comtech

President's column

Dustin TrippEnergy Efficiency

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 January 2013, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) granted Illinois Cooperatives an additional $600,000 for home energy efficiency improvements also known as the HomE Lite Rebate Program. This program applies to existing homes as well as new construction. In order to qualify for this grant, the home must be served by the Cooperative and be the Member’s primary residence.  Residential members could be eligible for a rebate up to $1,500.  Rebates for Commercial accounts are also available for geothermal and air source heat pumps up to $10,000.  Rebates will be available until funding runs out, or until June of this year.  All heating-cooling system upgrades must meet federal Energy Star standards to be eligible.    Following are items eligible for the rebates and the amount:

Dustin TrippVegetation 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 few 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 TrippLooking Forward

As we begin the New Year, I would like to take this time to briefly reflect on the year 2012 and describe your Cooperative's plans for the year 2013.

Southern and Southeastern Illinois did encounter one major storm in 2012. On the morning of February 29th severe weather including an EF4 tornado moved through the Cooperative's service area causing extensive damage in Gallatin, Saline and Williamson counties leaving 4,200 members without service.   Cooperative crews as well as contract crews worked diligently and were able to restore service to all members within 24 hours.

Residential energy consumption decreased approximately 7.6% in 2012.  The majority of this decrease is attributed to very mild winter weather early in the year.  In fact, the heating-degree-day data accumulation for January thru April of 2012 was the lowest in over 20 years of data indicative of extremely mild winter weather.

Page 9 of 9