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  • Electric Cooperatives Continue Mission to Light Up Bolivia

    Volunteers from electric cooperatives in Missouri will continue the effort to light up Bolivia this winter through a project called Brighter Bolivia. The electrification project is made possible through a partnership between the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s International Program.

    The project will take place Dec. 3-15 in a mountainous region of Bolivia in the state of Cochabamba at Chapisirca. The region has a poverty rate of 60 percent and it is estimated that 285,000 people here do not have electricity.

    Recently the Brighter Bolivia team from Missouri was selected from among 14 volunteers at electric cooperative systems. Those selected for the project are:

    • Casey Schwartze, Three Rivers Electric Cooperative, Linn
    • Danny Derry, Grundy Electric Cooperative, Trenton
    • Eric Peeper, NW Electric Power Cooperative, Cameron
    • Jared Kelley, SEMO Electric Cooperative, Sikeston
    • Jonathan Schussler, Osage Valley Electric Cooperative, Butler
    • Tim Gilbert, Boone Electric Cooperative, Columbia

    Two alternates have been selected to step in if someone is unable to go unexpectedly. They are Brian Robbins, Barry Electric Cooperative, Cassville, and Jacob Fain, Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, Kearney

    Electric cooperatives in Missouri have sent volunteers to other countries in the past. This is the second time the state has made a coordinated group effort to bring electricity to unserved areas. In August 2016, a team traveled to Riberalta in the Amazon region of Bolivia to build power lines that now bring electricity to two small villages.

    Other electric co-op linemen have volunteered to work in Haiti, Guatemala and South Sudan. Those who have volunteered in the past call it a “life-changing experience.”

    A local electric cooperative, Cooperativa Rural De Electrificación, will assist the volunteer linemen from Missouri on this project by setting the 70 poles. Six volunteer electric cooperative linemen, along with team leader Craig Moeller from the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, will build 3.5 miles of power lines to serve Bolivians who currently live without electricity.

    Much of the work will be done at 13,000 feet, presenting a challenge for the Missouri linemen.

    Worldwide, more than 1.6 billion people live without electricity. The International Program seeks to brighten the lives of people in these developing nations by building power lines and donating equipment and materials that are no longer needed by U.S. electric cooperatives.

    Past experience with these projects shows that electricity lets children attend school on a regular basis. It raises the standard of living for the entire family by lightening the burden for adults and providing running water, refrigeration and sanitation previously unavailable.

    It also saves money for families that relied on expensive generators for just a few hours of power.

    The original purpose of the International Program when it started in 1962 was to share lessons learned by U.S. electric cooperatives with those in developing nations. Over more than 50 years, the program has brought a better life to 110 million people.

    You can learn more about the NRECA International Program at www.electric.coop/our-mission/international-electrification/.

    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.

  • Eight Surefire Ways for Summer Savings on Your Electric Bill

    When the dog days of summer are in full swing, Missourians normally experience some of the hottest weather of the year. It’s only natural to crank down the thermostat of your air conditioning unit to create a cooler home or business.

    However, keeping your air conditioning unit on high during the summer months can also cost a pretty penny.

    Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives want to help offset these costs, so we’ve rounded up tips and tricks that can keep your home or business comfortable without breaking the bank. By balancing air conditioning usage and our suggestions below, our Member-Owners have the potential to save on your electric bill!

    Change Air Filters Regularly

    Keeping up with the maintenance of your air conditioner, like changing the air filters regularly, will ensure that your unit is running efficiently. If the air filters are dirty your unit will work extra to run, adding to electric usage. According to Engery.gov, replacing a dirty air filter can reduce energy usage by 5% to 15%. Also, it’s recommended to replace (or clean depending on the type of unit you have) every month during the summer months (source).

    Use Blinds and Curtains

    Keeping blinds and curtains up when the sun is shining will heat up your room. Therefore, it will cause your air conditioning unit to work overtime adding unnecessary electric usage to your bill. Keep your blinds and curtains drawn to maintain the temperature in your house. If you’re wanting to bask in the beautiful Missouri sunshine, be sure you do it outside, so you can cool off quickly when coming back home!

    Keep Doors Tightly Closed.

    In addition to insulating your home with blinds and curtains, make sure your entryways are tightly closed to avoid cool air from leaving your house and hot air from entering. Not only will proper insulation keep the inside cool, it will help in the colder months when you don’t want freezing air to invade your space. No matter what the temperature is like outside, it’s beneficial to make sure the door behind you is secure and make sure the kids don’t leave the door open when it’s time to play outside.

    Use Fans to Help Circulate Air.

    Give your air conditioning unit a break and turn on the fans in your home. With your home properly insulated, the fans in your home, whether they are on the ceiling, table top, or standing fans, can keep you and your family comfortable in the various rooms of your home without using too much electricity. Fans are a cost-effective way to keep cool in the summer. However, you should turn them off when you leave a room!

    Use Natural Ventilation. 

    Not all Missouri evenings are too hot to handle! For those nights when the temperature drops, open your windows for the nice natural ventilation. The breeze will feel refreshing and since the sun is already down, it won’t heat up the inside of your home. This is a perfect tactic to save on electricity for the end of summer as we welcome fall especially.

    Make Sure Unused Electric Items are OFF.

    Did you know that you’re still using electricity when some of your appliances are plugged in despite them being turned off? Think about the items in your home that has lights on constantly or digital clocks on them (we’re looking at you microwave!). Instead of constantly unplugging and replugging, utilize a surge protector to turn off those draining appliances to save on the power sucks.

    Disconnect During Peak Hours.

    Not only will limiting your electric usage during peak hours save the money in your wallet, it’s also a chance to disconnect and come together as a family. Turn off the widescreen TV. Save that extra load of laundry for the late night or early morning. While you’re at it, use cold water because that will keep you from using the water heater in addition to your cleaning appliances. Small steps like these to disconnecting and strategic usage can save you money.

    Invest in Energy Efficient Additions.

    Programmable thermostats, new HVAC units, new water heaters, LED lighting, and more updated technologies will allow you more efficiency and control (sometimes from your mobile device!) of the cooling of your home or business. Your Cooperatives are here to help and might even be able to offer rebates!


    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.

  • The Life of a Lineman

    They wake before the sun, pour steaming cups of coffee, and kiss their family goodbye. After swinging by the office to get the day’s orders, they climb into their trucks and head out. Our lineworkers form a solid team with one job: to deliver safe, reliable electricity. But that job can change in a million ways when rough weather steps in.

    We often take power—and the men and women who provide it—for granted. Let’s take a moment and stand in their boots. Linemen have to work safely, smart, and efficiently—all while 40 feet in the air wearing sturdy, thick rubber gloves. On a typical day, lineworkers maintain electrical distribution lines or build service to new homes and businesses in Missouri. They have a lot on their plates. But when our dispatch center calls crews with a problem, everything else takes a backseat.

    Power restoration takes precedence on a lineworker’s to-do list. These brave men are always on call. We have crews standing by to serve you 24 hours a day, in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning, weekends and holidays.

    Can you imagine getting a call at 3 a.m. telling you to work outside during bad weather? Not many people are willing to face storms. Our lineworkers face harsh elements daily, all to serve you.

    Lineworkers also focus on safety; the lives of coworkers are on the line. Job safety is important to everyone, no matter your occupation. But for lineworkers, there can be no slip ups or careless actions. Mistakes can cost a limb or life. That’s one of the reasons lineman form a brotherhood. When you put your life in the hands of co-workers every day, they become more than colleagues. They’re family.

    That sense of family extends to electric co-ops across the nation. One of our principles is Cooperation Among Cooperatives. We help other co-ops in their time of need, and they extend that service to us, too. It’s reassuring to know if a severe storm strikes, a national team of lineworkers stand ready to answer the call.

    To be ready to respond no matter the situation or weather conditions, linemen are highly trained. At Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives lineworkers go through regular training to ensure they can work safely with various kinds of equipment. The equipment gets tested regularly, too.

    These highly skilled men light our homes and businesses every day. They endure harsh weather and long hours, all to make our lives better. Today (and every day), please take a moment to thank them Our lineworkers are the heart of the Co-op Nation, proud and strong.

  • Electricity Remains a Good Value

    In today’s world, you won’t find many items that cost less than $5. You can purchase a gallon of milk, a couple gallons of gas or a Big Mac® meal from McDonald’s. But did you know that an average day’s worth of electricity costs less than $5?

    Even in our country’s shifting energy climate, electricity remains a good value. In fact, electricity has the lowest cost per day of any of the items listed above. And not all of those items are necessary for daily life!

    As your statewide #RuralElectric association, we urge you to think about your daily necessities (electricity and gasoline, to name a couple), and then think about the cost of the special treats we allow ourselves to purchase on a weekly basis (maybe even on a daily basis for some items!). We don’t often question the cost of a Big Mac® meal – it costs over $1 more to buy a Big Mac® meal than it does to purchase a day’s worth of power. And yet, we frequently become upset if our electricity rates rise.

    It makes sense; we have become increasingly reliant upon electricity. Electricity has, for many of us, gone from a luxury commodity to a necessity and an expectation. We expect the lights to come on when we flip the switch, and we expect our power to stay on during the best and worst conditions. How else would we keep our food fresh, our homes cool in the summer or warm in the winter? It is easy to cut a Big Mac® out of your spending routine here and there to save a few dollars. But we cannot simply cut electricity out of our budgets if times get tough or we decide that we want to scale back our spending in order to save.

    Perhaps that is why it is so upsetting to us when our rates increase, even if only in small increments. It is nearly impossible for us to think about what our lives would be like if we did not have electricity. If at times it doesn’t seem that electricity is affordable, remember – even as the demand for electricity grows – annual cost increases still remain low, especially when compared to other consumer goods such as medical care, education, gasoline and, yes, even Big Macs®. Electricity is still a great bargain. And also remember this, your local electric cooperative is committed to making sure that you and your family always have safe, reliable and affordable electric service in your home.

    So the next time you crave a Big Mac®, remember your electric bill, and think about what a great deal you’re getting for your dollar!


    Source: Statista.com, 2014. Big Mac® is a registered trademark of McDonald’s Corporation. McDonald’s Corporation does not endorse or sponsor this material.

  • Teach Your Children Well About Electrical Safety

    Electricity is a dynamic power source. We live our lives surrounded by it, but sometimes we forget just how dangerous electricity can be. Many home electrical fires, injuries and electrocutions can be prevented when we understand and practice electrical safety. This is especially true for our youngest Cooperative members. As your child’s first and most important teacher, perhaps it’s time to have a talk with your sons and daughters to reinforce those lessons.

    Start at an early age, teaching them about the physical dangers associated with electrical components and how to handle electrical plugs, outlets, switches and other devices. Keep in mind, talking to your children about electrical safety should also include fun activities and facts about the basics—what is electricity, the need to respect its power and how to use it efficiently as they study, work and play.

    As we all know, kids will be kids. Getting them to show interest in some of these lessons won’t be easy. Just remember that what your children learn from you today can be a lifesaver later when they encounter potential hazards like downed power lines in their path, play hide-and-seek behind those big metal electrical boxes in the neighborhood or are tempted to clamber up a utility pole.

    Gather your youngsters around the kitchen table or on the front porch—some of the best teachable moments about electrical safety can happen in and around your home. Look around. There are plenty of opportunities to demonstrate safety that are as close as the electrical outlet on your living room wall. For example, show young children how plugs work, and let them know that even if they are curious about the slits of an electrical outlet, nothing else should be placed inside. Each year about 2,400 children end up in the emergency room after suffering injuries caused by inserting objects—paper clips, pens, screws, nails, forks, hair pins, coins and more—into electrical receptacles. That’s about seven children a day who sustain injuries ranging from electric shock to burns.

    But this isn’t the only electrical mishap that impacts youngsters. Our reliance on electronics and gadgets have left both youngsters and their parents at risk when they overcrowd electrical outlets, continue to use frayed wires, place devices near liquids or leave electronics on for long periods of time.

    Supplement your lessons at home with resources galore; including those that may be provided by your local Cooperative. The Electrical Safety Foundational International (www.esfi.org) is among the many national organizations offering free kits, videos and interactive online tools that make learning and practicing electrical safety fun for you and your children. And as they grow older, remember to keep teaching them about the power of electricity and how to use it safely.

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