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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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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