HOW TO COMPLETE THE PROXY
1. Designate the EIEC member to whom you are assigning your proxy vote.
Write that member’s name where it says INSERT NAME.
2. Date and sign the proxy.
3. Print your name and address.
4. Give the proxy to your designated member to bring to the annual meeting.
Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative is accepting applications for summer help which includes assisting line workers, tree crew, warehouse and mechanics. Please visit https://www.eiec.org/about-us/employment/
You may apply online at APPLY NOW! Submit a cover letter stating why you want to work for EIEC and include it with your resume. Applications are due by Thursday, April 18.
It was an interesting winter that seemed to extend longer than normal. But at last the calendar has turned to spring. The spring season means the start of Major League Baseball and our annual Florida trip for spring training baseball.
Other than the weather, there are some interesting contrasts between Florida and Illinois. It seems that anywhere you go in Florida, there are all types of construction underway. In Illinois, the growth mainly seems to be in the Chicago area. Florida’s population increases by nearly 1,000 people every day. Illinois has consistently lost population over the past few decades. It is amazing the number of current and former Illinois residents that we run across on our trip.
Florida does not have a state income tax, while the Illinois tax recently increased, and there is talk of modifying the tax to a graduated income tax. (If the exodus of Illinois residents seemed high previously, it will likely be even higher under a graduated tax regime). Florida generally does not have the underfunded state pension issues found in Illinois, but Florida does have some severe education and environmental issues that are worsening with the population growth.
Five years ago I wrote a few columns regarding federal environmental regulations and the impact on generation supply resources. In many areas, this issue has been pushed down to the state level. Both Florida and Illinois are experiencing an increase in solar renewable energy. However, Illinois, unlike Florida is also experiencing significant increases in wind generation. The large Illinois renewable energy growth is primarily due to legislation passed in late 2016.
Just a few weeks ago, in early March, companion bills were introduced in the Illinois legislature to significantly increase future renewable energy percentage targets in the state. Although early in the process, this will be a key issue to monitor. Cooperatives favor an inclusive mix of all types of generation, including renewable energy at proper levels.
As you know, Illinois co-ops receive a significant portion of energy from plants powered with Illinois coal. We will keep you updated on this extremely important issue.
We are rolling out a new bill format this month. The new format gives you more in-depth information about your electrical use. Details about the new format are highlighted on pages 2 -3.
April is also a month in which we recognize our employees through Lineworker Appreciation Day on Monday, April 8; and Administrative Professionals’ Day on Wednesday, April 24. Our employees are dedicated to providing member focused services in all interactions with EIEC membership.
Enjoy the vibrant colors of springtime and your favorite baseball team in action.
Information on SIDE ONE of your bill:
1. EIEC Information: Our main phone number and how to contact us.
2. Your Account Information: Your account number.
3. Current Bill Amount and Due Date: Summarizes total amount or budget amount
due and due date for the service location listed.
4. Important Message: Valuable communication from Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative.
5. Your Name and Address: The contact information we have on file for your account.
6. Account Message: You may see account specific messages displayed in red on certain bills. These are tailored messages for a member account.
7. Average Daily Electric Use: Compares this month’s energy use with the previous month and the same month from a year ago.
8. Monthly Electric Use History: Shows historical data regarding electric consumption for the past 13 months.
9. Daily Electric Use: Lists your daily electric use and includes weather information, so you can see how much temperature impacts your bill.
10.Payment Stub: If you are mailing in your payment, detach this portion and please send it with your payment.
Information on SIDE TWO of your bill:
11. Previous Billing Details: Previous balances and payments.
12. Meter Reading Details: This is the actual location of your electrical service. It includes your service location, meter number(s), and current and previous meter reading along with your kWh use.
13. Peak kW demand: This reflects your highest kilowatt demand during any 15-minute segment of the billing period. It shows when you are putting the largest demand on the electric system.
14. Current Bill Information: Your rate and service duration for this billing cycle.
15. Distribution: This is the local costs to get electricity to your home or business. It includes poles, wires, substations, staff, and other operating expenses. Your Base charge is the monthly recurring charge. It represents the fixed costs incurred, even if no electricity is used.
16. Electric Supply: This is the cost of wholesale power that EIEC purchased from Prairie Power, Inc., a generation facility. PPI is made up of 10 Illinois electric cooperatives, including EIEC.
17. Transmission are the costs EIEC pays to get electricity from power plants over high-voltage electric lines to the 25 substations on our distribution system. These charges originate from the owners of the distribution lines.
18. Generation Investment: This is based on your kWh use and represents EIEC’s long-term investment in the Prairie State Energy Campus (PPI).
19. Power Cost Adjustment: This is the difference between the actual cost of the electricity we get from PPI and our projected costs. The PCA varies each month.
20. Public Utility Tax: This tax is administered by the State of Illinois and applies to each kWh of electricity that you use.
21. Total tax and other fees: This section may include outdoor light rental, service upgrades, deposits, adjustments, and other miscellaneous charges.
22. Total Current Month Charges: This is the amount you owe for electricity for the current month.
April is National Safe Digging Month and we want to remind homeowners and professional excavators in Illinois to call JULIE, Inc. (JULIE) at 8-1-1 before every digging project this spring, regardless of the size or depth. This is a free call and service.
JULIE’s helpful call center agents are available to receive and process requests 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 8-1-1. E-Request is also a convenient option for homeowners who prefer to enter their own utility locate requests via the website: www.illinois1call.com.
When calling 8-1-1, homeowners and contractors are connected to JULIE, Inc., the Illinois One-Call System, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig.
Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.
Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting JULIE. Striking a single line can cause personal injury, costly repairs, environmental or property damage liability, and inconvenient power outages.
When you are considering home improvement projects like building a deck, landscaping, fence installation, swing set assembly, or installing a mailbox, call JULIE.
The depth of utility lines can vary due to erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.
Occasionally homeowners think they already know where the utilities are located. It’s always a good idea to contact JULIE, just to be safe.
From time to time, people believe what they’re planting is very shallow and they won’t have to dig very deep. Line depths can change over time and homeowners may be surprised by how close lines are to the surface.
Homeowner sometimes think, oh well, I had my garden in this space last year, so I don’t need to contact JULIE this year. By going just a little deeper, or to the left or right, you can hit a line. It’s happened to people before with shocking consequences.
Homeowners may have called JULIE several years ago and are convinced they know where the lines are located. Why take the chance, be safe and call JULIE again!
JULIE is a free call and service. Call before you dig.
Tips and Techniques for Felling and Cutting Trees is a very popular seminar at the EIEC Annual Meeting every year. Don Gerdes, EIEC forester, is the presenter and often there’s standing room only for his seminar, as he is very knowledgeable about everything having to do with trees. He talks about safety when using a chain saw and Don always has a fascinating story about his interaction with raccoons.
Don has over three decades of experience and he learned from some of the best in the business. Don began his vegetation management career with Price Tree Service and was eventually recruited by Dean Price to work for the co-op as a forester. Don has continued in his role of forester and now he works in concert with Junior Price to keep power lines free and clear of limbs, branches and trees.
As forester for EIEC, he has the important job of managing a tree trimming rotation of every four years. Don and Junior trim and remove tree branches and limbs on a planned schedule throughout the 10 county EIEC territory. Eastern Illini’s primary responsibility is to provide safe, reliable electricity to members. Keeping lines clear of trees is necessary to deliver better quality service to EIEC members.
The distance a tree is trimmed depends on the type of tree and voltage. In some instances, the removal of a tree is required. This is especially the case when public safety is involved. A tree may be removed because it is dead, dying, or damaged. The methods used to trim trees help the tree retain its natural shape, decrease future trimming needs, and direct future growth away from electric lines.
Don wants members to know how important it is to look up, look down and all around before planting a tree. Always call JULIE at 811 or 1-800-892-0123 before digging. JULIE will arrange for underground cable related to electric, cable, telephone, and gas lines to be safely located and marked. Sometimes selecting the wrong tree and planting it near utility rights-of-way can cause safety concerns and service interruptions. With years of experience under his belt, Don has seen outages and power interruptions decrease significantly due to proper trimming and maintenance of trees near power lines. Don’s favorite tree is the Official State Tree of Illinois, the White Oak. He’s not really a fan of walnut trees and he is dreading the removal of more than 100 ash trees on the acreage he owns in DelRey.
When Don isn’t busy trimming trees with his chain saw, you’ll find him cheering on his grandchildren at baseball games. He also enjoys bow hunting and trapping coyotes. Whenever possible, Don travels to one of his favorite destinations: Payson, Arizona, a cool mountain town in the Tonto National Forest. Payson is home to the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo and a very scenic area of Arizona.
Don has several unique goals on his bucket list. He wants to hunt elk in Arizona. A permit is required for elk hunting and an annual lottery determines who gets the permits. Don also has plans to visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Don was amazed by the spectacular views of the Grand Canyon when he visited. He hopes to someday hike down the South Rim.
Don is married to Sherri whom he met at the Onarga Best Supermarket when he worked there as a young adult. He has two children, Amanda and Jake and seven grandchildren.
Don recently purchased a paddle boat, so his grandchildren can paddle around the DelRey swamp located on his property.
Don’s favorite meal is steak and potatoes. Air conditioning in his home and vehicle is the modern convenience Don can’t live without.
These days Don has his hands full with his rambunctious dog, Sammy. Sammy is a Jagdterrier, which is a German-bred, tenacious terrier who is known for hunting wild boar, badger, fox and weasel. Don traveled to southern Oklahoma, just six miles from the Texas border to pick up Sammy. His pup is an extremely athletic dog, but according to Don, quite a pistol.