Spring Forward: Prepare for Summer Heat, Increase Energy Savings
Manager's Memo April 2014
As spring approaches, SVEC would like to remind members that adding a few items to your list of spring chores can help make your home more energy efficient and deliver electric bills that won’t make you sweat when temperatures soar. You can also visit TogetherWeSave.com to find out how little measures around the house can add up to big energy savings as temperatures outside climb.
Start with your air conditioner.
Spring and early summer are good times to make sure that your air conditioning unit is ready to work when you flip the switch:
• Get help from a professional who can inspect and service your unit.
• Give your air conditioner a do-it-yourself cleaning. Shut the unit off, and clear away leaves and yard debris outside. Inside the unit, clean or replace filters that can restrict air flow and reduce overall efficiency by making the air conditioner work harder on hot summer days. Dust the fan blades if you can do so safely. Make sure air can flow freely over the inside and outside coils. Vacuum registers to remove any dust buildup.
• Check weather stripping. When using window units, ensure that weather stripping is in place. Placement should be between the middle of the top window pane and the bottom pane.
Check out your roof. See how well your roof has weathered the winter. Few things can shorten the life of your home faster than a roof leak, even a minor one can damage your attic insulation before you know it. A roofing professional can assess and repair things like loose or missing shingles, repair leaks, and clear gutters.
Between the Lines-Spring Cleaning Delivers Safe, Reliable Power
Manager's Memo March 2014
Spring gives us a chance to thaw out after a chilly winter. I take advantage of longer daylight hours by doing a little spring cleaning and yard work. But the seasonal shift isn’t all good news. The rapid change from harsh, cold air to warmer temperatures can trigger severe weather. To protect our lines and keep power flowing safely to your home, Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative maintains our rights-of-way. Think of it as spring cleaning for power lines.
Right-of-way (ROW) maintenance keeps tree limbs and other obstacles away from high-voltage power lines. It’s an important part of the service we provide to you, our members, for three reasons: safety, reliability, and cost.
Our primary concern is the safety of our workers and members. Properly maintained ROW keeps our crews safe when they are restoring service and maintaining our system. Keeping trees clear of power lines also keeps your family safe. From making sure a child’s tree house does not hit power lines to creating a safe environment while doing yard work, a well-maintained ROW helps avoid tragedy.
Power lines are a constant part of our landscape; it’s easy to forget they are around. We work hard to keep the area around our lines clear, but we need your help. Be alert this spring. Don’t plant trees or tall vegetation under power lines, and keep an eye out for power lines when working in your yard.
The Seminole Generating Station: 30 Years and Counting
Manager's Memo February 2014
When you think of birthdays, wedding days, and graduations, there is one thing these occasions all have in common: anniversaries. Anniversaries can be celebrated with friends, family, even coworkers. Seminole Electric Cooperative (Seminole), SVEC’s wholesale power provider, celebrated one of its own anniversaries at the start of the New Year. January 2014 marked the 30th year that Seminole’s coal-fired power plant, the Seminole Generating Station (SGS), has been producing electricity for its Members, including SVEC.
The decision for Seminole to build a coal-fired power plant was a result of the 1978 Power Plant and Industrial Fuel Use Act, banning the use of natural gas for power generation. Approval from Seminole’s Board of Trustees, made up of 27-Member trustees, including three SVEC Board members, kick started Seminole’s goal to provide Members power through self-owned generating facilities at a wholesale rate. After several years of planning and construction, the first of two coal units at SGS became commercially available in January 1984. The second unit came online later that same year.
Consisting of two 650-megawatt coal-fired generating units, SGS is located on a 2,000-acre site in Palatka, Florida, about 60 miles south of Jacksonville. To supply the coal needed to operate SGS at full capacity, Seminole operates seven, 100 car trains that deliver coal from mines located more than 800 miles away. Maintained by teams of specially trained employees, SGS produces enough electricity to power approximately 850,000 homes.
In 2003, Seminole’s Board of Trustees made a strategic decision and a crucial investment that is paying off considerably today - agreeing to invest millions of dollars in upgrading and retrofitting the two coal-based generating units at SGS with state-of-the-art environmental control equipment. In total, SGS has more than $530 million invested in control equipment, reducing emissions and protecting the environment. Today, not only is SGS one of the cleanest coal-fired power plants in the U.S., it is also one of the most reliable plants in the country.
Seminole, in partnership with SVEC has worked diligently to meet our ongoing energy needs and to exceed in complying with federal regulations. For 30 years, the Seminole Generating Station has been a cornerstone for Seminole, its Members, and its energy portfolio. Thanks to the foresight of Seminole’s Board of Trustees in 1984, our Members will continue to receive affordable and reliable electricity from a generation facility we are proud to own.
Seminole believes it makes good business sense to have a diversified generation portfolio. In addition to coal-based generation at SGS, Seminole also generates electricity from natural gas, and now boasts Florida’s largest renewable portfolio. The diversity in Seminole’s generation mix reduces exposure to changing market conditions and helps keep rates competitive.
Coal, which was once a mandated fossil fuel for power generation, is now being restricted and overly regulated. As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gears up to release strict federal regulations for existing power plants, including coal-fired facilities like SGS, cooperatives all over the U.S. and their Members are urging the EPA to keep an “All-of-the-above” energy approach.
Visit www.Action.Coop for more information.