• How To Prevent Electric Shock Drowning

    Each year, 3,800 people die from drowning.

    Electric shock drowning occurs when an electric current escapes boats, docks and lights near marinas, shocking nearby swimmers. There are no visible signs of current seeping into water, which makes this a hidden danger. The electric shock paralyzes swimmers, making them unable to swim to safety.

    Your Missouri electric cooperatives shares important electrical safety tips for:


    • Never swim near a boat or launching ramp. Residual current could flow into the water from the boat or the marina’s wiring, potentially putting anyone in the water at risk of electric shock.
    • If you feel any tingling sensations while in the water, tell someone and swim back in the direction from which you came. Immediately report it to the dock or marina owner.

    Boat Owners

    • Ensure your boat is properly maintained and consider having it inspected annually. GFCIs and ELCIs should be tested monthly. Conduct leakage testing to determine if electrical current is escaping the vessel.
    • Use portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that are “UL- Marine Listed” when using electricity near water.
    • Regularly have your boat’s electrical system inspected by a certified marine electrician. Ensure it meets your local and state NEC, NFPA and ABYC safety codes.


    • Turn power off
    • Throw a life ring
    • Call 911

    DO NOT enter the water. You could become a victim, too.

  • Don’t Waste. Insulate!

    Properly insulating your home reduces heating and cooling costs, and improves comfort. R-values measure a material’s resistance to conductive heat flow. The higher the R-value rating, the greater the effectiveness of the insulation. Below are recommended R-values for areas of the home that should be insulated that your Missouri Electric Cooperatives wanted to share with you.


    Whether it’s made of metal or plastic (PVC), insulated ductwork protects your investment in conditioned air year-round. Minimal R-values of 4.3 are recommended for blanket-style wraps secured with tape. Insulated ductwork rated at R-6 is also available.


    There are multiple options for insulating exterior walls. Rock wool or fiberglass batts of R-13 to R-20 value are preferred behind drywall, but each inch of blown-in polyurethane foam insulation provides an R-value of 3.9.


    Whether your home has a full basement, a crawl space or an attached garage, having an insulation value of R-19 under the living space floor will help increase comfort year-round.


    Properly installed foam boards around the exterior edge of the slab of an existing home can reduce heating bills by 10 percent or more.

  • A new push for rural jobs

    by Barry Hart  | 

    One of my favorite roles during my career in rural electrification has been working to bring new jobs to my community as an economic development professional. Electric cooperatives realized early on there was no point in building power lines if the people they were built for didn’t have jobs.

    There’s a second reason why electric cooperatives work hard on economic development. Providing service to a major commercial or industrial member helps offset the low density common to rural areas. Commercial and industrial accounts add to the tax base, allowing rural communities to improve the quality of life for residents, with better schools, roads and essential services such as emergency responders and law enforcement.

    That’s why I was so happy to see our power supplier, Associated Electric Cooperative, launch a new program this year called “Power4Progress.” This innovative program is designed to reinvigorate the economic development program among Associated’s member systems in Missouri, Iowa and Oklahoma.

    Associated’s board showed its commitment to the program by funding it for five years. It sent a strong message to those in the trenches of job creation that Associated is serious about helping them help their communities.

    The need for such a program comes in the wake of dire news for many rural counties. Recently Mark Woodson, who is in charge of the economic development program at Associated, sent me a map that showed 52 out of Missouri’s 114 counties lost jobs and population since 2007. Another 25 counties gained population — but not jobs.

    It’s not surprising those two statistics follow each other. As jobs leave rural areas, so too will rural residents. Some may choose to make long commutes to find work, but for others that is not an option. It’s a downward spiral that electric cooperatives want to stop.

    The Power4Progress program is designed to offer economic development professionals the tools they need to help their communities right now. Specialized training is already underway. It includes “Basics of Site Selection,” “Principles of Community Development,” “Key Accounts Management” and “Building a Key Account Culture.”

    Lessons learned in these classes will show those attending how to make their electric cooperative a valuable business partner in the effort to attract new employers or to help existing businesses expand.

    The program includes access to the Location One Information System that can be used to list sites and buildings available to prospective businesses. Associated staff can consult with member systems that are reaching out to new prospects and can also offer research for business recruitment.

    There’s also help with one of the most valuable tools cooperatives have in their community assistance toolbox: the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, commonly called REDLGs. This USDA program funnels loans up to $1 million and grants up to $300,000 into rural projects through cooperatives.

    Over the years, REDLGs has been used for a number of vital projects in rural Missouri. Helping member cooperatives with the daunting application process will ensure it continues to put federal dollars where they can do the most good.

    I am excited to see this new emphasis on job creation from our power supplier. I can’t wait to see the results as this program works to create jobs, retain rural residents and improve the quality of life for all electric cooperative members.

    Hart is executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

  • Holiday Electrical Safety

    'Tis the season for decking the halls and lighting up the tree!

    Part of the fun and festivity of the holiday season is decorating your home with a beautiful display of electric lights. However, electrical accidents typically increase during the holiday season. 

    Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives wants all our Member-Owners to have a fun and safe holiday. So, keep in mind these important precautions to keep your season merry and bright!

    • Never throw holiday lights or other decorations into trees near power lines.
    • Do not staple or nail through light strings or electrical cords, and do not attach cords to utility poles.
    • Be especially careful when working near power lines attached to your house. Keep ladders, equipment, and yourself at least ten feet from all power lines.
    • Match plugs with outlets. Do not force a three-pronged plug into a twopronged outlet or extension cord.
    • Make sure extension cords are in good condition, are UL-approved, and rated to carry the electrical load you connect to them.
    • Do not let children or pets play with light strings or electrical decorations.
    • Cords used outdoors should be plugged into outlets equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs).
    • Avoid decorating outside on windy or wet days. Choose to decorate in favorable weather conditions and during daylight hours.
    • Always unplug lights before going to bed or leaving your home.

    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.

  • Can I Save Money By Installing a Wind Turbine?

    This question is being asked more and more as members are looking for ways to reduce energy costs. The answer is maybe, depending on many factors, and how fast you want to see a return on your investment.

    Start with energy efficiency

    Before installing a wind energy system, consider reducing your energy use by making your home more energy-efficient. Many energy efficiency measures have a faster return on investment, and the initial investment is less than that of a renewable energy system.

    Is wind energy right for me?

    If you have made your home as energy efficient as possible and now want to install a wind turbine, contact your local electric cooperative in the initial planning stages. Be sure to conduct thorough research on all aspects of the system before making the investment. Determine what your goal of installing a wind system is. Do you want to install wind energy because you believe it is the right thing to do? Or are you looking to save money? If you want to save money, look at the financial considerations first.

    Financial considerations 

    The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) indicates that in Missouri, it is difficult to buy and install a wind energy system at your home, farm or business that will “pay back” its cost (recover the investment cost through utility bill reductions during the life of the system). DNR states that in most of the United States, in order for small wind energy systems to be economically attractive:

    1. The site must have an average annual wind speed over 12 mph at 80 to 120 feet. Based on the map below, the majority of the state does not meet that requirement.

    2. Retail cost of residential electricity must be above the national average. Recent Department of Energy data reports the Missouri average at over two cents per kilowatt-hour less than the national average.

    Given the above information, the Missouri DNR states that use of small-scale wind turbines to generate electricity at homes, businesses or farms is often economically marginal, even on the most promising sites. [1]

    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

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