Manager's Report - April 2015
2015 Annual Meeting Highlights
This year’s Annual Meeting was held on March 12 at a new location at the Circle Middle School in Benton. We hope the facilities and location worked well for you. We always strive to keep you well-informed on the activities of the cooperative and issues faced in our industry.
Conserving Energy & Saving Money
First of all, I would like to commend your efforts to conserve energy during the peak usage hours. Back in 2009, we implemented a rate that rewarded your efforts to conserve during the late afternoon hours when our power costs are the highest. Based on our estimates, you saved over $927,000 on your electric bills in 2014.
Over the past five years, you have saved over $4 million. That means an average member saved $129 in 2014 and $565 over the past five years. Butler REC has saved a similar amount on its power costs, which is what makes this so beneficial to us all. Through these efforts you have helped delay the need for new generation plants and helped conserve our natural resources.
New Service Boosts Efficiency
One of the new services Butler REC is promoting is energy efficiency by evaluating and increasing the insulation in your attic. The number one cause of energy loss in a home is poor attic insulation. Minimum insulation standards have nearly doubled in the past 10 years. Over 90 percent of homes are significantly under insulated.
The top five signs that your attic is poorly insulated include:
- Having trouble heating or cooling certain rooms in your house.
- Your furnace and air conditioner kick on and off too often.
- Your energy bills just seem too high.
- Your home is more than 10 years old.
- It’s di cult to keep a consistent temperature at home.
In an effort to help you improve the efficiency of your home, Butler REC has partnered with Attic Report Card to provide FREE home attic inspections for our members (see details on page 16-D). Additionally, Butler REC is providing financing options to help facilitate improvements for your attic insulation. Since implementing this program in October, 89 members have taken advantage of the FREE inspections. As a result of those inspections, 26 members were able to improve their insulation by utilizing our financing program and another 13 members made the improvements without financing.
The average estimated savings on energy costs (electric and propane) is approximately $56 per month, while their loan payments are averaging $38 per month. This provides an annual net estimated savings of $216.
Line Maintenance Decreases Outages
This past year has been one of our best years in the past decade in regards to outages. This is a direct result of the quality maintenance that has been performed over the past several years. More than half of the electric system infrastructure from the 1950s has been rebuilt in the past 10 years. Over 35 miles of line was built in 2014 with much of it replacing 60-year-old structures and wire. The board has authorized extra money to spend on right-of-way maintenance to keep the lines clear of trees, which significantly reduces the number of outages you may experience.
New Generator at Pony Meadows
Butler REC will be installing a one megawatt peak shaving generator at our Pony Meadows substation in May. By running this generator during the peak summer hours, we estimate that the cooperative will save $125,000 per year in demand costs.
$600,000 in Holiday Refunds
Our power supply cooperative was able to refinance much of its debt, which significantly lowered their expenses. They were able to pass those savings on to Butler REC. Your Board of Trustees and management team believed that those savings should be passed on to you, our members. The result was $600,000 distributed to you, our members as a Holiday Refund on your December electric bill.
Only in a member-owned organization like a cooperative would you see the Board vote to give back to the customers the excess profits not needed to operate the business.
The cost of electricity, while it is higher than we would like it to be, has actually trended down slightly over the past couple of years. Most utilities have experienced increases over this time period. But with the combined efforts of you, our members, and the cooperative as a whole, the costs have been held in check. While there are so many forces outside of our control that drives our costs, we will continue to work hard to control what we can to provide you with the reliable, safe and affordable service you want and deserve.