Nearly 300 members joined us at the Braham Event Center for ECE's 87th Annual Meeting on April 20. Read more.
We celebrated Arbor Day at Pine City Elementary, sharing three important features with fourth graders:
How to plant trees properly in locations where they won’t grow into power lines
How contractors safely climb for tree work
The importance of not playing near electrical equipment
Are the Memorial Day 2022 summer storms still fresh in your mind? Your co-op certainly remembers the most impactful summer storm since 2011. That multi-day event impacted over 11,000 members at its peak with around 45 broken poles. Or how about the heavy, wet snow of the mid-December storm, creating a need for 19 outside crews to help with restoration efforts? While we’re hoping for a quiet 2023 storm season, we should all be prepared just in case.
Statistically, most of ECE’s outages come from trees falling from outside the cleared corridor, or branches that break and fall. Check your property for hazards that include dead, dying, diseased, decayed, cracked, or uprooting/unstable trees. Also look for branches that are cracked, poorly attached, broken, dead, or overhanging conductors. Try to safely address issues before storms hit.
We approach vegetation management with a proactive mindset. In 2023, we’re planning for about 860 miles of routine clearing and another 450 miles of herbicide application treatment. Our contractors only treat the tall-growing, woody plants within the powerline corridor with products that are non-toxic to pollinators. This way, the pollinator-friendly plants eventually dominate the powerline corridor and are a rich nectar source.
The efforts of our Forestry Department have been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation, which has designated ECE as a Tree Line USA Utility for 18 years in a row! Over the years, our approach has helped to greatly reduce the number of outages caused by trees and limbs, while avoiding future expenses. Log into SmartHub to sign up for email notifications about possible clearing in your area.
Join ECE and Great River Energy at our second annual Pollineighbor Party, scheduled for Saturday, June 17 from noon-2 p.m. at the 100 Acre Homestead (6360 60th Ave., Princeton, MN).
Help us kick off Pollinator Week with a farm-to-table food truck, free activities for the whole family—including trivia prizes, seed ball creation, farm animals, and more—plus enjoy acres of wildflowers and honey hives.
Don’t forget to check out the farm’s locally-crafted food and wares. For the safety of the free-range animals, please leave your pets at home.
Watch ECE’s Facebook page for more information!
You might not realize it, but we’re not just another utility company. We are a cooperative, and that means every member has a voice. We are conducting a random telephone/online survey to explore member views about co-op programs and services.
If you are contacted for the survey, we would appreciate your participation.
Over the last several months, you have likely seen emails, social media posts, and articles in the Co-op Advantage referencing “ECE Fiber coming soon.” Well, plans are in motion and it’s full speed ahead!
We’ve received nearly four million feet of fiber; if you drive through downtown Braham, you might notice large rolls of orange conduit that will be used in our underground applications. Construction is scheduled to start May 8 in the Dalbo area, and we will continue working through Phase 1 of our building plan throughout the remainder of 2023.
In addition to construction breaking ground, your co-op has signed a contract to purchase a new building site located in the Braham Industrial Park. The site will house employees from both our fiber and electric sides of the business.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more updates, and be sure to visit ecefiber.com to express your interest, check out construction zones, and view plan/pricing options!
ECE is conducting an independent cost-of-service study to determine if we are equitably recovering our costs from each of our rate classes. As the name suggests, it will look at our cost to serve each rate class and the cost components within each. Last conducted in 2017, this study also looks at your energy rate and cost of basic charge, the fixed charge on your monthly bill.
We have a responsibility to you, our members, to make sure we are collecting rates as equitably as we can. Many costs are impacted by the economic fluctuations (wires, poles, and taxes). It is important to collect enough from members to cover our costs, and adjusting rates from time to time allows us to continue investing in our infrastructure to ensure good reliability. Energy prices also vary significantly in the wholesale market, driven by weather and capacity requirements. When prices are high, we ask everyone to conserve to reduce costs for the cooperative. You will typically see these social media requests on especially hot or cold days.
As an electric cooperative, we are a not-for-profit organization. We aren’t motivated solely by revenue, and excess margins are allocated back to you as capital credits. Considering the restructure of electric rates is one of the most challenging and important tasks your board tackles. This study will guide us in protecting the integrity and financial stability of your co-op. The study will be completed this fall, and results will be shared in a future newsletter.
At your service we remain,
Your co-op has limited-time rebates available for the mowing season. New (not refurbished) battery-powered mowers must be purchased May-July 2023; battery must be included in price (no corded mowers).