Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – August 2018

Thank You!

Headshot of Jeff DavisWasco Electric Cooperative would like to thank the utilities, contractors and suppliers who helped assist during the July fire that affected our distribution system in both Wasco and Sherman counties.

Crews worked for several days throughout the Wrentham Market, Tygh Ridge and Fifteen Mile areas, where they had to replace several miles of distribution line to those members. Power was restored the evening of Saturday, July 20.

Repairs will be an ongoing process. Our operations department will continue to assess the damage and replace damaged poles, wires and meters as needed.

We greatly appreciate the patience and understanding of our members and community as we work safely and diligently to repair our system.

2018 Annual Meeting

Although November is several months away, preparations for Wasco Electric Cooperative’s 79th annual meeting are underway. The meeting is Saturday, November 17, at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center, 402 E. Scenic Drive, The Dalles.

During the meeting, members will vote on three director positions that are expiring—one from each of the three districts.

At its August meeting, the board of directors will appoint the member committee that nominates candidates to run for those positions. This committee will meet in early September.

If you are a member willing to serve on the board of directors, please let us know. We will give your name to the nominating committee members for consideration. See page 8 of this issue for more information.

Current directors whose terms are expiring and will seek re-election this year are Bob Hammel, District 1, serving on the board since 2005; Gary Carlson, District 2, serving on the board since 2015; and Mike Collins, District 3, serving on the board since 2006 and current president.

As always, if you have any questions about your cooperative, please feel free to call or stop by the office.

Jeff Davis, General Manager

 

 

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – July 2018

Washington, D.C., Youth Tour

Headshot of Jeff DavisMore than 1,800 students from rural electric cooperatives visited Washington, D.C., last month. Among those high- schoolers were Riley Brewer and Hanna Ziegenhagen, who represented Wasco Electric Cooperative.

During this weeklong trip, students learned about the political process and the impact it has on their cooperative back home, visited the nation’s capital, talked with Oregon elected officials and visited countless museums, all while making lasting memories and friendships.

Each year, Wasco Electric offers this great opportunity for high school sophomores and juniors within our service territory to attend this all- expense-paid trip. Watch for details about the 2019 Youth Tour in the November issue of Ruralite.

Community Grants

Each year, the cooperative supports the development of projects throughout its service area with an economic/ community development grant program.

This year, the cooperative’s grant committee awarded four grants totaling $7,500 to the following projects:

  • Maupin Area Chamber of Commerce for a bicycle repair station.
  • Sherman County Historical Museum to improve the museum’s foot bridge.
  • Sportsman’s Grass Car Lawn Mower Racing to establish electric service to the event area.
  • Mary’s Academy to install a filtered/cooling water station.

As always, if you have any questions about your cooperative, please feel free to call or stop by the office.

Jeff Davis, General Manager

 

 

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – June 2018

Summer Safety

Headshot of Jeff DavisWith the arrival of summer comes an increase in outdoor activities. Whether you are out and about for work or pleasure, please be aware of where overhead power lines are located in relation to your activities.

If you come across a downed power line, stay away from it, protect the area and call Wasco Electric Cooperative immediately.

In addition to increased outdoor activities, summer also brings fire season. In the event of a fire that may potentially threaten the cooperative’s distribution or transmission lines, please call the office immediately.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer!

High School Graduates

The Wasco Electric Board of Directors and employees offer our congratulations to the 2018 graduates from area high schools.

One of the ways the co-op supports local youth is through contributions to the high schools’ graduating class drug- and alcohol-free graduation parties.

The high schools we support in this manner are The Dalles, Dufur, Sherman County, South Wasco County and Madras.

Congratulations, and good luck in your future, wherever it may take you.

As always, if you have any questions about your cooperative, please feel free to call or stop by the office.

Jeff Davis, General Manager

Manager's Message

Remember to Plug Into Safety

In May, electric cooperatives across the country promote safety awareness to coincide with National Electrical Safety Month. Every year, thousands of accidents occur due to shock hazards. Wasco Electric, a not-for-profit electric utility, is committed to educating the public about potential electrical dangers in the home.

In 2016, 475,500 structure fires—including residential fires—were reported in the U.S., causing 2,950 deaths, 12,775 injuries and $7.9 billion in property damage. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a residential fire was reported every 90 seconds. Many home fires occur when electrical equipment is outdated or improperly used.

Is your home properly protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters? GFCI outlets should be used in all kitchens, bathrooms, garages and outdoor outlets.

It is critical that people understand their home’s electrical system and the safety concerns associated with the latest residential technologies before bringing them into their homes.

With newer technologies, such as solar panels, electric vehicles and more electrical gadgets in the home, people need to ensure they have an electrical system that’s compatible with the increased load.

Through electrical safety awareness and education, we can all play a part in preventing electrical hazards and injuries in the future. Together, let’s plug into safety this May.

Cover image: electical outlet by grendelkhan on Flickr.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – March 2018

When electric cooperative members look at the seven cooperative principles, many may question if they live up to the first one: voluntary and open membership.

There is a two-part answer.

First, it is important to remember that when Wasco Electric Cooperative formed, every potential member had the option to refuse service.

While it may be hard to believe today, there are numerous stories from electric cooperatives throughout the country where the farmer said, “No thanks. We are doing fine with kerosene.”

Of course, eventually they changed their minds and became members of the cooperative.

Due to the incredible cost of offering electric service, most people and businesses only have one choice if they want to connect to the grid and receive electricity.

While that may change in the future due to rooftop solar or other generation sources, the best option for most people for safe, reliable and affordable power is from their local electric cooperative.

Today, electric cooperatives focus on the second part of the principle: open membership. All residents and businesses in WEC’s service territory are welcome to receive power.

WEC strives to ensure your membership has value to you not just through the service of electricity, but by being an active part of the community.

The cooperative offers and welcomes your participation in the governance of the organization through a democratically elected board of directors.

As a locally owned and controlled utility, WEC is in a better position to understand the needs of its members and can be quicker to react to help ensure the membership receives the best service possible.

Members are welcome to suggest improvements to the cooperative’s operations. Unlike large investor-owned utilities often with millions of customers, you can be assured your ideas are read by a real person in real time.

All cooperatives—whether it is your credit union, farm cooperative, telephone cooperative or any other of the 29,000 cooperatives that exist in the United States today—live by these seven principles:

  1. Voluntary and open membership
  2. Democratic member control
  3. Members’ economic participation
  4. Autonomy and independence
  5. Education, training and information
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives
  7. Concern for community

By integrating all of these principles together, your cooperative is able to serve your needs every day.

Courtesy of Adam Schwartz, founder of The Cooperative Way.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – February 2018

Dear Members:

Looking ahead to 2018, there will be some interesting challenges for Oregon electric cooperatives, especially in the upcoming legislative short session. I am writing to update you on an issue that threatens to make your electric bill more expensive for years to come.

The state of Oregon continues to demand that federal agencies that operate the Columbia River dams—such as the Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers— spill more water over the dams for juvenile fish passage. Spill occurs when water is sent through spill gates, rather than through the turbines. Spill is one of several passage routes for juvenile salmon, but too much spill can have negative consequences. It is also costly to you and the environment. The state of Oregon’s approach will cost ratepayers an estimated $40 million and increase regional greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 840,000 metric tons by substituting fossil-fuel generation for carbon-free hydropower.

This month, the Oregon Legislature will begin the debate of reducing carbon through a cap-and-trade program. It appears Oregon’s fish policy is misaligned with its carbon policy. The state wants to reduce emissions from power plants and the transportation sector, while limiting the production of carbon- free electricity from our incredible hydropower system.

In the coming weeks and months, I will ask for your support to convince our elected leaders that the Federal Columbia River Power System must continue to be part of the solution to reducing carbon in the Pacific Northwest, and that the state of Oregon should not pursue a risky spill program that will take money from hard-working Oregonians and increase carbon emissions.

Sincerely,

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – January 2018

Capital Credit Retirement

Last month, Wasco Electric Cooperative retired all of the 1987 capital margins back to members.

The total capital credits sent to members who received service in 1987 was $343,464. In addition to these general retirements, the co-op retired $34,500 to the estates of deceased members during the year, bringing the total capital credits returned to members in 2017 to $377,964.

Capital credits are unique to cooperatives such as Wasco Electric. Private power companies make profits and pay dividends to stockholders, but cooperatives work on a nonprofit basis and allocate their operating income back to their members.

Capital credits represent your share of the cooperative’s operating income— the operating revenue that remains after operating expenses.

The amount designated in your name each year depends on your energy purchases for the year. To calculate this, we divide your annual energy purchase by the cooperative’s operating income for the year. The more electricity you buy, the larger your share of the capital credits.

Next month, each member who received service last year will be mailed a statement of their 2017 capital credit allocation. The member’s allocation amount is based on the year-end operating margin.

Capital credits are not necessarily dollars in a bank account. They represent funds that have been invested in the co-op’s utility plant. Most months of the year, Wasco Electric receives more cash from operations than is necessary to pay for operating expenses. However, the cooperative needs cash for purposes other than paying for operating expenses. Wasco Electric must service its debt, which is payment of principal and interest on money it has borrowed.

The cooperative also must use cash to pay for capital expenditures. The amount of cash needed for capital expenditures is largely determined by the growth of a utility and the replacement schedule of its aging system.

Your board of directors considers distribution of capital credits and the effect on the financial well-being of the cooperative each year. The board has the discretion to return capital credits as long as the co-op is financially fit to return them without any additional borrowing in order to pay capital credits.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – November 2017

78th Annual Meeting

I would like to invite each member to attend this year’s annual meeting Saturday, November 18, at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center at 402 W. Scenic Drive in The Dalles. The doors open for registration at 11 a.m. Lunch is served at noon.

We will have a catered buffet luncheon; musical entertainment; a guest speaker; reports from the board, manager, attorney and auditor; and the election of three board members for three-year terms.

There will be prize drawings throughout the meeting.

The information booklets—including resumes of the candidates for election, the program of the day, financial report, and the absentee ballot for the director election—were mailed to each member November 1. The photos and resumes of the candidates are on pages 4 and 5 of this issue of Ruralite.

We look forward to seeing you at the annual meeting. If you are unable to attend, please vote and mail your absentee ballot to Secretary, c/o Wasco Electric Cooperative, P.O. Box 1700, The Dalles, OR, 97058, or drop them by the office by Friday, November 17.

General Manager Jeff Davis

Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – October 2017

New Rate Structure Effective with November Billing

In late July, the Bonneville Power Administration announced a regionwide rate increase of 5.4 percent to its wholesale power rates to the region’s utilities. The increase stems from higher costs to operate and maintain the aging hydro system, higher long-term fish and wildlife costs, upgrades to an aging transmission system and reduced revenues from surplus power sales due to lower market prices for energy.

In anticipation of this rate increase, Wasco Electric started a rate review process late last year with a consulting firm that conducted a cost-of-service analysis. The goals of this study were to create a rate structure that fairly allocated costs among the different rate classifications to eliminate particular classifications from subsidizing the other rate classes, as well as separate the fixed costs of the cooperative from the variable energy costs.

After several months of reviewing different rate options, in August the board of directors adopted a new rate structure with an eight-year phase-in to get to the true cost of service and create cost equalization among rate classifications.

The first year of this new rate structure will result in an overall increase in revenue from rates of 3.2 percent. The actual increase in rates among the rate classifications will vary from no increase to a 7.67 percent increase, depending on that classification’s current contribution to the overall financial needs of the cooperative.

A complete breakdown of the rate changes among the different classifications that will go into effect with your November billing statement.

Director Elections

The Wasco Electric Cooperative nominating committee, consisting of members from each director district, met September 6 to nominate candidates for election at this year’s annual meeting.

This year’s candidates for election to three-year terms as director are:

  • District 1: Mathew Clausen, incumbent. Two nominees declined nomination.
  • District 2: Ron Holmes, incumbent; and Stacy Eakin. Two nominees declined nomination.
  • District 3: DeOra Patton, incumbent; four nominees declined nomination.

These candidates are up for election at the 78th Annual Meeting of Wasco Electric Cooperative on Saturday, November 18. I invite each of you to attend.

If you are unable to attend, absentee ballots and the annual meeting booklet will be mailed at the end of October. I encourage each member to vote on the leadership of the cooperative.

As always, if you have any questions regarding any aspect of your cooperative, feel free to stop by or give us a call.

Jeff Davis
General Manager