Friday, November 14, 2014

Get Your Flu Shot

I’ve heard it said that if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans. Last weekend was pretty much open, with no deadlines and places to be. I was looking forward to a little rest before the gauntlet of the holidays. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and everything to do with the season. I hear from some people that I only get to hear from once a year and I love their newsy letters and pictures. I just enjoy everything about it.

Unfortunately, when I got home Thursday evening, my husband wasn’t feeling good. By 9 p.m., he was really sick. I suggested Urgent Care and he refused. After being up all night with him, I called a friend to take him to our doctor, so I could stay home with our son. He hadn’t been gone too long when came the dreaded call. He had tested positive for H1N1 flu. Not only did my plans for a restful weekend fly right out the window, my plans for practically the next ten days disintegrated before my very eyes.

When Bob came home from the doctor and pharmacy, he brought Tamaflu for me and our son Chad. We started taking it immediately. Even with that, by Saturday evening, we knew we both had somewhat lighter cases of the flu. With all three of us sick, it was not a good weekend at our house. So much for relaxing before the holidays.

I can surely sympathize with the teachers and parents in Elliott County that have not been in school all week, due to a stomach virus and flu. It is really a rough strain of flu and makes you feel so bad. With the addition of the virus, it is really hard on its victims.

Please Everyone!! Take your flu shots, wash your hands frequently and STAY HOME if you are sick. This powerful illness showing up this early in the year does not bode well for the winter. If you are already sick, please get well soon, and if you are well, do your best to stay that way!

Friday, September 26, 2014

I Love Bird Houses (But Not on Co-op Poles)

I guess I am just tired today, and probably a little grouchy.  I have just finished sending out what seems like hundreds of letters, asking members to take their “stuff” off  Cooperative poles. 

Now let me ask you a question.  If your neighbor puts up a fence and pays for it, is it your right to start hanging things on it and putting up signs on it, or using it for target practice?  Even though it is “your” side of the fence, technically it is just the side you are looking at and doesn’t belong to you.

It’s the same way with Cooperative poles and meters.  Although the whole membership technically owns them, individuals can’t just start hanging, nailing, tying, tacking and fastening things to them.  One of our lineman sent me a picture the other day of a bag of salt tied to a meter.  First of all, it won’t work.  Secondly, the main thing you will accomplish with a bag of salt is to rust out your meter base.

Even your meter base pole that you install cannot become a “bulletin board.” 
Cooperative employees may have to climb that pole or lean a ladder up against it.  That pole must be 25 feet tall and have 5 feet concreted in the ground.  20 feet should be out of the ground and, if you have a mast head, it must be at eighteen inches from the top of the pole.  Wire up the pole must be in conduit.   Wire down the pole to an underground service must be in conduit and buried 18 inches deep. 

No SIGNS  allowed on any pole.  That means yard sales, advertisements, political, community or school events, weddings, directions and arrows . 

Please, Please, Please!!! No flags, bird houses, no gourds, rain gages,  cattle skulls or deer horns, no fodder shocks with bales of hay piled around and no big round bales of hay for winter feed.
Don’t tie your dog, goat, horse or 4-H calf to Cooperative poles and don’t let your horses and cattle scratch on guy wires (I know about this one, because ours did and we were embarrassed to have to call in an outage.)

Absolutely no satellite dishes and night lights!  Your satellite dish provider should (and does) know that satellite dishes are not allowed on utility poles.  Neither are personal night lights.  You must install your own pole or have a structure that you can attach to for  satellites and night lights.
And the Number One Rule breaker:  Don’t build walls around your meter and cause it to  be  inside your house or garage.  That meter must be accessible to Cooperative personnel 24/7, especially in an emergency.  Just because “the door is never locked, or you can just “ reach right here behind this cabinet, deep freezer or picture” is not accessible.  Inside the house also means inside the garage.  Our business is on the outside of your home or building and not inside.  If we find a meter inside a structure, it will have to be moved to the outside.

If you have questions about where a meter base should go, be sure and give us a call.  We will do our best to answer your questions or help you find the information you need.  But please remember,  putting things on utility poles violates the rules and regulations  of the Cooperative and many times, the National Electric Code and the National Electric Safety Code.   For the safety of you and your family and our employees, PLEASE KEEP EVERYTHING OFF OF THE POLES!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Single Mothers - Multiple Responsibilities

I haven’t “blogged” for a few days, mainly because I’ve been out of town for our Statewide Board Meeting. I make that trip, usually once per month. It is a good meeting. We discuss issues facing the Electric Cooperatives across the Commonwealth, legislative issues that could affect our members, financial reports, manufacturing of transformers and many other things. However, looking around the Board room, I started to think of the preparations that go into attendance of that meeting.

You see, I have to study my Board packet to get ready for the meeting. I want to understand the subjects and be ready to participate. It’s important for our members that our Statewide Board member, Jimmy Whitt and I stay current on the issues facing our Cooperative. But before that, I have to get ready to go.

I’m sure that hundreds of our members have special needs children. My son has epilepsy and he falls. There is no warning; he just hits the floor, face first or straight back. He is 24, almost 6 feet tall and 250 pounds. When he hits the floor, it sounds like a cannon going off. So Hubby is on his own when I’m gone. I have to make sure they have something for supper (Can you starve two men to death within 6 miles of a McDonalds?), clean clothes, and food for the cat and dogs.

I have to try to get ahead at the office. It seems like if you are out one day, you have a whole week of work when you get back, stacked on your desk and staring at you when you get back. I have to pack, get gas for the vehicle, fix Mom’s medicine for two days, and make sure she and Dad have something to eat and groceries while I am gone. Dad’s 84 and she is 81 and neither is in very good health. We are lucky to still have them, but we worry about them all the time.

But my point is, by the time I’m ready to leave, I’m exhausted. It’s almost not worth the trouble, but I need to attend for the sake of our members. It’s important to keep up to date and stay a little ahead of the avalanche.

Single moms (and single dads) have an even greater responsibility. You have to make arrangements for someone to keep the kids and get them where they need to go. Single moms have to make sure the bills are paid, the doctor’s appointments kept and the soccer games attended. I always had good help when my kids were little. Thank God for my Mom and my Aunt Emily. My family and I would have never survived if not for them.

But single moms have all the decisions to make. Buy a car, or not buy a car? Soccer camp or new tennis shoes at $120? Home school or public school? What is best for my family? Can a single mom lower her energy bills and make her home more comfortable? We think so. We think there are many things ladies can do for themselves and we also know there are some programs out there to help you. Call our Energy Advisor, Tina Preece for help with your energy needs. She and her husband Jamie, have three kids of their own. Tina can relate to you and your family. We’ll all be glad to help. You can also use our home energy calculator at and do your own home energy audit.

And all you guys who also have to travel, thank your wives when you pick up the suitcase and suit bag she packed for you and maybe give her a little kiss.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

If We Have to Pay, Let's Pay for Something that Works

I came home from our East Kentucky Power Board Meeting yesterday evening and my head was spinning. The dollars imposed on our members by our Federal Government is overwhelming. Not only has Kentucky lost a lot of jobs directly related to the coal industry, but it seems anything that is remotely connected to our environment and costs money goes into the environmental surcharge on your electric bill.

A lot of people in our area are boilermakers and pipefitters. They depend on power plants for a lot of their work. When the economy tanked and our current administration declared a “War on Coal,” they lost a lot of paychecks. Gas stations and restaurants lost money. Counties lost coal severance taxes and payroll taxes. Coal companies lost coal contracts. Grayson Rural Electric Cooperative and the other 15 member systems lost the opportunity to add to our generation portfolio and to provide jobs and income to our members.

What if there was a real emphasis on clean coal technology? We have spent millions of dollars bringing our plants into compliance, only to have the Environmental Protection Agency change the rules at the very last minute, and we have to do it all again. Where do those dollars come from? They are on your electric bill where it says “environmental surcharge.” What if all those millions of dollars could be spent on finding a cleaner, safer way to use abundant coal and to retrain the men and women who have jobs in and related to coal production?

Americans are smart, motivated and innovative. Why doesn't our government put a priority on achievement of a clean energy standard that would provide jobs, keep the environment clean, use our own natural resources, and give us enough power for years to come?

The government of a country should not try to bankrupt the states of that country, nor take away the livelihood of the people, without offering a viable alternative. What can possibly justify the ability of a single government agency, supposedly by and for the people, to completely dismantle a major part of the critical infrastructure of certain states? Other states aren’t saying much now, but wait until it’s their turn.

Our government is right to be concerned about health care, clean air and water, our interstate roads and bridges, and many other things that contribute to the well being of American citizens. But just leaving them hang out to dry is not the way to do it. Why can’t there be a method to the madness? There should be some way to have clean energy and still keep costs down to our members. I just don’t think it’s fair to keep passing the costs along to our members and other consumers when they have no say in the matter.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Don't Pay Extra on Your Bill

Our 10 kW solar project is “generating” quite a bit of attention. You can view the solar power output from our website. We currently have three members who have solar installations of their own. They seem to be working nicely, although one is more aggressive than the other and one is a new project in Rowan County. If you or your club or organization is interested in seeing our new solar project, call us and we’ll set up a time for a visit and informational. 1-800-562-3532

Today was a day I dread every month; collection of delinquent bills. We went out to collect on 134 bills and 26 members have been disconnected. At least it’s not cold outside. I often think delinquent bills are a direct result of the lack of jobs we see in our area. Unfortunately, collections seem to be directly proportional to the numbers of people who are untrained for any employment. I see some families that have not had jobs in the last three generations. This cycle MUST be broken! Kids should be kids, but they also need to be taught responsibility and a work ethic.

How many bills do you pay per year? Twelve, right? But if you pay late every month, you could be paying 13 t0 14 bills per year, with the additional penalties and trip charges. Don’t pay extra for your electric service. Take advantage of Pre Pay , Levelized or Budget Billing, or Automatic Payments from your bank accounts or credit cards and stop paying extra.

Monday, September 8, 2014

New Solar Panels

We have just installed a new 10 kw solar system right beside our office. The purpose is to use it for demonstration purposes for our members. We know a lot of you are interested in solar and we had questions of our own. Thanks to a grant from MACED (Mountain Association for Community Economic Development) to initiate the project, we had our grand opening to view the installation on August 22, 2014.

We will be monitoring the energy production from this unit and calculating the energy savings. We will also be glad to offer informational meetings about this installation, including installation, costs, production and impact on energy use to groups throughout our area. If you or your club or organization would like to schedule a meeting to talk about solar energy, please contact our office at 1-800-562-3532 or 474-5136.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Safety, Safety, Safety

We want our members and their families to be safe. We advise that you have an emergency plan in case you have to evacuate your home. Make sure everyone is accounted for. Have flash lights with good batteries, bottled water, extra blankets, full prescriptions and if possible, a cell phone. Keep plenty of gas in your car’s tank. Post emergency phone numbers where you can get to them easily.

Enjoy the fall and remember, winter is just around the corner. For more safety tips visit .
  • flash lights 
  • batteries 
  • bottled water 
  • blankets 
  • full prescriptions 
  • cell phone and corded phone 
  • full tank of gas 
  • emergency numbers 
  • extra containers of water for washing and a supply of bottled drinking water 
  • non-perishable food items and a hand opener for canned food