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Co-op's electricity supplier adds 150 MW of wind capacity
Co-op to host Northwood Middle School Spelling Bee on Dec. 2
Offices to be closed for Thanksgiving Nov. 27-28
Members help 14 local nonprofits through Operation Round-Up
Members now can report outages through SmartHub
Damascus resident wins $50,000 Energy Efficiency Makeover
Scammers calling members with threats of disconnection
First Electric members help support nonprofit organizations
Use SmartHub app to pay bill and monitor usage
Check out First Electric's Pinterest boards


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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Co-op to host Northwood Middle School Spelling Bee on Dec. 2
[General]

The Northwood Middle School Spelling Bee will be held at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at First Electric Cooperative in Jacksonville. Twenty-five students will compete for a spot in the Pulaski County Spelling Bee in January and a one-year subscription to Britannica Online for Kids. The public is invited to attend the event, which will be held at the cooperative’s headquarters at 1000 South J.P. Wright Loop Road. First Electric is sponsoring the bee, which is a precursor to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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Offices to be closed for Thanksgiving Nov. 27-28
[General]

First Electric business offices will be closed Nov. 27-28 for Thanksgiving. Crews will be on hand in the event of an outage. To report an outage at any time, call 888-827-3322 or log in to SmartHub.

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Members help 14 local nonprofits through Operation Round-Up
[General]

Fourteen nonprofit organizations received a total of $12,700 in October thanks to First Electric Cooperative members who participate in the Operation Round-Up program.

Cleburne County
•Daisy Patch Quilters, $500
•Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Cleburne County, $1,000
•Wilburn Fire District, $1,500

Garland County
•Literacy Council of Garland County, $500
•Village Walk for Cancer Research, $1,000

Grant County
•Literacy Council of Grant County, $700

Lonoke County
•Lonoke County Museum, $500
•Lonoke County 4-H, $1,000
•Lonoke County Safe Haven, $1,000
•Wade Knox Children’s Advocacy Center Inc., $1,000
Perry County
•Perry County 4-H Foundation, $1,000

Pulaski County
•HOPE, $1,000

Stone County
•Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Stone County, $1,000

White County
•White County Single Parent Scholarship Fund, $1,000

Members who enroll in Operation Round-Up agree to have their electric bill rounded up to the next even dollar amount each month. That money – more than $722,000 since 1998 – funds nonprofit donations and college scholarships for graduating high school seniors.(For photos, check out the co-op's Facebook album.)


To enroll in Operation Round-Up click here or call 800-489-7405. To apply for an Operation Round-Up donation, download an application.

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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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Damascus resident wins $50,000 Energy Efficiency Makeover
[General]

Petit Jean Electric Cooperative member Connie Jefferies of Damascus has won the seventh annual contest sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

According to Bret Curry, manager of residential energy marketing for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, this year’s makeover contest was designed for members who reside in manufactured homes.

“Manufactured homes comprise 15 percent of Arkansas’ housing stock, have some of the highest electric bills and are very uncomfortable during hot and cold weather extremes,” Curry said. “The makeover project serves as a teaching resource for all Arkansans.”

As the makeover winner, Jefferies’ 1999 single-wide home will receive up to $50,000 in energy efficiency improvements. During a recent energy audit, electric cooperative energy efficiency experts pinpointed reasons for the high electric consumption in the 840 sq. ft. dwelling. Jeffries had an uncomfortable home and $300 electric bills last winter, he said.

“Our diagnostic testing revealed that 50 percent of the air volume within the home was leaking to the outside,” Curry said. “We also discovered substandard and improperly installed insulation, inefficient windows, no moisture barrier, an inefficient heating and cooling system and non-Energy Star appliances.”

“A properly built dwelling of this small size should average total monthly electric bills of $100 or less,” Curry said. “The good news is our makeover project is a wonderful medium for teaching Arkansans how they can resolve their energy problems, improve the comfort of their homes and lower their utility costs.”

The makeover team will begin work immediately and work to finish in three to four weeks. Jefferies will receive an ultra-efficient Water Furnace geothermal heat pump installed by Rood Heating & Cooling. WeatherBarr Windows will provide high-efficiency windows. Rheem Marathon will provide the energy efficient water heater. Roof King will provide a high efficiency overlay comprised of foam, radiant barrier and metal roofing. General Electric will furnish Energy Star appliances. SealantTech and Summit Builders will install closed cell foam to the underside and encapsulate the ductwork. The makeover team will install a high-density moisture barrier.

Cooperative members submitted more than 1,500 applications in this year’s contest. In addition to the grand-prize winner, 16 runners-up will receive a 40-gallon Rheem Marathon energy efficient water heater.

Winners of the 40-gallon Marathon water heaters are:

  • Debbie Sampley, Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark;
  • Sereta A. Sims, Ashley-Chicot Electric Cooperative of Hamburg;
  • Billy and Ruby Young, C & L Electric Cooperative of Star City;
  • Virginia Baughman, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville;
  • Robert and Margie Brown, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning;
  • Brenda Stevens, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro;
  • Dianna Calkins, Farmers Electric Cooperative of Newport;
  • Shannon Allen, First Electric Cooperative of Jacksonville;
  • Charles R. Wilder, Jr., Mississippi County Electric Cooperative of Blytheville;
  • Corey S. Egan, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Salem;
  • Karen S. Baker, Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden;
  • Tami Hinkle, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville;
  • Dewayne Ashbrooks, Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative of Mena;
  • Randy Looper, South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Arkadelphia;
  • Weldon A, Nichols, Jr., Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana; and
  • Jason Edwards, Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City.

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Scammers calling members with threats of disconnection
[General]

Another scam is targeting some of First Electric's members. The caller is threatening to disconnect power if payment is not made within 30 minutes. 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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First Electric members help support nonprofit organizations
[General]

Fourteen local nonprofit organizations received donations in July thanks to members who participate in First Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round-Up program. The Operation Round-Up Board of Trustees approved $14,300 in donations.

Cleburne County

  • Disabled American Veterans Chapter 57, $1,000

Lonoke County

  • Kohen’s Park Foundation, $1,000
  • Lonoke County Fair & Livestock Association, $1,000
  • Lonoke County Open Arms Shelter, $1,000
  • Lonoke Exceptional School, $1,000

Perry County

  • Hollis Volunteer Fire Department, $1,000
  • Nimrod/Aplin Fire Department, $1,800
  • Perry County Single Parent Scholarship Fund, $1,000

Pulaski County

  • Hearts & Hooves, $1,000

Saline County

  • CADC Saline County Single Parent Scholarship Fund, $1,000
  • Habitat For Humanity of Saline County, $1,000
  • Imagination Library of Saline County, $500

White County

  • Arkansas Bikers for Children, $1,000
  • White County Aging Program, $1,000

First Electric members enrolled in Operation Round-Up agree to have their bill rounded up to the next even dollar amount. That money – more than $709,000 since 1998 – funds nonprofit donations and scholarships. Call 800-489-7405 or click here to enroll or apply for funds.

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Use SmartHub app to pay bill and monitor usage
[General]

Download the free SmartHub app for your smartphone or tablet. With the app, you can pay your electric bill and monitor daily usage data on your account or accounts from anywhere.

  1. Search for “SmartHub” in the Apple Store or Android Market and download the app.
  2. Press the “By Name” button at the bottom.
  3. Type “First Electric Cooperative” as your provider.
  4. Enter your SmartHub login information or click “New User” to create a SmartHub account. (The login information is the same for both the web and mobile app.)

Have questions? Call 800-489-7405, and a member service representative can help you with downloading or using the app.

Click here for more on SmartHub.

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Check out First Electric's Pinterest boards
[General]

First Electric has joined the social media network Pinterest. Click here to view the co-op's boards. They focus on safety, energy-efficient products, energy-saving tips and the Co-op Connections Card.

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