President's column

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.

Dustin Tripp

Facility Replacement

  Over the years, your Cooperative has been considering options to address the lack of headquarters facility space and numerous other issues.  Your Cooperative’s existing headquarters was constructed in 1953 and over the past 62 years, the Cooperative has outgrown the current facilities.  In summary, the current headquarters facility has been inadequate in size, space, functionality and efficiencies for years.

The Cooperative entered into an agreement with a consulting firm to evaluate the current facilities and to help identify options to address the facility needs.  This study revealed numerous issues with the existing facility including lack of vehicle storage space, lack of material storage space, lack of member convenience and privacy, lack of disaster resistant areas for employees and critical technology and lack of current ADA requirements.  As an example, due to the lack of space Cooperative line trucks, forestry trucks, trenchers, other vehicles and extensive distribution equipment are parked outside exposed to all weather elements.  This exposure leads to safety concerns, more maintenance, less reliability, shorter service life and degrades Cooperative assets.   

Dustin Tripp

Generation Needs

Since 1963 Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC) at the Lake of Egypt has provided the generation and transmission service to your Cooperative. In fact, your Cooperative was one of the three original distribution cooperatives that formed SIPC. Today, SIPC is owned and controlled by seven distribution cooperatives located in Southern Illinois. In 2014, approximately 81 percent of your Cooperative's total expenses were spent on purchased power.

As reported over the past several years, SIPC was facing significant load growth and in order to meet future power needs SIPC made the decision in 2007 to acquire 125 MW of the Prairie State Energy Campus located near Lively Grove in Washington County.  Prairie State is a two unit, 1,600 megawatt supercritical coal-fueled power plant featuring advanced technology resulting in high efficiencies, low fuel costs and achieving emissions that are far superior to America’s current coal-fired generating fleet.  

Dustin Tripp

HomE 3.0 Rebate Program

In 2010 and 2011, SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative participated in the HomE Energy Efficiency Programto help Members make improvements to their homes that resulted in consuming energy more efficiently.  The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) granted Illinois Electric Cooperatives $2.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for home energy efficiency improvements.  With the help of this funding, SEIEC Cooperative members installed 50 geothermal heat pumps, 73 air-source heat pumps and 27 members made insulation and weatherization improvements.

In 2013, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) granted Illinois Cooperatives $600,000 for home energy efficiency improvements also known as the HomE Lite Rebate Program. With the help of this program, SEIEC Cooperative members installed 12 geothermal heat pumps, 13 air-source heat pumps and 8 members made insulation and weatherization improvements.