• Save Money on Your Summer Electric Bill By Making Small Changes

    Does Missouri’s hot and humid summer weather have you sweating this month’s electric bill? You’re not alone. Across the state, Missouri Electric Cooperative Member-Owners use air conditioning to drop the humidity and cool the air, but you also worry about how much your air conditioning will cost when your electric bill comes in.

    Air conditioning is a necessity for your family on Missouri’s hottest summer days, so your Cooperatives are here to tell you how you can save as much money as possible on your summer electric bill without turning off your air. 

    Why Cold Air Escapes Your Home

    Air temperature naturally wants to balance itself out. That’s why frigid air rushes into your house when you open your back door in the winter, and it’s why cold air escapes your home when that same door is opened in the summer.

    The bigger the difference is between inside and outside temperatures, the faster the air moves. The faster the air moves, the less efficient your cooling system becomes. The U.S. Department of Energy website explains that the reverse is also true: the less difference there is between inside and outside temperatures, the more efficient your air conditioning will be.

    “A higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning,” according to the Department’s website.

    Turning your thermostat up just a little bit can make your home noticeably more energy efficient. Boone Electric Cooperative says that turning it up just one degree can save eight percent on your electric, but he higher you can comfortably keep your thermostat set during the summer, the more cost savings your family will see (source).

    Close the Gap Between Indoor & Outdoor Temperatures

    The Department of Energy recommends that you keep your indoor temperature as close as you can to outside temperatures. It also recommends that you set your thermostat to different temperatures when you’re home and away:

    “Set your programmable thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer and raise the setpoint when you’re sleeping or away from home,” the Department explains. “…the smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be (source).”

    Missouri’s summertime heat and humidity can feel miserable, but opening your monthly electric bill doesn’t have to feel the same way. Follow these energy efficiency tips to save money on your summer electric bill, and learn more about how Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • Missouri Member-Owners’ Peak Load

    Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives work every day to provide you with affordable, reliable electric power. To do that, we embrace a diverse power supply that includes coal, natural gas, wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

    Nearly 70% of your Cooperative’s energy comes from baseload resources like coal and gas, but Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives rely on clean energy sources, too. In fact, it’s that diversity of baseload and clean energy sources that makes it possible for us to provide you with the safe, reliable, and affordable energy you’ve come to expect from us.

    You see, when we talk about how solar, wind, and hydroelectric power help diversify our power supply, we can’t ignore the fact that the energy from a solar array or wind turbine doesn’t coincide with the times of the day when you, our Member-Owners, need the most electricity.

    The times of the day when you use the most electricity are called your peak load. Across the state, our Member-Owners are “on peak” during the hottest and coldest summer and winter months at the hours of the day when your families are home from school and work.

    Summer Peak Load
    Missouri’s peak summer load occurs during the hottest months of the year: June, July, and August. During those months, Missourians are “on peak” from about 2:00 p.m. through around 10:00 p.m. These are the hottest hours of the day during the hottest months of the year, so it’s not surprising that you and your family are among thousands of Member-Owners who crank up the A/C (and use a lot of electricity) to stay cool.

    Winter Peak Load
    Missouri’s peak winter load comes during the coldest months of the year: December, January, and February. Each day, Missouri Member-Owners like you reach your peak electric usage early in the morning and late in the evening. Specifically, Missouri is “on peak” in the winter from about 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and again from about 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

    Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives know that reliable, affordable energy — especially on the hottest summer afternoons and the coldest winter mornings and nights — is your highest priority. But we also know that there’s value in renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

    Understanding peak load helps your Missouri Electric Cooperatives to see exactly where renewables like wind and solar can — and can’t — help meet Missouri’s greatest need for electric power.

    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 EPA’s Clean Power Plan

    In June 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented the United States Clean Power Plan (CPP) as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. If successful, the CPP will reduce carbon emissions in the United States 32% below 2005 levels by the year 2030.

    According to the EPA, “the Clean Power Plan is a historic and important step in reducing carbon pollution from power plants that takes real action on climate change (source).”

    The CPP’s historic relevance isn’t entirely positive, though. It’s the first-ever federal regulation on carbon emission from power plants, and thanks to federal overreach, it might also be the country’s most debated environmental ruling ever.

    Tracy Lester, Professor of Environmental Law and Emerging Technology at University of Houston, Texas, said in a blog post that the CPP rules, “are already probably the most aggressively contested environmental rules in U.S. history (source).”

    Missouri is among the dozens of states, coal companies, electric companies, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that have filed or joined existing lawsuits against the EPA. The CPP would cost Missouri consumers an estimated 6 billion dollars — or one-quarter of the state’s annual budget — to implement. That’s not a cost the Missouri Electric Cooperative Member-Owners can afford to pay.

    According to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster:

    “Assuming the EPA’s final compliance standard is even possible, it’s clearly not affordable. . .Not affordable for senior citizens in small towns across Missouri, where Social Security is often the primary source of income. . . Not affordable for Missouri’s economy, whose major competitive advantage in the fight for jobs is our significantly lower energy costs relative to other states (source).”

    On February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the Clean Power Plan pending judicial review. That’s a step in the right direction for Missouri, but your Missouri Electric Cooperatives know that it’s not enough. We will continue to advocate at the state and federal level for policies that enable us to provide you, our Member-Owners with the reliable, affordable power that you’ve come to expect.

    You can 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.

  • What is a GFCI?

    Even if you don’t recognize the name GFCI, you’ve probably seen GFCI outlets in — among other places — hotel bathrooms. GFCIs are the electrical outlets that have the little red “reset” button on them, and they’re most commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, and other rooms with a water source. If you’ve ever wondered what these “reset” outlets are or why they’re important, keep reading.

    What Does GFCI Stand For?

    GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. A GFCI is a special kind of electrical outlet that can help prevent electric shock in a way a “normal” outlet can’t. According to the Electrical Fire Safety International website, “GFCIs have saved thousands of lives over the last three decades.”

    To better understand how a GFCI works, let’s break it down a bit.

    What is a Ground Fault?

    Think back to middle school science classes and you’ll remember that electricity always wants to find its way back to the Earth (the ground) as quickly and efficiently as it can.

    Your home is wired so that electricity can find its way back to the ground along an intended, safely wired circuit. A ground fault occurs when, for whatever reason (accidental or intentional), that circuit is broken and the electricity leaves its intended path.

    When electricity leaves its intended path, it will use anything — water, metal, or a human body — to get itself to the ground as quickly and efficiently as it can. This can result in electric shock or even electrocution.

    How a GFCI Works

    A GFCI recognizes when electricity has left its intended path (circuit). In a fraction of a second, the GFCI will trip the power to that outlet, preventing an electrical current from flowing through an unintended path (like a human body) to reach the ground. In other words, a properly-installed GFCI can save a life.

    Where Should GFCIs Be Used?

    The National Electric Code published the first GFCI regulations in 1971. Since that time, those regulations have expanded considerably to include GFCI regulations for residential, commercial, and other property types.

    Generally speaking, GFCIs should be used in any location on your property where there’s a water source. Outlets in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room should all be GFCI protected. Outdoor outlets (even those under the eve of your home) and any outlet where a power tool is likely to be plugged in should also be protected by a GFCI.

    Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives encourages you to consider hiring a licensed, bonded, and insured electrician if you’d like to install GFCI outlets in your home according to the National Electric Code.

    For more electrical safety recommendations from you Missouri Electric Cooperatives, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • Missouri Invention Could Prevent Dock Shock

    The Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) deaths of three swimmers at Lake of the Ozarks over Fourth of July weekend in 2012 made national news. The tragedies also inspired Missouri inventors to put products on the market that help alert swimmers to the presence of electricity in the water around Missouri’s docks.

    The Dock Lifeguard system is one of those inventions. It’s an audio-visual alarm that lets dock owners and swimmers know if electricity is present in an approximate forty-foot radius of the dock where the device is installed.

    The system can help alert dock owners and swimmers if unsafe conditions — like faulty wiring or flood damage — are present, but it isn’t designed to replace dock inspections or other safety precautions.

    What is Electric Shock Drowning (ESD)?

    Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) occurs when even a low level of AC current goes through a person’s body while he or she is in the water. Even a tiny amount of electricity can paralyze a victim, causing him or her to drown.

    According to Ohio-based news station WHIO, “it only takes a small amount of leaking AC to incapacitate or electrocute a person. As small as 15 milliamps can cause paralysis, 100 milliamps — or a third of the amount of electricity needed to light a 40-watt light bulb — can kill a person in seconds (source).”

    Water conducts electricity, so Missouri’s waterways can take on any electrical charge that they are exposed to. The water near docks is especially dangerous because electricity enters the water through boats and docks, both.

    How Does Electricity Enter Missouri’s Waters?

    Boats can leak electricity into the water when they’re out in the lake, and also when they’re docked and charging. When several boats are in the same area, a dangerous electrical field can occur in the water that makes the water incredibly unsafe for swimmers.

    Docks can pass electricity into the water, too. Faulty and damaged electrical equipment including exposed wiring, improper wiring, and absent or malfunctioning ground fault protectors are just a few ways that electricity can leak from a dock, making the surrounding waters dangerous for swimming.

    What Can Missourians Do to Prevent Electric Shock Drowning?

    There are several things that Missouri boaters and dock owners can do to keep Missouri’s waters safer for swimmers.

    Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives strongly encourage you to hire a qualified, bonded, and insured electrician to do any and all wiring and electrical work along your shoreline and on your dock. Always ensure that your dock has a ground fault protector, and discourage swimming on your dock or anywhere on the water where several boats are present at the same time.

    We suggest having your dock inspected annually by your fire protection department, and that you visually inspect your property on at least a monthly basis. Anytime there’s been bad weather, choppy waters, or flooding, you should re-check your dock’s wiring, and if you have any doubts at all about your dock’s electrical safety, you should shut down power and contact a professional electrician.

    If you own a boat, you should test it, too. According to, $150 will pay for the tools you need to test your boat for electricity leakage:

    “Figuring out if your boat has a problem requires two specialized tools — a basic circuit tester and a clamp meter — that together cost about $150. If you keep your boat in a freshwater marina, the marina owner should have both and be using them to check the boats on their docks (source).”

    Extra Peace Mind for Missourians

    Even if you’ve followed all of these precautions, it’s still possible for electricity to enter the water near your dock from leakages on neighboring docks and boats. Dock Lifeguard and similar products can give you extra peace of mind, alerting you to the presence of electricity in the water around your Missouri dock.

    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. You can learn more about Dock Lifeguard here.

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