Message from the President: Happy Independence Day!

I want to thank all of our members who attended the recent annual meeting. More than 1,000 members, and their families, enjoyed the days’ festivities!

Along with the fun, food, and great entertainment, we were pleased to present a very positive outlook for your cooperative during the business meeting. As we reflect on 2017, it was a good year and the forecast for 2018 shows promise.

I want to assure you that EIEC is community-focused with a mission to deliver safe and reliable electricity to our members. Our electric co-op is unique because we belong to the communities we serve. The co-op is led by its members, which gives us a unique understanding of local needs. Because we answer to local members, we’re more able to respond quickly to the changing needs of our communities.

Even though we’re locally-owned and operated, we cooperate with other electric cooperatives across the country to develop new technologies, invest in equipment and infrastructure that benefits many cooperatives. This type of collaboration allows us to address complex challenges while remaining true to our local roots.

Our electric co-op was built by the community, belongs to the community and continues to be led by the ommunity––that’s the cooperative difference!

As you enjoy time with family and friends this 4th of July, please do so safely, and with a sense of gratitude to our founding fathers as well as those in uniform who protect our country and defend our freedom.

Stay safe,
Bob Hunzinger

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Annual Meeting Recap

The Annual Meeting is one of the benefits of being part of an electric cooperative.
On Thursday, June 7, more than 1,000 members and their families (totaling over 2,000 people) attended Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative’s 31st Annual Meeting.

The event was geared for family fun and featured several children’s activities, including bounce houses, an inflatable obstacle course, a petting zoo, miniature golf, and bucket truck demonstrations.

Other entertainment included the Marvin Lee Band, and all registered members received a $25 attendance credit for attending the days’ festivities.

Several legislators attended the meeting to show their support for Eastern Illini and they were able to spend time with their constituents. Those in attendance were Illinois State Senator Jason Barickman, Illinois State Senator Scott Bennett, Illinois State Representative Tom Bennett, Illinois State Representative Brad Halbrook, and Patrick Doggett, representing Congressman Adam Kinzinger. Robert Baren was a seminar presenter from the Office of the State Treasurer – Michael Frerichs.

A full meal of fried chicken, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, noodles, coleslaw, green beans, and assorted desserts was provided by Niemerg’s Catering. The Rocking K Chuckwagon provided attendees with lighter fare and snacks.

Several seminars were held during the day and were well attended. The wide-ranging topics included growing sassy succulents by Mary Dickinson, the ins and outs of capital credits by Gayle Ford, the private land owner and their relationship with the conservation police by Matt Viverito, tips and techniques for felling and cutting trees by Don Gerdes, and tools for achieving the American dream by Robert Baren.

Incumbent board members Steve Meenen of Melvin, Bruce Ristow of Cissna Park, and Brad Ludwig of Fithian were re-elected to the Board of Directors of Eastern Illini.

Board Chairman, Tom Schlatter, and Eastern Ilini’s President/CEO, Bob Hunzinger provided an update about the cooperative during the business portion of the meeting.

Eastern Illini’s annual meeting is a tangible benefit of being a member of your locally owned and governed electric cooperative.

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Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because of digging

Power outages are an inconvenience, but some are preventable. Recently, residents of an east central Illinois town saw their electricity go out, all because a work crew digging in the area mistakenly hit an underground power line.

As gardening and home improvement projects peak, now is a good time to remember how to stay safe around electricity, especially when digging near underground utility lines.

Knowing where it is safe to dig before starting projects, like putting in a fence, planting a tree or building a deck, can save you from the hazards that may lie below the surface, including inadvertent contact with an underground power line that could cause serious injury.

Every six minutes, an underground utility line — including gas, electric, water and communications lines — is damaged because of digging without calling 811 first. With an estimated 38.6 million people nationwide expected to dig this year, it is very important to call 811 before starting any digging project.

Here are some steps to follow to help keep you safe:
• Call 811 a few days before you plan to start digging, whether it’s for a construction or gardening project.
• Operators will refer you to a local utility company, who will mark the approximate location of a line(s) with flags or paint. Wait for your lines to be marked before starting your digging project.
• Make sure to dig around the marked lines, not on them.
• Remember that some utility lines are buried at shallow depths.
• Erosion and roots may shift the location of utility lines, so it is important to call 811 before every digging project.

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Steps to make your home more efficient during hot summer months

Home efficiency during summer months have a lot in common as the home efficiency checks that you do during the winter months. Make sure that you change your air filters at least monthly to keep your unit running efficiently. Just like checking for cold air leaking in through cracks in the winter, look for any areas that may need weather stripping and caulk where heat could enter your home.

You may be in the habit of setting your thermostat on a lower temperature while you are away during the day to save during the winter months, but now is the time to set that temperature higher. Set your thermostat to around 85 degrees during the day while you are gone. This temperature will keep pets that may be in the home comfortable and can help to lower your bills.

A programmable thermostat will help you control the temperature of your home, so it is cool when you return home for the day. It is important to remember when adjusting your thermostat, whether it’s manual or programmable, do not lower the temperature rapidly, to cool your home faster. Your air conditioner will cool just as fast at 78 as it might at 68 degrees.

Ceiling fans are also a great way to keep rooms cool while saving energy.
“Fans average between a quarter to one amp used, while air conditioners can range between 12-16 amps of electricity used,” says Tim Frick, EIEC certified energy specialist. “While running a fan may not exactly bring in new cold air, it does circulate the cold air that is already in the home and may make it feel cooler than it really is.”

Frick also adds that it is very possible to turn on your fans and turn up your thermostat a degree or two and not notice a difference.

Consider closing drapes and blinds during the day. A darker room stays cooler longer, than a room that has sunlight coming in. Also, consider running stoves, dryers, and other heat producing appliances during cooler hours of the day, such as the evening or early morning.

Energy efficiency, whether in the winter or in the summer months, is key for keeping your bills lower and your family comfortable. For more information visit: www.SafeElectricity.org.

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