Safety First!

Published 9:35 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

AHOSKIE – It’s a tradition that spans over 75 years.

Roanoke Electric Cooperative held its annual members’ meeting here Saturday. Members crowded into the Hertford County High School gym for the business meeting where REC President and CEO Curtis Wynn started his presentation to members with an emphasis on safety.

REC received two prestigious safety awards Saturday. Wynn said, “Safety is of utmost importance.”

The first safety award, presented by Farris Leonard, field manager of the NC Association of Electric Cooperatives, was the Certificate of Safety Achievement.

Leonard said REC got the safety achievement award because, “The efforts from each employee every day.”

The second award was from NC Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry.

She presented REC the Carolina Star Safety Award, which recognizes worksites that are self-sufficient in their ability to control hazards at the worksite.

Berry said, “We are all our brothers and sisters keepers.”

The Carolina Star comes with a flag of recognition that will fly over the REC offices near Ahoskie.

“This award is well-deserved, “Berry said, “You earned this very special award.”

Wynn then moved onto Co-op business with a formal vote from members to put a plan together to bring broadband service to all members. The vote was easily passed to proceed with a broadband plan.

Wynn proclaimed that REC’s core value is to put members first.

“We take great pride in the strides we’ve taken to fulfill our mission while directly addressing the pocketbook issues that affect your monthly budget,” Wynn said.

“In addition to our commitment to be a leading cooperative providing top tier performance in safety, service and reliability,” he said, “your co-op believes that our member-owners should be able to afford the superior service they expect and deserve. Over the years, we’ve gathered that the most common cause for high energy bills is more consumption of the service in our area compared to other electric utilities.”

He said that REC’s rates are competitive with all other electricity-providing services, but people have higher rates because many homes are energy inefficient.

“Fortunately, your co-op recognizes that many of our member-owners may already be doing some things to cut down on their energy use,” he said. “However, we believe in going above and beyond to ensure that we’re delivering the highest quality of service available at the most affordable price. That’s why our member-owners have access to these programs:

“Member-owners who participate in our Community Solar program receive an estimated credit to your electric bill of approximately $32.26 per year;

“Member-owners who have the new outdoor lighting experience savings of $2.30 per month; and

“The Upgrade to Save program allows member-owners to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes while reaping $32-$90 in monthly savings.”

Wynn continued, “In addition to ensuring that our member-owners have access to exclusive programs that improve their overall quality of life, your co-op also strives in its day-to-day operations to monitor wholesale power costs to deliver electricity at the most affordable pricing. As a result, member-owners are currently benefiting from a wholesale power cost adjustment that started last November. Savings for many member-owners range from $35 to $50 per month.”

He said 150 upgrades have been accomplished in the past 12 months saving an average of $118 per month.

Wynn also said, “We increased the amount of money

that we pay back to our member-owners to $300,000 to $500,000. Checks will be mailed in August. Last year, the average check per member-owner was $35.”

REC now offers Wi-Fi thermostats for $50 for greater energy efficiency. If members purchase these commercially, Wynn said they would upwards of $250.

Wynn also said a new mobile app is free to members and lets them see usage and payment data.