President’s Message – Why I’m thankful for EIEC

The Thanksgiving season offers a great opportunity to reflect on what’s important.

At my family’s Thanksgiving dinner each year, we all take turns saying something we’re grateful for. My list is usually about the same—good health, wonderful family and friends, and a job serving the great member/owners of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative.

I’m thankful to be a part of Eastern Illini. Our employees are some of the hardest working people I know. Our mission is to provide safe and reliable electric service to our member/owners, but we also aim to improve the quality of life in east central Illinois. It’s a mission we all take seriously.

I’m thankful for Eastern Illini because it allows employees to live alongside those we serve. The beauty of a cooperative is that it’s locally owned and operated; there are no distant shareholders pulling the strings behind the scenes. Member/owners like you elect members to serve on the board of directors and govern our co-op. We are your neighbors, your friends, your family. 

I’m thankful for my co-op because it serves as a vibrant force in the local economy—partly because we are local. That means Eastern Illini is invested in the future of its communities. That’s why we offer no-cost energy efficiency kits for our member/owners in need, and why we go to schools to teach our children about electrical safety and efficiency.

I’m thankful for my co-op because we care. From giving scholarships to young people, to reaching out to members with information that will help them save energy and money, we care about the people and the towns we serve.

I’m also thankful for the wonderful employees that keep the lights on and our board of directors that set the tone for our cooperative.

Finally, I’m thankful for you, our member/owners and faithful readers, because without you, there’d be no Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative.

It seems that as I conclude my 40-year career at Eastern Illini, I have a lot to be thankful for. We live in a wonderful part of the state and our strong rural roots run deep.

Please make a note to read next month’s issue of this PowerLines, as I will officially say goodbye and offer some reflections on my career. 

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Eastern Illini Electric Co-op. 


Dave Champion

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Take the chill out of winter bills

Take simple steps now to minimize higher winter bills.

Between holiday houseguests and shorter, colder days, electric bills tend to climb in the winter. Read on for ways to save energy when the temperature drops. 

Lower your thermostat 
Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees (or lower, if you can handle it). If you decrease the temperature by just two degrees, you can save up to five percent on heating costs. Consider a programmable thermostat that you can set to automatically lower the temperature when you are away from home and then increase it just before you return.

Reduce hot water temperature
Heating water accounts for 12 percent of the average home’s energy use. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees or lower—that’s usually sufficient for a household’s hot-water needs. Also, if you’ve had your water heater for more than 12 years, you might want to consider replacing it with a more energy efficient model.

Seal and insulate
This is the best way to keep heat in and air out. Areas that may need sealing include corners, cracks, door frames, and windows.

Replace older appliances
Consider replacing old appliances, doors, and windows with ENERGY STAR-rated models: You can save about 15 percent of your normal energy use with these appliances and get better insulation on doors and windows for the price you pay. ENERGY STAR-rated items meet special efficiency standards set by the federal government. 

Adjust blinds and curtains
Keep them open to let in sunlight during the day, and closed at night to keep heat inside and protect from drafts. 

Free your vents 
HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems will have to work twice as hard if vents are blocked by rugs, furniture, or doors. Keep vents clear for proper air flow. 

Keep food cool
Don’t make your fridge work too hard. A temperature set between 34 and 37 degrees Fahrenheit is usually sufficient.

A special holiday tip 
Use LED lights to decorate. They’re up to 75 percent more energy efficient than traditional incandescent lights and last much longer—but check for an ENERGY-STAR rating before you buy.

**This article appeared in the November, 2013 PowerLines newsletter.

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Electric co-ops decry ‘All-but-one’ energy policy


Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), released the following statement in response to the testimony of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy before the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee on September 18, 2013. McCarthy outlined the Administration’s proposed regulations governing carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.

“NRECA and its member co-ops are disappointed to learn that the Administration has abandoned its “all-of- the-above” energy strategy and embraced an “all-but-one” approach that restricts the future use of coal to generate affordable electricity. The anticipated regulations are reported to require any new coal-burning facility to capture and store carbon dioxide, a prohibitively expensive technology that is not commercially viable.

“In doing so, the Administration is gambling with the economic well-being of future generations and our nation’s economy. As not-for-profit, consumer-owned utilities, electric co-ops are deeply concerned about maintaining affordable, reliable electricity. It’s worth noting that residents of rural communities already spend more per capita on energy than anywhere else.

“NRECA urges the Administration to reconsider this proposal and focus on working with co-ops as we continue to reduce power plant emissions, increase efficiency and develop affordable new technologies. Together, we can improve both the environment and the quality of life for future generations.”

Electric cooperative members may comment on the EPA’s approach through the Cooperative Action Network, www.action.coop.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.

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Schlatter earns Board Leadership certificate

Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Board Member Tom Schlatter recently received the Board Leadership certificate from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

Schlatter was recognized at NRECA’s Region 8 & 10 meeting for his commitment to education and attainment of the Board Leadership certificate in front of more than 1,000 electric cooperative officials from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Today’s electric utility environment imposes new demands on electric cooperative directors, particularly increased knowledge of changes in the electric utility business, new governance skills and a working knowledge of the cooperative principles. Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative has a commitment to work through NRECA and the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives to sharpen this body of knowledge for the benefit of their electric cooperative member/owners.

The NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) program requires attendance and demonstrated understanding of the basic competencies contained in five core courses:

  • Director Duties and Liabilities

  • Understanding the Electric Business

  • Board Roles and Relationships

  • Strategic Planning

  • Financial Decision Making

The NRECA Board Leadership certificate, which Schlatter recently earned, recognizes individuals who continue their professional development after becoming a CCD. Directors who have attained the Board Leadership certificate have completed 10 credits in advanced,issues-oriented courses.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit,consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million  people in 47 states.

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Power plant tour available

Unique opportunity available to visit a state-of-the-art plant in southern Illinois on October 23.


As member/owners of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, you have the special chance to take a behind the scenes tour of the state-of-the-art power plant and coal mine, the Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC), located in southern Illinois in Washington County, near Lively Grove.

About the tour
The tour will leave our cooperative headquarters in Paxton at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, October 23. We should return to Paxton by 7 p.m. that evening. 

To help offset the cost of the tour, we are asking all participants to pay $20. The tour fee will include round-trip transportation, lunch, and dinner.

The tour will consist of a walking portion through the power plant, and a surface tour of the coal mine. 

About the plant
PSEC uses pulverized coal technology, where coal is ground to about the consistency of talcum powder and used as fuel for a boiler to heat water and produce steam.

The steam drives a turbine, which in turn drives an electrical generator, sending electricity throughout the grid to families and businesses all over the Midwest, including our area. 

PSEC also incorporates the latest in emissions control technologies that make it one of the cleanest coal-fueled power plants in the country. It represents an important step in helping to create a sustainable and secure energy future for you – as Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative member/owners. 

The stack at PSEC is a whopping 700-feet tall – which is actually 70-feet taller than the Gateway Arch.

How to register

You can sign up for the tour at our office in Paxton, or by mailing your $20 per person tour fee and each person’s name to us at:

Plant Tour
330 W. Ottawa
Paxton, IL 60957

The registration deadline for the tour is October 9, and the tour is limited to the first 50 people that sign up.


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President/CEO search under way

Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Member/Owners,

Effective December 31, 2013, Wm. David Champion, Jr., our President/CEO, will retire from EIEC after 40 years of service. Your board of directors has contracted with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Executive Search Department to facilitate the President/CEO search process.  

Hiring a new President/CEO is the most important decision that a Board makes, and we take this responsibility as a challenge to build on EIEC’s fine reputation and enhance its future performance for you – our member/owners.

We would like to assure you that we are doing everything in our power to identify not only the best technically capable individual, but the best “person” to lead the co-op and represent EIEC in the community and industry.

We appreciate your support and ask that you trust that we will fulfill our obligations and exceed your expectations. That is our goal and responsibility to you. 


Marion Chesnut
Chairman of the Board
Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative

View the President/CEO job posting

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Fair schedule going strong

Each summer the energy efficiency experts from Eastern Illini head out to visit with not only our member/owners, but also the general public at county fairs and other popular rural events.


This year we are featuring the Energy Efficiency Wall of Savings. This 20-foot behind the scenes look at home construction highlights the tips and tricks needed to make sure you home is as energy efficient as possible. That, of course, will save you money!

Stop by our booth to ask all of your efficiency questions – or any other questions about Eastern Illini.

Event Dates Location
Fisher Fair July 8-13 Fisher
Iroquois County Fair July 17-21 Crescent City
Illinois State Fair August 8-18 Springfield
Half Century of Progress August 22-25 Rantoul
Farm Progress Show August 27-29 Decatur
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Annual Meeting held June 13

Meeting offered member/owners a chance to participate in their co-op – and relax with some quality food and entertainment.


On Thursday, June 13, over 875 member/owners and their families (totaling about 2,000 people) attended Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative’s Annual Meeting.

The event was geared for family fun and featured several children’s activities, including: a bounce house; an inflatable obstacle course; miniature golf; bucket truck demonstrations; the Gene Trimble Band; a magician and Oscar the Talking Robot. 


A meal was provided by Niemerg’s Catering and the Rocking K Chuckwagon provided snacks for those relaxing outside. All registered member/owners in attendance also received a $25 bill credit.

Many seminars were also held during the meeting. The wide-ranging topics included energy efficiency tips, renewable energy options, drug awareness and prevention, and even Mary Dickinson, a University of Illinois Master Gardener, who offered tips on plants and plant containers. 

Several local legislators attended the meeting to show their support of Eastern Illini, including: State Representative Chad Hays; State Senators Jason Barickman, Michael Frerichs, and Chapin Rose; State of Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford; and a representative from U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger’s staff. Senator Frerichs and Treasurer Rutherford were able to address the crowd during the business portion of the meeting.


Harold Loy of Beaverville, Kay Horsh of Dewey, and Herb Aden of Newmwan were also re-elected to the Eastern Illini Board of Directors.


Board Chairman Marion Chesnut of Rossville, and Eastern Illini’s President/CEO Wm. David Champion, Jr., discussed the current state of the cooperative during their executive report. In 2012, despite low sales, we were able to meet our financial goals. We also retired (paid back) almost $1.7 million to member/owners that received electric service from 1974 to 1978. We also redesigned our bill format to make it easier to see the various components of your bill.

Based on a cost-of-service study and changes in our wholesale costs, we also adjusted our rate structure a bit, to better reflect how our costs are passed through to you.

Each year, Eastern Illini’s Annual Meeting is a tangible benefit of being much more than simply a customer. You are a member and an owner of your locally owned and governed electric cooperative. 

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2013 Annual Meeting of Members


Attend Eastern Illini’s Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 13, 2013
3 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
PBL Junior/Senior High School
Paxton, Illinois

View the Official Meeting Notice
View the annual meeting program/annual report 




Inflatables: bounce house and obstacle course
Miniature golf
Oscar the Talking Robot
Bucket truck demonstrations/rides
“Climb” a utility pole
A magician


Dinner, catered by Niemerg’s Catering will include fried chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn, green beans, noodles, cole slaw, rolls, and assorted deserts.

Snacks, located outside, will include hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream, and cotton candy.



Room 604 – Energy Wise Living
4 p.m. Comfort, Moisture and Energy Efficiency Solutions
4:45 p.m. Gaining Comfort and Savings with Insulation
5:30 p.m. Comfort, Moisture and Energy Efficiency Solutions
6:15 p.m. Gaining Comfort and Savings with Insulation
Room 606 – Renewable Energy Options
4 p.m. Renewable Energy from the Ground Up
4:45 p.m. Wind and Solar Solutions
5:30 p.m. Renewable Energy from the Ground Up
6:15 p.m. Wind and Solar Solutions
Room 608 – Lifestyle
4 p.m. Contagious Plant Containers
4:45 p.m. Drug Awareness and Prevention
5:30 p.m. The Right Plants for the Right Place
6:15 p.m. Drug Awareness and Prevention
Room 610 – The Emerging Electricity Environment
4 p.m. Unbundled bills and our 2013 Rate Adjustment
5 p.m. Unbundled bills and our 2013 Rate Adjustment
6 p.m. Unbundled bills and our 2013 Rate Adjustment




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