President's column

Dustin Tripp


SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative is very proud to be one of a number of businesses in our area that remain locally owned, locally governed and locally operated for the past 79 years in Southern Illinois. Our Cooperative embraces improving the quality of life in the communities that it serves. Your Cooperative remains committed to its communities and the following is just a few examples of how your electric cooperative is striving to make a difference right here in Southern Illinois.

Your Cooperative coordinates an education grant program known as the Touchstone Energy Classroom Empowerment Grant. Your Cooperative offers a total of $4,600 in grants to fund innovative, unfunded projects or materials. Qualifying projects are those that improve the learning environment or increase educational resources for the school and the students. Every year, your cooperative sends grant applications to all of the schools in the 10 county service area and assists school administrators in applying for these grants. For the 2016-2017 school year SEIEC awarded grants to Crab Orchard High School, Sesser-Valier High School, Adams Elementary – Creal Springs, IL, Hamilton County High School and Vienna High School.

SouthEastern also invites all twenty three area high schools to participate in a program known as the "Youth To Washington Tour". Students are invited to complete an application and forward the application to SouthEastern for evaluation by staff personnel. The two best applicants are awarded the opportunity to participate in a one day tour of the State's capital in Springfield, Illinois and then on to a one week, expense paid tour of our Nations capital in Washington D.C. The two students elected attended the tour of our State’s capital on March 29th and will be attending the “Youth To Washington Tour later this year.

SouthEastern is also participating in a statewide scholarship fund known as the Illinois Electric Cooperative Memorial Scholarship Fund as a means of honoring deceased members of the electric cooperative family. Every year, your cooperative sends information to all of the schools in the 10 county service area with instructions on how students can apply for these scholarships. The program will award ten scholarships in the amount of $1,250 each. Five scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors who are the sons or daughters of an Illinois electric cooperative member receiving service from the cooperative who are enrolling in an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or vocational/technical school in the United States. A sixth scholarship, the Earl W. Struck Memorial Scholarship, will be awarded to a student who is the son or daughter of an Illinois electric cooperative director or employee. Three additional scholarships will be awarded to a high school senior who are the sons or daughters of Illinois electric cooperative members, employees or directors who will be enrolling full-time at a two-year Illinois community college. The scholarship must be used for educational costs, and the student must enter college within one year from the time the scholarship is awarded. Scholarships are awarded based upon grade point average, college entrance test scores, work and volunteer experience, participation in school and community activities, biographical statement and knowledge of cooperatives, as demonstrated by a short essay. The tenth annual scholarship is known as the "LaVern and Nola McEntire Lineworker's Scholarship." This scholarship will help pay for costs to attend the lineworker's school conducted by the AIEC in conjunction with Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, IL. The tenth scholarship will be awarded to relatives of co-op employees or directors are eligible for the lineworker's scholarship, as are individuals who have served or are serving in the armed forces or National Guard.  I am pleased to announce that Rachel Miller of Benton has been selected to receive a 2017 Thomas H. Moore IEC Memorial Scholarship

These are just a few examples of how your electric cooperative is striving to make a difference in the communities it serves.


See you next month and as always, "We'll keep the lights on for you."



Dustin Tripp


As you know, the Cooperative’s service area experienced some major storms last month including tornadoes, excessive straight-line winds and severe thunderstorms.  These storms resulted in outages caused by downed trees, broken tree limbs and fallen poles.  In this article, I would like to take an opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for the Cooperative employees that not only work to restore your electric service during these severe weather events but who also dedicate their lives to serving the electric cooperative members every day.

April 18th has been designated as Lineman Appreciation Day.  This is a day to honor all of the hardworking men and women in their role to build, maintain and restore electric service that powers our communities.  These are the employees that come to work, day or night, rain or shine, to make sure that all members have access to electricity.  When the storms roll in and our communities take cover, these employees pick up the phone, grab their gear and go out into the storms to restore your service.    In addition to their role of restoring service during severe weather events, your Cooperative linemen also work every day to build and maintain over 3,500 miles of distribution system in SouthEastern’s territory.  The linemen perform much of their work while the systems are still energized so that members will not be without electricity while performing necessary maintenance.

In addition to our linemen, SouthEastern would also like to recognize and show appreciation to all employees that make our Cooperative such a success.  From the front office employees like our Customer Service Representatives that answer your calls and provide the needed information, to the engineering personnel that design the energy systems for safe and reliable service, to the dispatch personnel that maintain effective communications with employees, to the accounting personnel who ensure our vendors are paid and track accounts receivable, to our payroll personnel ensuring that employees are paid accurately and timely, to the forestry personnel that perform vegetation management to increase reliability, to the management team that manages every day activities – SouthEastern salutes all of you for your hard work and dedication to our Cooperative and the members it serves.

As your Electric Cooperative, we strive to achieve excellent service while providing members with a very reliable energy supply.  As I shared with you in a previous article, the latest member survey revealed an increase in overall member satisfaction and an American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score that was the highest ever received.  This survey revealed that the Cooperative scored higher in all 13 Cooperative survey attributes.  The survey respondents gave the Cooperative the highest ratings for delivering reliable electric service, having knowledgeable employees, excellent customer service and prompt outage response. 

As you can see, your Cooperative employees are doing an outstanding job for the membership and we hope you will join us in thanking our lineman and all employees for the outstanding service they provide.  Your Cooperative remains committed to finding new and better ways to serve its members. Your Cooperative will continue to work diligently to improve and enhance the level of service and reliability that you receive while keeping rates as affordable as possible.


See you next month and as always, "We'll keep the lights on for you."



Dustin Tripp


There’s no question that the United States Presidential Election of 2016 will be remembered for many years to come.  President Donald Trump was elected and was sworn into office on January 20, 2017.  Over the past few years, I have been informing you about proposed rules issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that could potentially have a significant impact on your cooperative in the future.  In this article, I would like to provide a brief history of the new rules, update members regarding the status of litigation surrounding these new rules and how the Trump Administration will likely impact the outcome of the new rules.

On August 3rd, 2015, the U.S. EPA released the final version of the Clean Power Plan, which consisted of over 1,500 pages aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing and new power generation facilities.  The final rule calls for a 32% national average reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030.  The final rule is significantly different than the proposed rule and is much more stringent for Illinois than the proposed rule.  The final rule calls for a 44% reduction in Illinois greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030.  This is a very complex rule and is one of the most aggressive and controversial regulations in our nation’s history.

Dustin Tripp

Vegetation Management

One of the many advantages of living in Southern Illinois is the beauty of this area including the Shawnee National Forrest and the great variety of trees and vegetation that grow throughout the region.  Although your Cooperative realizes the significance of this important natural resource and are advocates for retaining as many local trees as possible, we must implement a sound vegetation management program to ensure you with reliable energy solutions.

SouthEastern’s current vegetation management program sets the goal of trimming on a four to five-year cycle.  This means that what is trimmed or cut today will be trimmed again in four to five years.  Your Cooperative feels that if this goal can be achieved, you as Cooperative members will experience less momentary blinks, less outages and faster restoration times which will increase the quality and reliability of your electric service.  Over the past ten years, your Cooperative has experienced extreme storms resulting in devastating damages which reminds all of us of the importance of a sound vegetation management program.

Dustin Tripp


I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  As we begin the New Year, I would like to take this time to briefly reflect on the year 2016 and summarize your Cooperative's plans for the year 2017.

At the time this article is being written, the Cooperative expects to end the year 2016 by delivering over 1 billion kilowatt-hours to all of you as Cooperative members.  This is the third year in a row that your Cooperative has delivered over 1 billion kilowatt-hours to Cooperative members.  Residential energy consumption decreased in 2016 primarily due to warmer than expected temperatures during the months of January, February and March.  Large commercial energy consumption also decreased in 2016 which is primarily attributed to the lower than anticipated mining operations in the Cooperative’s service area.

In 2016, the Cooperative continued to make significant investments in the vegetation management program.  In fact, the Cooperative completed trimming and clearing of vegetation in the Bradley, Elizabethtown, Equality, Rosiclare, Sesser, Walpole and Webb substations.  As we have certainly experienced in the past with major storms, a sound vegetation management program is crucial to your Cooperative's ability to reduce risks and outages associated with major weather events and to maintain a reliable electric supply for members.

Dustin Tripp


The digital age of communication and automation has provided some opportunities for all of us to simplify some of the routine and ordinary tasks that we perform on a monthly basis.  One example of this is the various methods that are available for members to pay their monthly electric bill.  Your Cooperative offers a variety of options that you can select that best suits your preferences, lifestyle and your needs.  In this article, I would like to briefly explain the various options that are available for members to pay their bill.

SEIEC offers an automated payment plan that automatically draws the necessary funds from your checking or savings account to pay your monthly electric bill.  With this option, you will still receive a statement in the mail that is virtually identical to the invoice you receive now but the funds necessary to pay the total amount due will automatically be withdrawn from your checking or savings account on the due date.  Please contact the office if you would like an enrollment form for this option.

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