Harold Loy Retiring from EIEC Board of Directors

Success of any electric cooperative has a lot to do with a board of directors with a desire to do what is in the best interest of members and the entire co-op.

Since 1992, Harold Loy has served as a member of the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Board of Directors. For 27 years, Harold has provided leadership to the cooperative. He has decided not to seek re-election at the 2019 Annual Meeting of members on June 6, 2019.

Eastern Illini’s President/CEO Bob Hunzinger noted, “We are extremely grateful for Harold’s service on Eastern Illini’s Board of Directors. His contributions have been a great asset for all of the members of the cooperative.”

Harold is from Beaverville in directorate district 1, which includes the townships of Milks Grove, Chebanse, Papineau, Beaverville, Ashkum, Martinton, and Beaver in northern Iroquois County.

Harold graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. He received the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Professional Directors Certificate in 1998 and became a NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director in 1999. He received the NRECA Board of Leadership Certificate in 2009.

Harold and his wife, Nancy, operated a grain and livestock farm and have been very involved in agriculture over the years, especially the Donovan Farmers Cooperative Elevator.

Harold will complete his term as a member of the Eastern Illini board of directors which will expire in June. At that time a new directorate of district 1 will be elected. Interested candidates need to live in directorate district 1 and submit a nominating petition 60 days prior to the 2019 Annual Meeting.

One of the many benefits of receiving electric service from EIEC is that the cooperative is governed by a board of directors who are members.

There are nine members of the board of directors representing nine areas in the 10-county EIEC territory.

Each year, three of the nine directors are elected to the board during the annual meeting. The 2019 EIEC Annual Meeting will be held June 6 at the Paxton Buckley Loda Junior/Senior High School.

The board of directors is responsible for guiding how the cooperative’s money and assets are used to fulfill the co-op’s mission. They do so in such a way that protects the cooperative and the interests of all members. A member of the board of directors has five principal functions: legal, trusteeship, planning, resource management, and compliance.

To be eligible to serve as a director, the person who is applying must be a member of the cooperative and their primary residence needs to be in the board district that is up for election.

Candidates submit a nominating petition that includes collecting at least 25 signatures of other members. Nominating petitions will be available from the cooperative in the Spring. The applicant then returns the nominating petition to the cooperative not less than sixty days prior to the Annual Meeting.

For more information about running for the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Board of Directors, feel free to call us at 800.824.5102.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

During the end of the year as the holiday season approaches, many of us reflect on the past year and think about our community. The term community has various meanings for each of us. For electric cooperatives such as Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, community is our members, employees, and the territory in which we provide service.

This month, we highlight the return of over $1.1 million in capital credits to our members. Please see page 2 for more information. The return of member equity in the form of capital credit payments is a tangible investment return to the larger EIEC community.

On page 4 we include information on our Youth to Washington Tour program. This is a great opportunity for youth in our community to learn about state and national government while interacting with other cooperative youth from across Illinois and the United States.

In 2019, there will be elections for four of the nine EIEC Director districts. Three of these districts encompass our southern territory, and the other district includes our northeast area. We will provide more information in future issues of this publication, and on our website and other social media. If you are interested in additional information about the election, please contact us.

At our October board meeting, your Directors agreed to return any excess operating margins (over and above our budgeted levels) to members in 2018 in the last billing cycle that includes December usage. We expect the total to be returned to members to be more than $600,000, however the final amount will depend on the revenue and expenses for the final few calendar months.

We have preliminary results from the member survey completed during October. Overall, you rated your cooperative very highly (a score of 89 out of 100 on the customer satisfaction benchmark). Thank you! Member feedback was also provided in a variety of other areas. This information provides us areas to further improve member service as well.

Recently passed Illinois legislation has provided for renewable incentives for solar and wind installations. We have been following this issue closely. Although there are presently legal challenges as to whether cooperative members can participate in this program, EIEC continues to receive numerous inquiries relative to solar installations.

There are numerous solar developers active within Illinois and in our territory. If you are considering installing renewable energy, especially solar, please contact us early in the process, as we can help you with rate comparison information and analysis, along with helping you navigate the administrative processes.

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It Pays To Be a Co-op Member

Capital Credits: The Power of Membership

As a member of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, you have ownership. Any excess revenue above what it costs to run the business (margins earned) is returned to members in the form of capital credits.

We are pleased to let you know that Eastern Illini is returning (retiring) more than $1.1 million in capital credits to members, via more than 6,000 checks, that will arrive in late November.

Capital credits allocated from one half of 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991 will be returned to those who were members during those years.

Any profits made by Eastern Illini are referred to as margins. Margins result when our revenue is more than our expenses. At the end of each year, any available margins are allocated back to you, our members, into your capital credit account.

When the Board of Directors has determined that the Cooperative has met its financial requirements and any other obligations, they may decide to return (retire) capital credits to members.

Eastern Illini’s President and CEO Bob Hunzinger noted, “The cooperative business model is special for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is capital credits.”

“The financial stake that current members and previous members have, really make Eastern Illini the successful cooperative it is. We are fortunate that our current financial conditions allow us to return a portion of our members’ equity investment.”

Each year we send out a capital credit allocation notice, so you are aware of your equity. Allocations may be made annually for each member, based upon the amount of electricity purchased during the prior year. An allocation is the amount set aside into a separate account to be used as operating capital for reliability improvements and maintenance projects over a period of years.

Retirements refer to the portion of the capital credits allocation to members that is refunded every year, depending on the financial condition of the cooperative. Typically, after utilizing capital for up to 30 years, they are retired. Capital credits have no cash value until they are retired and refunded to you. They cannot be used to pay your electric bill. You will want to consult with your tax professional regarding capital credits on your tax return.

If you, or anyone you know, received electricity from Eastern Illini in the 1980s, please visit the unclaimed capital credit database and search by the last name of the member.


Keep a Current Address on File
Even if you no longer receive electric service from Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, you may still be entitled to receive checks from your capital credit allocation account. Keep us updated with your current mailing address, so we can mail your capital credit checks if you are no longer an active member. Should the member of record pass away, the capital credit account is payable to settle the estate. Contact us for more information.

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Tips for Purchasing New Appliances















It’s probably been quite a while since you purchased a new appliance. Most
people don’t buy new appliances very often, so when it is time to take the
plunge, it can be somewhat overwhelming. Here are a few tips as you
consider a new fridge, dishwasher or other big-ticket items.

Remember to Measure and Measure Again!
Before purchasing new appliances, measure the space around the old
appliance and then measure the new appliance to confirm the new appliance
will fit in the allocated space. Measure everything – the clearance
between your island and your counters, the width of your doorways,
and how far a front-loading washing machine door swings out into
the laundry room.

Read the Reviews
Do your research online and read customer reviews. A good price
doesn’t always equal a good deal. Ask your friends and neighbors
what brands they prefer and why. Know what features you really
want and weigh the pros and cons. For example, french door
refrigerators comprise 75 percent of all sales, but freezer storage
on the lower half is limited compared to other models.

Do your Homework on Energy Efficiency
Most new fridges are going to be a lot more efficient than the
ones that were on the market a decade ago. A 1988 fridge used
1400 kWh a year, while modern energy-efficient models use only
350 kWh a year. At 15 cents per kWh, savings can be as much as
$160 a year. Review Energy Star ratings when considering the purchase
of new appliances.

This link provides helpful information: https://www.energystar.gov/products

Take a look at Energy Efficiency Guide links that tell you average kWh usage and cost to run the appliance annually and compare between models. Try to stay below $25 for dishwashers and $40 for refrigerators in energy use per year.

Consider Online Shopping

Shopping online for appliances is an option to consider. It gives you the opportunity to compare models regarding reliability, specifications, and efficiency. Online retailers may offer coupons and some have special deals and lower prices.

Recycle Old Appliances
Some retailers will pick up and recycle your old appliances for free. If the
appliance is still functioning, you will probably come out ahead by selling it
on Craigslist or at a local resale store.

Free Delivery and Promotions
Most retailers will deliver for free from a local store which saves you gas
and saves you having to haul a heavy new appliance home without damage.
Watch for promotions, holiday sales and store-wide discounts and if possible,
time your purchase to coincide


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An Enduring Family Business: Power Planter

Drill, plant and backfill with Power Planter Earth augers. They make easy work of planting and digging projects.

Greg Niewold is an Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative member from Loda. He is part of Niewold family farms and owns and operates Power Planter, a third-generation family business, that manufacturers Earth augers for home gardeners, landscapers, golf course greenskeepers and commercial outdoor maintenance personnel.

Power Planter began 30 years ago, as a diamond in the rough, when a local university’s groundskeeper asked Wayne Niewold, Greg’s grandfather, to create a more efficient way to plant trees, shrubs and flowers on campus. With that, the idea of the Power Planter was born, and today Greg leverages the rich history from the past to forge new and innovative uses for the Power Planter as well as expanding the market internationally and online. Power Planters are now sold in Australia, Canada, Europe and New Zealand as well as through distributors in the U.S. Power Planters can also be purchased on Amazon and Ebay.

Today, Power Planters are used by real estate agents to install “for sale” signs in client’s yards and by oceanfront resorts when they need to install beach umbrellas and sand fences. Of course, Power Planters come in very handy for ambitious gardeners and landscapers who are ready to plant 50,000 flower bulbs quickly. Power Planters come in two colors: black and pink.

Most gardeners consider digging a necessary evil and Power Planter is a garden-friendly auger that connects to a cordless drill to dig holes and create conditions for healthier plant growth. Because the auger pulverizes the soil, roots can quickly settle in. Looser soil allows for better absorption and nutrients and reduces the risk of runoff or erosion. Some Power Planter owners use them to install moisture probes in their farm fields. Another unique use of the Power Planter is by farmers to mix talc and graphite into seed boxes during the planting season.

Power Planter has had the same phone number since 1989: 217-379-2614. When you call it, chances are you’ll personally talk to Greg or Grace. Greg enjoys speaking to customers. During the conversations, he gathers information about their use of the Power Planter and their level of satisfaction with the product.

Power Planter comes with an unconditional guarantee on parts, materials and craftsmanship, so Greg has been known to overnight replacement parts to customers, if necessary. Customers are often taken aback that the owner answers the phone, but that’s how they roll at Power Planter. Customer satisfaction is high on their priority list and decision-making and product development center on customer wants and needs. The augers are made 100% in the U.S. They feature high quality, durable craftsmanship. Seven employees make the parts and assemble, weld, paint and ship the product from Loda to locations worldwide.

It is a family affair at Power Planter. Greg’s Aunt Grace is an integral part of the business and she keeps the front office day to day operations running smoothly. Greg often brings his kids into the office, so they can see how the business is run and know more about entrepreneurship.

Greg is a graduate of PBL High School and the University of Illinois. He taught agriculture and industrial technology at a local high school before returning to run the family business. He and his wife, Lisa and three children make their home in Loda.

More information on Power Planter can be found at powerplanter.com.

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Happy Thanksgiving

As you receive this, the Thanksgiving holiday is still a few weeks away. We also celebrate Veteran’s Day this month. It is also election season once again. Please take time to personally thank a veteran for their service. Because of their efforts over the years, we enjoy the freedom to exercise our privilege to vote.

With this ability to vote also comes responsibility. Please take the time to research the candidates and issues, whether it be in local, state, or national elections. The success of a democracy is highly dependent on the active participation and involvement of all citizens.

Our weather finally changed to more typical fall conditions in mid-October. The barren fields and changing leaves portend the coming winter season. All in all, the weather has been interesting so far this year. Let’s hope the winter conditions in this area tend to be more normal rather than severe in the months to come.

Thanksgiving typically revolves around family and friends. I would like to offer a special thank you to two of our senior staff who recently retired from the cooperative.

Brian Stagen retired in late July after 24 years of service. During his tenure, Brian was responsible for various portions of the financial and member care areas.

Mike Zalaker retired in late September with 34 years of service. Mike was instrumental in the fleet, material procurement, and facilities operations areas. They both provided loyal and dedicated leadership for the cooperative in many different aspects. We wish all the best to Brian and Julie Stagen, and to Mike and Wendi Zalaker in their future endeavors.

Please note the upcoming event we are hosting at Riggs Beer Company. You are invited to Kilowatts and Brats on Monday, November 12, from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. More details can be found on the back page. We hope you will join us at this informal gathering (along with some of our directors) to share information and fellowship.

Overall, 2018 looks to be a good year for your cooperative. We are nearing completion of the budgeting and planning process for what we hope will be a successful 2019 as well.

Please be safe in all that you do. On behalf of the employees and directors of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, safe travels to all during the holiday season and Happy Thanksgiving.


Bob Hunzinger

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Remembering Jay Hageman: A Life Well Lived

None of us know how much time we have left on Earth. What matters in the end are our actions, the memories we leave behind and how we made people feel.

We are deeply saddened to announce that Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative has lost one of its own – Jay Hageman, a member of the board of directors. Jay lost his life in a vehicle accident on October 9, 2018. His many contributions to the co-op, his strong belief in the cooperative principles, and his approach to living life to the fullest will always be remembered.

Jay was a dedicated director who was elected to the Illini Electric Cooperative Board in 1986. He then served on the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Board, following the 1987 consolidation, until 1989. He was re-elected to the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Board of Directors in 2002.

Jay received many honors during his years of service. He was awarded the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Credentialed Cooperative Director Certification, the NRECA Board Leadership Certificate, and the NRECA Director Gold Credential Certificate.

Jay was serving as Vice Chairman of the EIEC Board of Directors at the time of his passing. He also served as Eastern Illini’s representative on the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives Board of Directors.

Jay made a difference in the lives of many, including EIEC members, employees, and his fellow directors.
“It has hit us hard,” said Debbie Laird, Vice President/Executive Assistant for Eastern Illini. “Jay was a longtime member of the cooperative board. He had a great personality and never met a stranger. He will be missed.”

Jay leaves behind his wife, Tracy, daughter Jenny (Chris) Kirschner, and beloved grandchildren, Dylan and Hadley. The Hageman’s farm near Fairmont. Jay was a graduate of the University of Illinois.

“Jay was an integral part of the Eastern Illini Cooperative family,” said Bob Hunzinger, President/CEO of EIEC, “He had a thorough understanding of the electric utility industry, the co-op business model and a sense of service to all members of the cooperative. I am personally grateful for having had the opportunity to get to know Jay and appreciated his assistance and counsel. We are forever appreciative for his loyalty and dedication.”


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