Everything listed under: Regulation

  • 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.

     

  • Blackouts & Brownouts: Why Do They Matter To Me?

    Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives work hard to ensure that you have access to reliable, affordable energy. Blackouts and brownouts can still occur, though, and they can have negative effects on your health, home, and business.

    Read more: Blackouts & Brownouts: What’s the Difference?

    Our Member-Owners rely on electrical power for commerce, computing, food and medicine refrigeration, and more. A power outage or brownout — especially if it’s prolonged — could be a major inconvenience or even pose as a danger for your family. Here are several examples of why blackouts and brownouts matter to you.

    Blackouts and Brownouts Can Affect Electric Motors

    Electric motors are designed to run at a specific voltage, and changes in voltage affect the way the motor runs. Electric motors can overheat and burn out, resulting in expensive repairs and lost production time.

    What to do: If at all possible, electric motors should be turned off and unplugged during power surges and sags.

    Blackouts and Brownouts Can Affect Computers and Computer Networks

    Blackouts and brownouts can damage or disrupt computer systems and networks. Networks can be forced offline, cash registers can fail to function properly, and entire computer systems can go down. Individual machines can suffer hard drive failures, as well.

    What to do: If at all possible, power down and then unplug (simply turning them off will not protect them) your computer and other valuable electronics during electrical storms, other severe weather, and brownout conditions. 

    Blackouts and Brownouts Affects Refrigeration

    Refrigeration is affected by power outages. If power is out or altered for an extended time, refrigerated foods will go bad, which means an increased potential for food-borne illness. Similarly, prescription medications like insulin that require refrigeration may have to be thrown out after a power outage. 

    Blackouts and Brownouts Affect Your Home’s Water Supply

    Sewage plants usually have emergency power generators, so most municipalities will be able to treat their wastewater during outages. Homes that use electric water pumps, however, may not be able to run toilets, sinks, or showers during power outages.

    What to do: If you know an outage is coming, fill a bathtub with clean water. Keep a supply of bottled water on hand in case of emergency.

    Blackouts and Brownouts Can Cause Extreme Weather Exposure

    Power outages are most likely to occur during times of peak usage and severe weather. That means that the hottest summer days are one of the most likely times for our Member-Owners to experiences outages. Another time when you’re likely to experience an outage is during severe weather like thunderstorms and winter storms.

    When power flickers or goes out completely during summer’s hottest days or winter’s coldest ones, you may be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Your Cooperatives work nonstop to get power back on during those times, but they can still be dangerous — especially for elderly or ill Member-Owners.

    What to do: Seek shelter with friends, family, or community organizations that are able to provide heat in winter or air conditioning in summer. Keep doors and windows shut in winter to hold warm air in your house, and close blinds and shades in summer to keep the sunlight out and the temperatures down. Dress appropriately for the season, and especially in summer, drink plenty of water.

    Blackouts and Brownouts Can Affect Emergency and Medical Care

    Blackouts and brownouts can affect emergency and medical care in a variety of different ways. Most hospitals and other medical treatment facilities have backup generators for electric power during outages, so it’s uncommon for a hospital to be completely without power.

    Medical centers are likely to see a higher influx of patients during outages though; especially during prolonged ones in seasons with extreme temperatures. Prolonged power outage can result in more temperature-related illness like heat stroke and hypothermia. Outages can also cause increased traffic accidents when stop lights and street lights stop working properly.

    What to do: Be prepared for longer wait times and for hospitals and other treatments centers to have longer lines than usual. 

    Unfortunately, blackouts and brownouts will happen from time to time, but Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives work hard to make sure that they are few and far between. We know that power is vital for your businesses, your farms, and your families in Missouri, so we make reliable, affordable access to electricity our top priority all year long.

    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives 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 Forbes.com 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.

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