Stay Safe Around Downed Lines

Students get to school in a variety of ways—riding a bus, being driven by a family member, carpooling, walking, or even driving themselves. Electricity is not usually the first thing on a student’s or driver’s mind on the way to school. Yet, it is vitally important to know what to do if there is a downed line or an accident with a power pole along that journey. Here are some tips that can help keep students and those who help transport them to and from school safe.

In April 2016, CBS News reported that a Pennsylvania school bus driver asked an 11-year-old student to move a downed power line. Sadly, the boy’s hand was burned, but fortunately he was not more seriously hurt. In 2009, two Indiana teenagers, Ashley Taylor and Lee Whitaker, were in a car accident with a utility pole. Fortunately, just days earlier, these teens had seen a presentation about electrical safety at their school and had learned to stay in the car if in such a situation. Lee and Ashley’s lives were saved because they knew what to do. Severe storms, high winds, and vehicular accidents with power poles can all cause power lines to fall. Just because a power line is down does not mean that it is not carrying electricity.

While downed lines can sometimes show they are live by arcing and sparking, this is not always the case. Treat all down lines as though they are energized, and stay far away from them. Call 911 to have first responders and the utility notified of the downed power lines.

If you are in a vehicle that wrecks with a power pole, the vehicle may be charged with electricity. If this is the case and you step out of the car, you will become the electricity’s path to the ground and could be electrocuted. Stay in the vehicle, and tell others to do the same. Call 911 to have emergency and utility services notified. Do not leave your vehicle until a utility professional has told you it is safe.

The only circumstance when you should exit the vehicle is if it is on fire – which is a rare occurrence. If you must exit, jump clear of it with your feet together and without touching the vehicle and ground at the same time. Continue to “bunny hop” with your feet together to safety. Doing this will ensure that you will not have different strengths of electric current running from one foot to another.

If you come upon or witness an accident involving power lines, do not approach the accident scene. If you see someone approaching, warn them to stay away from the accident until utility professionals and emergency responders have confirmed that there are no electrical dangers.

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2020 Empowering Education Grant Application

Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative is member driven and community focused. Annually, we award Empowering Education Grants of $500 each to teachers in schools throughout the Eastern Illini service territory. Up to 40 grants are awarded. Applications need to be submitted by December 13, 2019. Review and evaluation of the applications will happen in January 2020 and teachers will be notified by the end of February.

Please complete the application online: 

2020 Empowering Education Grant Application

2020 Empowering Education Grant Application

Applicant Information


Project Description

Please do make reference to specific schools, teachers or school mascots in this section.

Application Agreement

By clicking the Submit button below, I agree that: I am a certified teacher in a K-12 school that serves Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative member families. I have the support for this project of my school principal. I have not submitted another grant application to Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative this school year. If awarded, I will use this grant for students in grades K-12. I agree to submit a report about this project if I am awarded a grant. I also agree that my name, photo, and information about the grant may be used in publications and publicity of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative without compensation to me or my team members. Applicants will be considered to agree to these terms with a submitted application


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Enjoy a movie on us!

You are invited to a member appreciation movie event at the Watseka Theatre on Monday, October 14, 2019 beginning at 5:00 p.m. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the showing of SHREK. We will provide the popcorn, small drink, and hot dog. Bring your kids, your grandchildren, or be a kid at heart and come be our guest for the evening.

Let us know your coming and how many people you’ll be bringing with you by registering here:

Thank you for registering. We look forward to seeing you at the movies on October 14.
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Halfway to Summer

Early August marks the halfway point of the calendrical summer season – although most of us view Labor Day as the end of “real” summer. (Students may view the start of school in August as the end of their summer!)

The late and wet spring and resulting delayed planting have caused many challenges in what seems to be somewhat unusual weather patterns this year. Let’s hope for a good growing season and a long, warm, and dry harvest season to lead into winter.

We recently took some time to visit our daughter in the state of Washington. I’ve included a few photos of the trip along with this article.

It is a beautiful state with a stark contrast of geography from Puget Sound in the Seattle area, to the awesome sight of Mt. Rainier in the Cascades mountain range, to the high desert conditions and minimal plant life in the east side of the state.

We were fortunate to visit Vancouver and participate in Canada Day on July 1 (their Independence Day), as well as to enjoy the traditional July 4th celebrations and fireworks in eastern Washington. We also toured Reactor B at the Hanford facility. This was the first reactor in the world to manufacture plutonium during World War II. Some of the plutonium from that site was used in the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki Japan, which effectively ended the war. It was amazing to see what was accomplished in such a short time to build a manufacturing complex with nearly 50,000 workers in the middle of a desert in eastern Washington during that time frame without computers or modern construction equipment. Many of the technological advances from that era have changed the way of life for us as compared to our grandparents’ generation and helped to shape the modern geopolitical world.

For those of you that were not able to attend our Annual meeting in early June, I did want to pass along one of the topics I discussed. As I have previously mentioned, EIEC completed a Cost of Service Study in 2018, and we are preparing for the follow-up rate study later this year. EIEC has not changed its distribution rate components since 2013. We will need to adjust our rates soon (our current 2019 budget year has no increases). We are continuing to review and analyze the cooperative’s needs and will keep you advised of any Board decisions.

The end of August brings the start of football season and cooler evenings – make sure to support your favorite local high school and college football teams.

Bob Hunzinger

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Stay Back and Stay Safe

Working with electricity can be a dangerous job, especially for lineworkers out in the field.

In fact, USA Today lists line repairers and installers among the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. That’s why for Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative safety is the number one priority. This is not empty talk. Over time, we have created a culture of putting our crews’ safety and that of the community above all else.

Our mission is to provide safe and reliable energy to you, our members. Yes, we strive to deliver electricity to you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, but equally important, we want our employees to return home safely to their loved ones. This requires ongoing focus, dedication, vigilance, and your assistance to make that happen!

Distractions can be deadly.
While we appreciate your kindness and interest in the work of our crews, we ask that you stay back and let them focus on their task at hand. Even routine work has the potential to be dangerous, and it takes their full attention and that of their colleagues, who are also responsible for the team’s safety. Distractions can have deadly consequences. If a lineworker is on or near your property during a power outage, for vegetation management or for routine maintenance, please allow them ample room to work. These small accommodations help protect our crews–– and you.

If you have a dog, try to keep it indoors while lineworkers are on or near your property. While most dogs are friendly, some are defensive of their home territory and can’t distinguish between an intruder and a utility worker.

We recognize that for your family’s safety, you want to make sure only authorized workers are on or near your property. You will recognize Eastern Illini employees by their clothing, hard hats, and the service trucks with our name and logo on them. You may also recognize our lineworkers because they live right here in our local community.

Slow down and move over.
In addition to giving lineworkers some space while they are near your property, we also ask that you move over or slow down when approaching a utility vehicle on the side of the road. This is an extra barrier of safety to help those who help all of us.

While cooperative crews and linemen work outside all year long, in the summer more projects are set in full motion: right-of-way tree trimming, pole inspection and pole replacement, power line placement, line laying and more. One of our top priorities at Eastern Illini is to bring you, our members, reliable power. These projects help ensure we can reliably deliver power to your home or business. Just as important to us is safety of both you and our employees.

When signs that indicate any type of construction ahead are placed on the side of the road, please pay attention. These are typically bright orange diamonds that say, “Utility Construction Ahead.” These signs are there not only for the workers protection, but for yours as well. If you see any of those signs, please slow down and, when possible, move over. We ask that you vacate the lane closest to the EIEC vehicle that is working near or on the side of the road.

For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. As you come up on a utility construction zone or approach EIEC employees who are trimming trees, replacing poles, or repairing damaged lines, slow down to 20 mph below the speed limit.

We understand you have places to be and are sometimes are in a hurry to get there, but simply taking the time to slow down and move over in a construction zone will ensure both you and our crews stay safe.

Our lineworkers perform an invaluable service and we care about them deeply. With your help, we can make sure they go home to their families each and every day.

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An Efficient HVAC System

Ah, summer. It has finally arrived. It’s the perfect time of year for cookouts, swimming pools, camping––it’s the ideal time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. And when it’s time to come back indoors, there’s nothing better than that cool blast you feel from your home’s air conditioning unit.

Your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system is essential to keeping your home comfortable during summer months, and if it breaks down, it’s also the most expensive equipment to repair or replace. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to lengthen the life of your HVAC system.

Change or clean filters.

Dirty filters block airflow, which can greatly decrease the efficiency of your system. The Department of Energy recommends changing or cleaning filters every month or two during the cooling season. If your unit is in constant use or is subjected to dusty conditions or pet hair, consider checking filters more frequently.

Periodically clean the HVAC unit.

Outdoor condenser coils can become clogged with pollen, dirt and small debris. Use a hose to spray the HVAC unit once each season to ensure maximum airflow. (Warning: Do not use a pressure washer as it can cause damage to the equipment.)

Clear space around the HVAC unit.

Dryer vents, falling leaves and grass left behind from the lawnmower can create buildup. Remove any debris around the HVAC unit. If you have foliage near the unit, trim it back at least 2 feet around the condenser to increase airflow.

If you want to evaluate the efficiency of your HVAC system, try this quick test. The outdoor temperature should be above 80 degrees, and you should set your thermostat well below the room temperature to ensure the system runs long enough for the test.

1. Using a digital probe thermometer, measure the temperature of the air being pulled into your HVAC filter.

2. Measure the temperature of the air blowing out of your A/C vent.

3. Subtract the A/C vent temperature from the HVAC filter temperature. You should see a difference of about 17 to 20 degrees. If the difference is less than 17 degrees, you may need a licensed technician to check the coolant. If the difference is greater than 20 degrees, your ductwork may need to be inspected for airflow restrictions.

You should also have your HVAC system periodically inspected by a licensed professional. The frequency of inspections depends on the age of your unit, but the Department of Energy recommends scheduling tune-ups during the spring and fall, when contractors aren’t quite as busy.

When HVAC equipment fails, especially in the dog days of summer, it’s not only inconvenient and uncomfortable, but it can also be expensive to repair.

Remember, your HVAC system runs best when it’s regularly cleaned and serviced. With a little maintenance along the way, you can add years to your system’s lifespan.

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2019 Youth to Washington D. C. Trip

What do you get when 62 students from 26 Illinois electric and telephone cooperatives join more than 1,800 of their peers from across the United States? You get the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth to Washington Tour.

Four local students represented Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative during an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. from June 14 – 20 as part of the annual Youth Tour. The 2019 Youth Tour delegates from Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative include Shelby Basham, Ashkum; Cameron Douglass, Rossville; Liam McMullin, Loda; and Dane Thorne, Onarga.

The students toured Capitol Hill and met with U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and U.S. Representatives Adam Kinzinger and John Shimkus. They also visited historical and cultural sites including Arlington National Cemetery, the Supreme Court, President Lincoln’s Cottage at First National Cemetery, a variety of memorials and the U.S. Capitol.

“Youth Tour is a great opportunity that changes these students’ lives,” says Bob Hunzinger, president/CEO of Eastern Illini Electric. “This experience helps prepare them for their futures. After touring our nation’s capital, meeting congressional representatives, learning firsthand how our government works, and finding out more about how cooperatives operate, they return home with valuable knowledge and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Since 1964, the nation’s cooperative electric and telephone utilities have sponsored more than 60,000 high school students to visit Washington, D.C.

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Kilowatts & Brats: Aug. 19, 2019 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Join us for a member appreciation event at Riggs Beer Company in Urbana, IL on Monday, August 19, 2019 beginning at 5:30 p.m. EIEC will provide the brats and a great atmosphere. Lemonade, pop, water, and nonalcoholic beverages will be provided. Beer and other alcoholic beverages may be purchased at the event. Complimentary brewery tours will be given throughout the evening.

Let us know you’re coming and how many people will be joining you by completing the form below by August 14th. We look forward to seeing you at Kilowatts and Brats!

Online registration is closed. Please call 1-800-824-5102 to register.




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