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Position open for substation groundman to 3rd-year apprentice
Help First Electric Cooperative battle copper crime
People posing as First Electric contractors
GenerLinkā„¢ provides safe, easy way to connect generator
Protect home electronics from electrical surges
Operation Round-Up funds donations to 12 nonprofits
First Electric returns $4.4 million to members in December
Business loses almost $1,000 in phone scam
Co-op hosts Northwood Middle School Spelling Bee
First Electric member falls victim to phone scam
Co-op's electricity supplier adds 150 MW of wind capacity
Members now can report outages through SmartHub


Position open for substation groundman to 3rd-year apprentice
[General]

First Electric Cooperative has a position opening for a substation groundman to a third-year substation apprentice in Jacksonville. Anyone interested in this position should complete an application for employment at any First Electric office or online no later than Feb. 3, 2015. Visit the Employment Opportunities page for more information.

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Help First Electric Cooperative battle copper crime
[General]

Copper thieves increasingly are targeting First Electric Cooperative’s system in Arkansas, Jefferson, Lonoke and Prairie counties.

We request your help to keep our equipment safe, prevent outages and save lives. If you see anyone other than First Electric personnel or contractors around substations, poles or other electric equipment, please immediately call First Electric at 800-489-7405 or the nearest law enforcement agency.

“To would-be thieves, stealing copper may seem like a quick way to make a buck,” said Jerry Driskill, First Electric’s vice president of operations. “But it’s illegal, it’s costly to our members, and it’s not worth gambling with their lives. Working with any metal and electricity is a dangerous combination, even for trained employees using proper equipment.”

Driskill said the key to getting this stopped is members of the public alerting the electric utility or authorities when they see suspicious activity.

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People posing as First Electric contractors
[General]

First Electric Cooperative has received reports of people posing as contractors to gain access to properties in northern Lonoke County.

First Electric contractors are working in the area clearing right-of-way and inspecting utility poles. They include: Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., Apple Tree Service and Osmose. The contractors drive marked vehicles and wear company uniforms.

Members who observe suspicious activity are asked to call Tim Felty, First Electric right-of-way maintenance supervisor, at 501-985-4538. They also may contact the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office at 501-676-3001.

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GenerLinkā„¢ provides safe, easy way to connect generator
[General]

Members wanting a safe, easy way to connect a generator during power outages can purchase a GenerLink™ from First Electric. The device is installed on your electric meter by a marketing representative. Once installed, you simply connect the generator to the GenerLink™ with the included cord. Then, use your household main circuit panel to select the circuits and appliances you want to operate based on the generator’s capacity.

For pricing, sizing and compatibility, call 800-489-7405 or click here. Qualifying members can pay $200 down and have the remaining balance included on their electric bill for the next 12 months.

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Protect home electronics from electrical surges
[General]

Computers, refrigerators, TVs, washing machines, phones and heat pumps are only a few of the electronics and appliances that can be damaged by electrical surges, such as those caused by lightning strikes.

First Electric members can enroll in Surge HELP® for financial protection from surge damage for their homes’ electronics and appliances. The Surge HELP® (Home Electronics Loss Protection) plan is offered to members through Dominion Products and Services Inc.

Making a claim is hassle-free. The toll-free claims number may be called 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The plan also covers up to $125 in diagnostic/service fees for a valid claim. Other Surge HELP® benefits include:

  • Protection for electronics and appliances starts for as little as $3.95 a month.
  • The homeowner is reimbursed up to the program limit if damaged equipment can’t be repaired.
  • No hidden fees.
  • No equipment or installation required.

To enroll in Surge HELP® or get more information, please call 877-727-2938 or click here.

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Operation Round-Up funds donations to 12 nonprofits
[General]

Twelve nonprofit organizations received funds in December thanks to the generosity of members enrolled in Operation Round-Up. 

Receiving $1,000 donations were: Antioch Fire Department, Cabot Christmas Alliance, Community Action Program for Central Arkansas, DeWitt Senior Center, Fish Net Missions of Jacksonville, Lonoke County Single Parent Scholarship Fund, LRAFB First Sergeants Council, Pope-Yell County Single Parent Scholarship Fund, Rose Creek Community Building and Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Grant County.

Receiving $500 donations were Valentine/Wooten Road Council/Dick Jeter Park and The Children’s Advocacy Center of Pine Bluff.

Members may enroll in Operation Round-Up by clicking here or by calling 800-489-7405.

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First Electric returns $4.4 million to members in December
[General]

The First Electric Cooperative Board of Directors approved a refund of $4.4 million to members this year. Any revenue that is not needed to maintain the cost of providing service is assigned back to each First Electric member in the form of capital credits. Capital credit refunds are one of the major differences between a not-for-profit electric cooperative, such as First Electric, and an investor-owned electric company.

Capital credits are assigned to each account annually and refunded when financial conditions permit. How much members receive is based on how much electricity they used during the year or years that are being refunded. This year's calculation represents a complete retirement of 1987 and a portion of all years thereafter through 2013. Capital credit checks were mailed Dec. 10. Members whose refund was less than $20 receive a credit on their December electric bill.

Throughout First Electric's 77-year history, more than $71.4 million has been refunded to members.

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Business loses almost $1,000 in phone scam
[General]

SCAM ALERT – A business that First Electric serves fell victim to a phone scam and lost almost $1,000. The caller stressed the need for the member to act quickly or be disconnected for nonpayment. Please know that we do not threaten members or demand payment over the phone using a prepaid debit card. Those who want to confirm they are speaking with a First Electric employee are encouraged to hang up and call the co-op’s toll-free number at 800-489-7405.

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Co-op hosts Northwood Middle School Spelling Bee
[General]

Principal Lance LeVar, left, and President/CEO Don Crabbe congratulate bee winner Allana Cousins.

Seventh-grader Allana Cousins won the Northwood Middle School Spelling Bee held at First Electric Cooperative in Jacksonville on Dec. 2.

Principal Lance LeVar and First Electric President/CEO Don Crabbe presented Cousins with a one-year subscription to Britannica Online for Kids as well as a gift card courtesy of First Electric.

The cooperative sponsored the school bee, which is a precursor to the Pulaski County, Arkansas and Scripps National spelling bees.

Visit our Facebook page for more photos.

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First Electric member falls victim to phone scam
[General]

A First Electric member fell victim to a scam and lost $500 this weekend. She was contacted by a scammer who threatened to disconnect her power if payment was not made quickly using a prepaid Green Dot card. Please be aware that First Electric will not threaten members in this manner. The co-op strongly urges members to protect their credit card and checking account numbers, account user names, passwords and Social Security numbers. Those who want to confirm they are speaking with a First Electric employee are encouraged to hang up and call the co-op’s toll-free number at 800-489-7405.

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Co-op's electricity supplier adds 150 MW of wind capacity
[General]

The Origin Wind Farm located in Murray and Carter Counties in southeast Oklahoma now is providing Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. with 150 megawatts of potential wind energy through a long-term power purchase agreement. (First Electric Cooperative and the 16 other electric cooperatives in the state purchase power from Little Rock-based AECC.)

“With the addition of this wind energy, AECC has 201 megawatts of wind energy in its generation assets,” said Duane Highley, AECC president and chief executive officer. “AECC has access to more than 459 megawatts of energy via hydroelectric generating stations and power purchase agreements in addition to our baseload assets. We continue to explore energy options to provide the 500,000 electric cooperative members in Arkansas with reliable, affordable energy.”

Enel Green Power North America Inc. is the owner-operator of the Origin Wind Farm. The expected annual output from the 75 turbines on the 17,600 acre farm is 650,000 megawatt-hours, approximately enough energy to serve 50,000 homes. AECC is the sole recipient of the electricity generated. The cooperative also has a long-term power purchase agreement with BP and Sempra U.S. Gas and Power for 51 megawatts from the Flat Ridge 2 South Wind Farm in Kansas.

AECC has a long-term commitment to generation diversity. AECC is one of the top generation and transmission cooperatives in the nation with assets of more than $1.6 billion. AECC owns three natural gas/oil-based plants, four natural gas-based-only plants, co-owns portions of four low-cost coal-based plants and three run-of-the-river hydroelectric generating stations.

“AECC has a diverse mix of energy including coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, biomass and wind to shield our members from potential spikes in generation fuel costs,” said Andrew Lachowsky, vice president of planning, rates and market operations for AECC. “The cooperative also works to secure the lowest cost power via the wholesale energy markets.”

AECC’s agreement was made possible through the National Renewables Cooperative Organization, which enables cooperatives nationwide to pool the ownership and benefits of renewable resources. AECC is one of 25 NRCO members. Based in Carmel, Ind., NRCO works on behalf of member cooperatives to facilitate the acquisition of renewable generation assets and assists members in diversifying their energy resource portfolios. For more information on NRCO, visit www.nrco.coop.

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Members now can report outages through SmartHub
[General]

SmartHub, First Electric’s free online bill payment system, now allows members to report an outage. Log in to SmartHub and click on “Report An Outage” under Quick Links.

If using the free SmartHub app, click on “Report an Outage.” (Need help with the app? Click here to view a PDF with instructions or call 800-489-7405.)

SmartHub especially works well for members with multiple accounts. At this time, SmartHub cannot provide estimated time of restoration or notification once power is restored.

 

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