Employees from the information technology and engineering departments, as well as Horry Electric’s office manager attended the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s TechAdvantage technology showcase this past week. TechAdvantage ran in conjunction with NRECA’s Annual Meeting, which was attended by trustees, the CEO and the CFO.
TechAdvantage: Showcasing Latest Tech Solutions
Story by Derrill Holly/ ECT Staff Writer/ Published 3/6/14
Visitors to TechAdvantage got a chance to see, touch and, in some cases, try out some of the gear essential to operating an electric cooperative in the 21st century.
“We’ve got 342 exhibitors representing more than 130 categories of products and services,” Eric Commodore, an NRECA meeting and event planner, said of the March 3-6 show.
Commodore was one of several association staffers who devoted much of the past 15 months to the annual product exhibition for electric cooperatives, which ran in conjunction with the NRECA annual meeting. Meeting rooms located near the exhibit hall provided attendees with an opportunity to explore the trade show as they traveled to forums and other meetings.
“Exhibitors filled more than 67,000 square feet inside of Nashville’s Music City Center,” said Commodore. “One exhibitor even used an unmanned aerial vehicle to attract people to their booth.”
Products on display included substation equipment, vehicles, tools, uniforms and protective gear. Environmental consultants, software vendors and energy audit service providers were also represented.
“Operations staff and purchasing managers could find the products and services they need here at TechAdvantage,” said Robin Slye, NRECA’s director of meeting and event planning. “We also wanted directors and other decision makers to see the advanced equipment and technology that can help keep their co-ops running smoothly.”
More than two dozen NRECA staffers engaged members and other visitors to NRECA’s TechAdvantage booth. Operating units represented in NRECA’s 2,400 square-foot space included the Cooperative Research Network, the Cooperative Benefits Administrators and the NRECA International Foundation.
“The NRECA booth provided our members with an excellent opportunity to become more familiar with the value the national association delivers every day,” said Jim Bausell, NRECA’s senior vice president of communications. “We had key staffers on hand to fully explain and answer any questions about a wide array of programs and services.”
Diane Skipper Lewis of Aynor was named the 2014 Rural Lady of the Year at a luncheon Friday, Feb. 28 at Horry Electric Cooperative. The wife of Ralph Lewis, she is the 36th recipient of the honor, formally named the Miss Leo G. Knauff Leadership Award, which recognizes “a lady whose efforts have made a significant difference in the farming community of Horry County.”
The guest speaker at the Rural Lady luncheon was Brooke Mosteller, Miss South Carolina 2013. Mosteller is a Mount Pleasant native and a University of South Carolina law student.
Her platform is helping high school students apply and go to college, especially students with no one in their family who has ever been to a university. Her efforts have led to the adoption of College Application Day around the state. “A college graduate earns about $1.2 million over a lifetime than a high school graduate,” Mosteller tells students at participating schools.
Mosteller also supports a statewide texting-while-driving ban. “Texting while driving has become the leading cause of teen death, surpassing drinking and driving,” Mosteller noted. Miss SC also entertained the Rural Lady crowd with an a cappella rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Member economic participation is one of the Cooperative’s Seven Principles. It’s part of what makes being a member of an electric cooperative different from being a customer of another type of utility.
It’s a Cooperative Difference that Adds Up.
You do the math.
You are a member of Horry Electric Cooperative.
You pay your monthly electric bill in order to help cover the cooperative’s operating expenses.
The cooperative’s operating expenses are subtracted from money that is collected throughout the year.
Based on your patronage and the decision of the board of trustees, your capital credits are retired back to you.
A check, in your name, is sent to your house in April unless it is in an amount less than $10. In that case, a credit is applied to your bill.
Watch for the April 2014 edition of South Carolina Living for news about the 2014 disbursement of capital credits.
By Steven Johnson/ECT Staff Writer; Published March 3, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson called on electric cooperative leaders to forge a new legacy for the co-op movement by mobilizing their 42 million members to advance the cause of reliable, affordable electricity.
Speaking at the 72nd NRECA Annual Meeting, Emerson challenged co-op managers, directors and staffers to swell the ranks of the Action.coop campaign and bring what she called “common sense” to federal energy policy.
“This is a fight for our survival, and, by God, we are going to put everything we have into it,” she said March 3 at the Music City Center. “We turned the lights on. We keep the lights burning. And now, our goal is to make the light bulb come on in Washington.”
Delivering a serious yet upbeat message, Emerson said co-ops face a great challenge in dealing with Environmental Protection Agency regulations that target the nation’s fuel mix.
But co-ops’ will to meet that challenge is even greater, Emerson added, as she asked attendees to enlist 10 people each in Action.coop when they return to their communities. Action.coop already is responsible for 284,500 messages to EPA, she said.
“Our challenge is set: Tell the EPA what climate regulations will do to our families, our businesses and our communities. And it doesn’t matter if they don’t like our story because at least they will hear our story. And, wow, do we have a story to tell. Cooperatives work,” Emerson said.
Emerson spoke on the first day of the three-day annual meeting, which organizers estimated will attract 9,600 participants to activities under the theme “Co-op Nation: Strong and Proud.”
The centerpiece of the annual meeting is the March 4 business meeting, where voting delegates will review member resolutions and help to set a course for the association’s future.
Other highlights include policy briefings on key issues, director education programs, a sold-out TechAdvantage Expo of vendors and a performance by country artist Martina McBride.
In a 25-minute speech interrupted half-a-dozen times by applause, Emerson emphasized that co-ops are national leaders in energy efficiency and renewable energy, owning and purchasing more than 5.7 gigawatts of renewable capacity and 10 GW of hydropower.
“That’s more than 10 percent of the U.S. total. With one-twentieth of the generation in the U.S. and one-eighth of the energy customers, that is a remarkable achievement,” Emerson said.
Yet intermittent sources such as wind and solar cannot replace the coal-based generation that has been the backbone of the electric grid, Emerson warned.
As a result, she said, co-ops need to be heard on EPA plans that would hamstring future coal plants by requiring expensive carbon capture and storage controls that are not commercially viable. EPA plans to issue emissions standards for existing coal plants in June.
“These regulations practically mandate an increase to the cost of energy. It is wishful thinking and at great expense to our members,” she said.
Emerson said co-ops have the power to build a future in which they act as engines of community development, improve the quality of life in rural America and deliver electricity free of unreasonable restraints.
“This vision is closer than we think. This vision is within our reach. But we’re going to have to fight for it, whether we want to or not,” she said.
The March 2014 edition of South Carolina Living magazine won’t be delivered to mailboxes in Horry County until mid-month, but the local content is available online now!
- CEO Column – “Happy belated Valentine’s Day”
- Co-op Connections
- Restoring service after the storm: How it’s done and what you need to do
- Member Feature – When poles were ‘monsters’: HEC member was 12 when power came to her Horry County farm
- Member Feature – Another time and place: Lifelong farmer recalls years with ‘no electricity…no conveniences’
- Working together, we can weather any storm. We thank you for your support as we made repairs after Winter Storm Pax in February.
enLIGHTenSC, a collaborative effort between the electric cooperatives in South Carolina and the South Carolina Council on Economic Education (SC Economics), is intended to enlighten teachers on our state’s energy landscape. The lesson plans and tools on the enlightensc.org website will allow educators an opportunity to teach students about the history of electricity – how it’s generated and its effects on our environment.
“It’s so much more than just a website,” says James P. “Pat” Howle, executive vice president and CEO of Horry Electric Cooperative. “The collaborative effort includes teacher workshops throughout South Carolina in 2014 and one of them is planned for K-8 teachers in Horry County in April.”
“We’re inviting teachers to attend a free, informative one-day session at our headquarter offices on Cultra Road,” says Howle. “The session will feature enLiGHTenSC, a K-12 energy and economic education program developed for South Carolina schools and written to state standards.” Over the course of the six-hour workshop, explains Howle, attendees will be introduced to grade-specific energy lesson plans, explore the program’s website as an interactive resource, learn about the history, purpose and social implications of member-owned electric power in South Carolina and earn six credit renewal points.
Lunch will be provided.
Register today! Space is limited to 20 attendees on a first-come, first-served basis.
To secure your registration, complete the online form below and press the submit button. Then, print the form and mail it with a $25 check for deposit made payable to SC Economics. The registration fee will be returned at the end of the session to attendees. However, non-attendance will result in forfeiture of this fee.
Before a storm ever hits, Horry Electric Cooperative has already taken action to prevent outages. We take a proactive approach through a year-round process of maintaining our rights of way.
We are constantly cleaning, clearing, and trimming brush and debris away from our power lines. Why? When wind, rain, ice or snow push or weigh down trees, their limbs—sometimes the entire tree—can fall onto power lines, causing outages.
Right-of-way (ROW) maintenance helps ensure safe, reliable electric service. You have probably seen our maintenance contract crews’ vehicles with telescoping boom and saw-type cutter heads trimming trees, mowing or using chain saws to clear corridors beneath our power lines. Did you know that vegetation, trees, shrubs and brush growing too close to power lines and distribution equipment leads to approximately 15 percent of power interruptions?
Since we can’t cut our entire ROW every year, trees may grow 6 to 10 feet by the time the crews return. It’s a job that’s never done—when the crews finish trimming activities along our almost 3,000 miles of overhead distribution lines, vegetation is growing back at the starting point.
Another key reason for keeping the ROW clear is safety. Accidents happen so quickly. Kids climbing trees can be a tragedy if they touch a limb in contact with an energized line or touch the line itself. The result can be severe injury or even death. Adults also are at risk if working around lines in trees. Power lines on the Horry Electric system can carry up to 25,000 volts—even a touch can be deadly.
Trees beautify our property, help cool our homes, provide privacy screens, and even sometimes increase our property value if placed properly. Unfortunately, trees and power lines are not a good mix. Trees growing into lines can cause blinks and power outages. (Even those vines that grow so fast in spring and summer can cause “line loss,” or power lost in transmission, if the vines give the power a path to the ground.)
Before planting trees in your yard, think about how tall they may grow and how wide their branches may spread. As a rule of thumb, 25 feet of ground-to-sky clearance should be available on each side of our utility poles to give power lines plenty of space. Choose tree varieties with care and plant with power lines in mind.
Thanks for your cooperation—that’s what makes Horry Electric Cooperative work!