Over the years, your Cooperative has been considering options to address the lack of headquarters facility size, space, security, functionality, efficiencies and numerous other issues. Over the Cooperative’s history, time and technology has certainly changed the way we conduct our business, the way we build, maintain and operate our distribution systems and the way we provide service to the membership. Technology has brought about changes in the vehicles that we operate, the equipment we use and the technological systems we deploy. All of these changes along with numerous other changes over our history has certainly changed the infrastructure needs and requirements of the Cooperative.
The Cooperative has begun construction of a new headquarters facility located on Route 13 just 6 miles west of Harrisburg in Saline County. A new headquarters facility at this site is more centrally located geographically and by member population. The location of this new headquarters will also allow the Cooperative to reduce the number of facilities from four to three by incorporating the Eldorado and Marion personnel into this new location. This new facility will fulfill the numerous needs that the Cooperative has been experiencing for years in the current facility and provide the much needed space and functionality for years to come. This new facility will improve member access, more convenient member parking and entrance capabilities and more member conveniences including drive thru facilities and better member privacy. The new headquarter facility is scheduled to be completed in July 2016.
Cooperative members were informed regarding the most recent environmental regulation published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This regulation is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the electric generation industry by 32% by the year 2030. The State of Illinois will now begin developing a State Implementation Plan (SIP) that will determine how Illinois will meet the new federal requirement. Your Cooperative will continue working with leaders from Illinois in order to achieve a State Plan that focuses on achieving solutions that are fair, affordable and achievable while keeping electric service reliable for Cooperative members.
Cooperative members were also informed about the increasing price of generation capacity in Illinois. In the past year, the market price of generation capacity increased by 800%. While generation capacity prices are only a portion of the total generation costs, increases of this magnitude are certainly having an impact on the rates paid by other utilities and entities. This increase in the cost of generation capacity will not have an adverse impact on SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative and six other electric cooperatives in Southern Illinois due to our ownership of Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC) located at the Lake of Egypt. SIPC owns, operates and contracts a variety of generation resources including coal-fired, natural gas, hydro-electric and wind energy. While other customers had to go to the market and pay the much higher price for generation capacity, your Cooperative is part owner of it’s very own generating units and will not be adversely impacted by the increasing cost of generation capacity.
Lastly, the members were informed that the Cooperative will not have a rate increase for the remaining of 2015 and at the present time, the Cooperative has no plans for a rate increase in 2016.
See you next month and as always, "We'll keep the lights on for you."