Electric Vehicles are Gaining Momentum

The appeal of Electric Vehicles (EV) is gaining momentum as prices drop and range is expanding. EV owners can now confidently drive nearly everywhere with a bit of planning. Chances are you know someone who has purchased an EV. Thanks to the electric cooperative movement, electricity is available everywhere in the U.S., the majority of roads are paved and environmental concerns are increasing awareness about the value of driving EVs.

While many drawbacks of EVs are gone, there is still a major concern limiting EV growth dubbed “range  anxiety.” This stems from the persistent limited range of all EVs. While the Tesla offering provides 270 miles  for their all-wheel drive model and 355 miles on their standard models, that pales in comparison to most internal combustion cars. And, the lack of a rapid charging infrastructure is considered by some to be a drawback.

Fortunately, advances in battery technology are hammering away at the range issue. Range is steadily expanding and battery management systems are squeezing out more miles. At the same time, more companies and utilities are installing efficient charging stations at their places of business and in public locations. In the near future, range will no longer be an issue.

EVs have a bright future. Though only about 1 percent of U.S. vehicles are electric today, forecasts predict 65 percent of new U.S. vehicle sales in 2050 will be EVs. There are several reasons why EVs are getting a second look from consumers. Cheaper to operate: There is a cost advantage by using electricity over petroleum. Given the considerable efficiency of electric cars compared to internal combustion models, the cost per mile to fuel an EV is approximately one-third to one-quarter the cost of gasoline. And because electric cars  don’t have exhaust systems and don’t need oil changes, maintenance costs are reduced. To maintain an electric car, just rotate your tires and keep them properly inflated.

Quiet and quick: It only takes one ride in a battery-powered car to understand the improved ride quality of an EV compared to a vehicle using a petroleum-powered internal combustion engine. An electric car is very quiet and smooth. What surprises people more is the high torque offered by EVs. Step on the accelerator and power is delivered immediately.

Home Charging: Imagine never going to a gas station again unless you need some snacks or a slushy. All you have to do is pull into your garage, reach over for a plug, and push it into the charging outlet. It’s very convenient and quick. Wake up the next morning, and you are ready to go.

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EIEC Plugs in a Chevy Bolt

For the average American household, transportation is the second largest expense after housing. Swapping a gas-powered vehicle for an all-electric vehicle can save you money . The average cost to operate an EV is $485 per year. Electricity costs are also less than purchasing gasoline and the price is more predictable. As battery technology continues to improve, the cost per mile will continue to decrease.

Stop by EIEC in Paxton and take a test drive in our new Chevy Bolt. You’ll find it to be a lively electric vehicle with a spacious cabin and some awesome features. It has a longer electric-only range than other EVs. The Bolt has ample power and brisk acceleration. You can charge this car overnight with a 240-volt charger or use the available DC fast charger to get up to 90 miles of range in a half an hour. The Bolt feels lively when taking off from a stop. It also has excellent acceleration when passing other cars on the highway.

The Chevy Bolt can seat up to five and has heated seats and steering wheel. The Bolt has 16.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. The back seat folds down to expand cargo space.

Standard equipment includes the MyLink infotainment system with a 10.2-inch touchscreen, an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Smartphone integration, a six-speaker stereo, two USB ports, and satellite radio. The system’s 10.2-inch touch screen is easy-to-use. MyLink provides both in-car  entertainment and useful information for managing your charging and driving habits.

As a battery-electric vehicle, the Bolt EV’s only power source is its lithium-ion battery pack. The EPA estimates its all-electric driving range to be around 238 miles on a full charge. The Bolt also has an efficiency rating of 128 MPGe in the city and 110 MPGe on the highway.

It’s fun to drive regardless of road conditions, and its battery pack gives the car a low center of gravity, granting extra stability. Responsive steering and smooth, strong brakes enhance the driving experience. This vehicle is also coordinated, with good road grip and minimal body roll. Worthy of note is the Bolt’s two driving modes that
affect regenerative braking. In Drive mode, it operates much like a normal car. In Low mode, the regenerative brakes become more aggressive, allowing you to drive with one pedal. The car will slow down more  aggressively when you let off the throttle. There is also a Regen on Demand feature, which activates aggressive regenerative braking by pulling a paddle on the back of the steering wheel. Keep in mind that the brake pedal may still need to be used in some situations.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is an appealing pick as a daily commuter, thanks in large part to its 200-plus-mile range, swift acceleration, and lively handling. Its cargo area and seats are spacious, and the Chevy’s nicely equipped infotainment system is user-friendly.

Give us a call at 1-800-824-5102 to set up a test drive today. We will have the Chevy Bolt on display at upcoming events and it will be showcased at the annual meeting in June.

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Wishing you all the best in 2019!

Father Time marches on. The year 2018 is history. What will 2019 bring to us?

2018 Margin Rebate

Your cooperative will experience kWh sales approximately 5% above budget for 2018 (pending December use). This coupled with expenses coming in below budget has resulted in net operating margins significantly above our budgeted levels.

Your board of directors approved for these additional margins to be returned to all co-op members during this billing cycle.

Be sure to check your current bill (December 2018 usage) for the amount of your 2018 rebate. The billing line is titled: 2018 Margin Rebate.

The projected $800,000 total margin rebate will be credited on this bill based on your 11-month average use from January through November. This is an immediate and tangible benefit of being a member-owner of your not-for-profit electric cooperative.

2019 Projection

Your Directors approved the 2019 budget during the November board meeting. Once again, we are pleased to inform you that our rates for 2019 remain the same, just as they have every year since the 2013 rate adjustment. Our wholesale power provider, Prairie Power, Inc., has projected a slight increase in their electric rate to us, which will be reflected in the PCA component of our billing.

However, during 2019, staff will coordinate a rate study to follow up on the cost of service study that was completed in 2018. Expenses in general have increased since the last rate adjustment. When coupled with Illinois renewable legislation that provides subsidies for solar and wind, along with the changing nature of electricity use in general, we need to ensure that our revenues collected through our various rate structures are equitable for all members.

Please take time to review the other informative articles featured in this newsletter. We also welcome our newest board member, Lauri Quick, who resides in the Tolono area, representing District 9.

On behalf of your cooperative employees and directors, we thank you, and wish you all a happy, safe, and successful 2019.

Happy New Year!

Bob Hunzinger

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EIEC Welcomes Lauri Quick to the Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative has appointed Lauri Quick as the newest Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative board member.

Quick will serve as director from District 9, a position that became vacant after the passing of Jay Hageman, long-time EIEC director.

She has been a member of Eastern Illini for ten years and brings a wealth of experience to the position.

Quick is currently employed by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois as Administrative Aide in the Office of Advancement.

In her role within the Office of Advancement, Lauri counsels and advises on administrative matters, manages the operating and events budgets, and facilitates educational programs and special events for donors, alumni and the public.

Quick holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in Human Resources Education from the University of Illinois.

As a member of the board, Quick will work with the other board members to set up cooperative policies, approve budgets, and contractual considerations, monitor the financial and operational needs of the Cooperative, and provide guidance and oversight to cooperative management and staff.

“I am honored, and grateful to the Eastern Illini board for the opportunity to be part of this exceptional organization,” said Quick. “I look forward to representing the interests of all cooperative members”.

“Lauri impressed us with her diverse skill set and perspective as well as her community involvement and enthusiasm for the position.” Said Tom Schlatter, EIEC Board Chairman. “We know that our membership will see the same qualities in Lauri when they meet her”.

Quick and her husband, David, make their home in Tolono, IL. She has two children and three grandchildren.

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Dedicated to Restoring Power

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, founded in 1792, claims an 80 percent accuracy rate – and if you believe that, you might be optimistic about the weather forecast for January and February. Recently released predictions call for warmer-than-average temperatures and above normal rainfall and below average snowfall. Illinois weather is often unpredictable and chances are there will be a few winter storms that cause power outages.

At Eastern Illini we strive to provide reliable electricity to our members; however, there are times when Mother Nature has other plans. Most of us can ride out a storm from the comfort and convenience of our homes. However, there is a group of professionals that spring into action when the weather takes a turn for the worst – our co-op linemen. The crews perform proactive and planned electrical line work on most days, but when an ice storm hits, regardless of the day or time, it’s all hands on deck.

Braving snow and ice storms are challenging conditions for linemen – often climbing 40 or more feet in the air, carrying heavy equipment to restore power.

Listed as one of the 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S., linemen must perform detailed tasks next to high voltage power lines. To help keep them safe, linemen wear specialized protective clothing and equipment at all times when on the job. This includes special fire-resistant clothing that will self-extinguish, limiting potential injuries from burns and sparks. Insulated and rubber gloves are worn in tandem to protect them from electrical shock. While the gear performs a critical function, it also adds additional weight and bulk, making the job more complex.

In addition to the highly visible tasks linemen perform, their job today goes far beyond climbing to the top of a pole to repair a wire. They are also information experts that can pinpoint an outage from miles away and restore power remotely. Line crews use their laptops and cell phones to map outages, take pictures of their work, and troubleshoot problems. In our territory, Eastern Illini linemen are responsible for keeping 4,500 miles of lines across ten counties working, in order to bring power to your home and our local community 24/7, regardless of the weather, holidays or personal considerations.

While some of the tools that linemen use have changed over the years, namely the use of technology, the dedication to the job has not. Being a lineman is not a glamorous profession. It is inherently dangerous, requiring them to work near high voltage lines in the worst of conditions, at any time of the day or night.

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Eastern Illini Welcomes New Employees

Vehicle Service Technician

Troy maintains, repairs and services cooperative vehicles including cars, light to medium duty trucks, aerial man-lifts and derricks with gas and diesel engines, hydraulic systems, hydraulic tools, and small engine equipment. He also maintains, repairs and services cooperative buildings, and mechanical and electrical equipment.

Troy resides in Ludlow, IL with his wife Tami. He enjoys drag racing in his spare time and owns a 1970 Monte Carlo.



Member Care Representative

Brooke communicates, assists and furnishes information regarding programs, products, rates, regulations, policies and practices to members of the Cooperative.

She establishes and maintains member records and inputs data and information into member records. Brooke processes payments, interacts with members in person, on the phone and by email.

Brooke is moving to Paxton soon. She enjoys music and photography.





Mark provides assistance to the EIEC controller regarding financial reporting of the Cooperative’s business units, including preparation of standard and general journal entries, accounts payable, miscellaneous receivables, bank reconciliations, and capital credits. He will also assist the controller with audits, tax return preparation and financial reporting.

Mark resides in Danforth, IL with his wife Ashley and son Haines.

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