA.com will give you special discounts and free shipping on orders over $75 when you enter the group number on your Co-op Connections Card. And if you’re just looking for a little local fun, TicketMonster has discounts up to 30% off of sporting events, concerts, theme parks, and movies.

    Healthy Savings Discounts

    As if the discounts your Co-op Connections card offers on local and national goods and services isn’t incentive enough to get your card, did you know that you can also get discounts on prescriptions medicine using your card? Your card helps you save money and live healthier through discounts on dental, vision, hearing, lab work & imaging, and even chiropractic visits. You can print your Co-op Connections card and find providers right here.

    Learn More

    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Learn more about the Co-Op Connections Card by liking it on Facebook and following it on Twitter.

  • The Rural Electric Dictionary

    Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives advocate every day for the state and national policies that will help us to provide you, our Member-Owners, with safe, reliable, and affordable electric power. What follows is a list of key terms and phrases that you might hear us use when we’re talking about energy legislation.

    We hope this index of terms will help you to understand some of the nuances of energy policy, and that it will make you more likely to feel comfortable advocacy for your own community’s electricity needs. 

    Base Load Resources: According to Wikipedia, “Base load power sources are power stations which can consistently generate the electrical power needed to satisfy minimum demand (source).” Nuclear power and coal power are examples of base load resources.

    Coal Power: Coal generates electricity when it is burned. Coal power is reliable, plentiful, and inexpensive, but environmental and health concerns have put the use of coal power in steady decline.

    Distributed Energy: “Distributed energy resources (DER) are smaller power sources that can be aggregated to provide power necessary to meet regular demand (source).”

    Distribution Expenses: The costs your Cooperative incurs as part of providing you, our Member-Owners, with reliable, affordable power. Examples of distribution expenses include administration, operations, maintenance, depreciation, interest, and margins.

    Demand Costs: Your Cooperative’s overhead costs of owning and maintaining energy transmission and generation facilities.

    Grid: The interconnected network that Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives use to deliver electric power to you, our Member-Owners. The grid includes power generation stations, transmission lines, demand centers, and distribution lines (source).

    Hydropower: Clean, renewable electricity that’s produced by moving water.

    Intermittent Renewable Energy: A renewable energy source, like solar power, that isn’t always available. Solar power is only able to be generated, for example, when the sun is shining.

    Kilowatt Hour: A measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power consumption of 1,000 watts for 1 hour.

    Kilowatt Hour Charge: The Kilowatt Hour Charge on your power bill is made up of three parts — energy (kilowatt hour), demand (kilowatt), and distribution system expenses. The majority of revenue needed to cover your Cooperative’s distribution costs comes from you bill’s kilowatt hour charge.

    Member Charge: The Member Charge is a fixed fee on your monthly electric bill that helps your Cooperative recover a small amount of the fixed distribution costs of serving you, including expenses like administration, operations, and maintenance.

    Net Metering: Net metering is a process that enables Missouri’s Electric Cooperative Member-Owners with a solar or wind system on their home or business to export power that is in excess of their immediate on-site needs. If a Member-Owner generates more power than he or she purchases from your Cooperative during the monthly billing period, your Cooperative issues the Member-Owner a credit.

    Nuclear Power: Nuclear power is a base load power resource that provides continuous (not intermittent) electricity that is generated at nuclear power plants.

    Peak Load: The times of day when you, our Member-Owners use the most electricity. Across Missouri, our Member-Owners are “on peak” during the hottest and coldest summer and winter months, and at the hours of the day when your family is home from school or work.

    Renewable Energy: Renewable energy is energy that comes from a source that isn’t depleted when the energy is used. Examples of renewable energy include hydro, solar and wind.

    Solar Array: When solar panels are wired together, they’re called a solar array. Solar arrays produce intermittent, clean, renewable energy.

    Take Control & Save: An initiative of your Missouri Electric Cooperatives that helps you, our Member-Owners to save power (and money) at home and at work. Learn more here.

    Time of Use (TOU) Rates: TOU rates are variable rates. Using TOU rates, you’re charged for the power that you use at the time of the day (on peak or off peak) that you use it.

    Wind Energy: Clean, renewable electricity that’s produced by wind turbines, better known as windmills.

    Have questions about words or phrases that you don’t see on our list? Leave a comment or drop us a note on Facebook, and we can add new definitions to this list!

    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.