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President's column

Dustin Tripp

Cooperative Month

Since 1964, October has been designated as National Cooperative Month, providing cooperatives with an opportunity to explain the cooperative difference to their members.  In this month’s article, I would like to explain some of the cooperative differences and how it benefits all of us as cooperative members.

As the electric utility industry continues to evolve and face continual change, we can all be proud that we are part of the electric cooperative program.  Electric cooperatives have a very unique business model that provides many benefits for its members and has proven the test of time for over 77 years.  Your electric cooperative is a not-for-profit, member-owned business and exists for the sole reason of serving members.  Your electric cooperative sets the rates just high enough to cover the cost of doing business unlike investor-owned utilities that strive to maximize profits for investors or shareholders.  Any money that is collected by the cooperative above the cost of operations is allocated back to you as capital credits.  This allocation becomes your equity ownership in the cooperative and when the financial condition of the cooperative permits, the capital credits are returned to you in the form of cash.  Over the past five years, your cooperative has paid back over $7 million in capital credits as cash to members.

Dustin Tripp

77th Annual Meeting of Members Report

SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative held its' 77th Annual Meeting on Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 with approximately  1,031 members registered and approximately 1,400 in total attendance. For those of you who were unable to attend your Cooperative's annual meeting, this article will summarize the report members received at the annual meeting.

During the year 2014, your Cooperative constructed 298 new services and upgraded 72 services.  Your Cooperative achieved another milestone by delivering over 1 billion kilowatt-hours to Cooperative members.

Your Cooperative ended the year 2014 in sound financial condition. As a not-for-profit organization, your Cooperative does not strive to produce profits for shareholders and investors but must maintain a sound financial position for the membership.  In 2014, your Cooperative's Board of Trustees approved the retirement and return of $1 million of Capital Credits and the capital credit checks were mailed to members in December of 2014.  This means that over the past five years, your Cooperative has retired and returned almost $7 million of Capital Credits to the members.

Dustin Tripp

SmartHub & Rates

SmartHub is the name of the communications tool that was implemented last year for member’s use, providing more information than ever before on your computer, smart phone or tablet.  This communication tool has been very effective for members and the latest information indicates that 4,725 cooperative members are using SmartHub in some capacity for over 5,700 accounts.  SmartHub allows members quick and easy access to perform functions including view their bill, pay their bill, schedule a future payment, review past payments, receive bill reminders, update your account and view daily and monthly electric use.

The SmartHub site can be accessed from your Cooperative’s website at www.seiec.com.  After you click on the link for SmartHub, you will see an introduction to SmartHub explaining what members can do thru the system.  Once you enter SmartHub, you will need to register and set up a secure password.  Members that have already been registered for our previous e-bill site will use the same sign on information as before.

Dustin Tripp

Annual Meeting

SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative is very pleased to announce that it will be holding its 77th  Annual Member's Meeting on Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 at the Little Chapel Church (located approximately 3 ½ miles north of Harrisburg on Route 34). 

Members who attend the annual meeting will receive a $15 credit on their power bill, receive an attendance prize and be eligible to have their name drawn for a number of prizes, including the chance to win one of four $250 cash awards. Children under the age of 13 are eligible to register for and possibly win one of ten gift certificates with a value of $25 each. There will also be a grand prize drawing for a girl and boys bike.

Entertainment and registration will begin at 6:00 p.m and the business session begins at 7:00 p.m. During the business session, members will learn about the Cooperative's past year of operation and the ways your Cooperative is working to improve the service provided while keeping rates as competitive as possible. In addition, they will be able to participate in the process of selecting four individuals to serve on the Cooperative's Board of Trustees.

Dustin Tripp

Generation Capacity Cost Explained

An auction was conducted on April 14, 2015 to secure generation capacity for consumers in Illinois and fourteen surrounding states that are all part of the Midwest Independent System Operators (MISO).  The results of this auction will cause electric rates in Illinois to increase significantly for customers of investor-owned utilities and other entities but not for electric cooperative members in Southern Illinois and other parts of Illinois as well.

In 2014 the generation capacity auction for Illinois cleared at a price of $16.50 per MW-day.  This was the price paid for generation capacity from June 2014 thru May 2015.  On April 24, 2015, this same capacity auction for Illinois cleared at a price of $150 per MW-day which represents an increase in capacity of almost 800% in one year.  This new price has been set for generation capacity from June 2015 thru May 2016.

Dustin Tripp

Grants and Scholarships

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 77 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 2014-2015 school year SEIEC awarded Gallatin County Elementary School, Hamilton County Jr./Sr. High School, Longfellow Elementary School, New Simpson Hill School and Washington Elementary School with Touchstone Energy Classroom Empowerment Grants.