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Highly Efficient Generating Facility to Slash CO2 Emissions

Seminole Electric Cooperative—Peace River Electric Cooperative’s wholesale energy provider—is projected to lower its carbon dioxide emissions in 2024 by 48% from 2005 levels, thanks to the closing of a coal-fired generating unit, adding 300 MW of solar power and constructing a new gas-fired generating facility.

With a generating capacity of approximately 1,050 megawatts, the new highly efficient natural gas-fired Seminole Combined Cycle Facility is planned to be commercially operational in 2022.

Currently named the Seminole Combined Cycle Facility (SCCF), the new plant is being constructed directly adjacent to the existing Seminole Generating Station site in Putnam County, Florida, and will have a generating capacity of approximately 1,050 megawatts.

Construction of the new plant is proceeding on schedule and within budget. As of June 30, the project was 46% complete. All major plant components for the project have been delivered to the site. The plant is scheduled to be commercially operational by the fall of 2022.

“Seminole and its Members have invested in a new generation facility with the latest technologies in efficiency and reliability,” said Paul Champion, Quality Assurance/Control Coordinator for the SCCF project. “There are many advantages with a new gas-fired power station, economically and environmentally, that will benefit our community.”

Seminole has also committed to adding 300 MW of additional solar power to its portfolio. With the addition of the solar power, and the removal of one of the coal units from service, Seminole is projected to lower its carbon dioxide emissions in 2024 by 48% from 2005 levels.

The inclusion of SCCF and the additional solar resources in Seminole’s power supply mix will align with Seminole’s purpose; to provide essential wholesale services to its Members through a balanced, diversified portfolio of safe, affordable, and reliable energy resources.

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National Voter Registration Day – September 28th

National Voter Registration Day celebrates our country’s democracy by encouraging every eligible American to vote!

On September 28, 2021, Americans will celebrate National Voter Registration Day with a massive cross-country effort to register voters ahead of critical state and local elections in 2021 and midterm elections in 2022. All across the country, communities are planning to use National Voter Registration Day to get registered and get #VoteReady.

Every eligible American voter should have the option to exercise his or her right to be heard at the ballot box, and National Voter Registration Day is the right day to start by getting registered. Americans can register at hundreds of events across the nation and online at NationalVoterRegistrationDay.org.

Voting is a shared American freedom, but to exercise this basic right, you must be registered to vote! That’s why Peace River Electric Cooperative is a proud partner and supporter of National Voter Registration Day and Co-ops Vote, a non-partisan political engagement effort.


Co-ops Vote is a program of America’s Electric Cooperatives developed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives. With 42 million members in 47 states, Co-ops Vote focuses on strengthening the connection between the co-op, its employees and members, and those that serve us in Washington, D.C., and in our state capitols.

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Stop Scammers – Know the Signs

Scammers continually target PRECO members, changing their tactics daily. Below are some of the most popular tricks employed by these individuals, followed by some tips our members can use to protect themselves and their finances.

Hang up on Phone Scams

Scammers call threatening disconnection of electric service, demanding payment immediately using prepaid cards purchased at local retail stores. PRECO will send one or more disconnection notices before disconnecting or shutting off electric service. The cooperative will also offer several billing payment options without specifying which type of payment must be made.

TRICKS

Bill Payment or Credit Con

Scammers may provide phony account routing numbers to pay utility bills. In exchange for personal information that can be used to steal your identity, they will provide a payment account number. If the number is entered during an online transaction, it may appear the utility has been paid, but no funds are actually paid, the account balance remains due, and late fees may be applied by the utility.

Equipment or Repair Bogus Fee

Scammers call demanding separate payments to replace or install a utility-related device or meter. If a utility needs to upgrade or replace equipment, it will contact you ahead of time as a courtesy. If there is a charge related to work on equipment members own, our members will be notified ahead of time and it will typically be included on the monthly billing statement.

Overpayment Trick

Scammers call claiming overpayment has been made on an account and personal bank account or credit card information is needed to facilitate a refund. This is not true. PRECO typically applies any overpayments to accounts, allowing credit balances to cover any future charges, or refunds overpayments by mailing a check.

Power Restoration Rip Off

Scammers call offering to restore power quickly or in a preferential order for immediate payment or an upfront “reconnection fee,” typically in the aftermath of hurricanes and other severe storms causing widespread power outages. PRECO does not require payment to restore electricity after natural disasters, unless, of course, your service was disconnected for non-payment prior to the storm.

Smishing Scam

Smishing, short for SMS phishing, is a relatively new scam that attempts to trick mobile phone users into giving scammers personal information, which can be used for identity theft, via a text or SMS message. Scammers like smishing as members tend to be more inclined to trust text messages. PRECO will not text you unless you have signed up for a specific notification service we offer.

Bogus Bills

Scammers send suspicious emails that appear to be bills sent by PRECO – even going as far as to feature our logo and color scheme. Do NOT click on any links or attachments in any email unless the sender has been verified. These emails may link to a scam website designed to steal personal information or install malicious software onto computers. PRECO typically sends bills by mail, unless members have opted to receive bills electronically.

TIPS

Protect Personal Information

Never provide or confirm personal information (Social Security number, date of birth) or financial information (banking account information, debit or credit card information) to anyone initiating contact with you, whether by phone, in-person, or email, claiming to represent PRECO. Never give out information or provide any payment information to any callers or individual(s) appearing at your home or business claiming to represent PRECO.

Take Your Time

Do not be rushed. If someone calls, appears or emails saying to pay bills immediately to avoid disconnection, hang up and call 800-282-3824 to verify it is PRECO. Beware if a caller or in-person representative exhibits anger or impatience when questioned. Scammers will discourage hang ups or calling the number listed on your bill.

Always Ask Questions

Ask the person calling or visiting to verify account numbers, last payment date, or provide their employee identification number. If he or she is a legitimate representative, this information is readily accessible. If not, hang up or shut the door, and call PRECO. Before providing any information or purchasing any products from someone appearing out of the blue, independently confirm their identity and the authenticity of their business by researching it online – verify the website and contact information and search for reviews.

Report the Scam to PRECO

Document what the scammer said, including their name, date, time, caller ID, employee identification, the method and amount of payment requested, phone numbers, and any other details that might be used to assist law enforcement.

Pay Your Utility Only

Never make payment to anyone calling on the phone, texting or emailing. Always call PRECO at the number provided on the bill or website if you have a question about payment or billing information. Know payment options offered by the co-op – online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail, MoneyGram, payment kiosk or in person.

Stay Updated on Scams

Scammers constantly update their tactics; stay educated on new types of scams and tips to avoid them.

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Take Control of Summer Energy Bills

Everyone expects Florida summers to make their air conditioner run overtime. But, do you sometimes wonder if you are doing everything possible to keep your home comfortable while keeping power costs down?

Each of us has the power to help control our energy costs. I encourage you to make thoughtful choices to make energy savings pay off.

Look to the west of your home. Do you have trees, a porch overhang, or awnings shading windows exposed to the afternoon sun?  If not, radiant heat may be driving up indoor temperatures and adding to your overall cooling costs.

Window coverings can help. Blinds or shades can deflect the sun, and draperies lined with a thermal radiant barrier can block up to 95% of sunlight and 100% of ultraviolet rays.

Are you taking advantage of airflow? A ceiling fan can pull warm air up above your living zone and make a difference during the summer. Plus, air blowing across our skin makes us feel more comfortable. However, make sure you turn fans off in unoccupied rooms to save energy.

Airflow is important when it comes to HVAC filters too. Dirty filters restrict air circulation, causing your cooling system to work harder. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on replacing disposable filters or cleaning permanent ones. If you’ve got pets, check the filter more often.

Consider these energy facts:

  • One open window can pull as much conditioned air outside as an uncapped chimney.
  • Lighting and ventilation fans add convenience and provide benefits when needed but waste energy when left on and unattended.
  • A bag of ice poured into a cooler will chill summer beverages as effectively and less expensively than keeping an aging refrigerator in a hot garage.

Visit www.preco.coop/energy/saving for more energy-saving tips and ideas that can help you control energy costs and reduce summer energy use.

Consider talking to a PRECO energy advisor at 800-282-3824. We can help you identify and correct problems that may be contributing to higher bills and increased energy use in your home.

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PRECO Closely Monitoring Tropical Storm Elsa

Peace River Electric Cooperative (PRECO) is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Elsa’s projected path and is prepared to meet any challenges presented by this storm.

PRECO is committed to restoring service to each of its members as quickly as possible. The cooperative has a proven emergency response plan designed to adequately guide storm preparation and restoration efforts, as needed. To prepare for situations such as this, PRECO employees undergo annual training. They stand ready to quickly respond if power is interrupted by this storm.

In the event of a power outage, PRECO reminds you that improper generator hookup can create serious problems in safety and service. A generator attached to a home electrical system must have a proper transfer switch installed by a qualified electrician in order to provide safe backup power. This device prevents the deadly backfeed of electricity onto power lines which could endanger the lives of PRECO line crews working to restore power.

For your safety, never approach a downed power line because it could kill or injure you if it is energized.

To report an outage, use PRECO’s SmartHub mobile app, text OUT to 800-282-3824 or call 800-282-3824. For updates, find us on Facebook or visit www.preco.coop.

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Our Daily Bread Receives ORU Grant to Expand Operations

Our Daily Bread of Bradenton feeds approximately 27,000 Manatee County residents per year. This local ministry provides dry goods, fresh produce and frozen meats and serves mid-day meals to needy families at no charge. But, to meet a growing demand for their services, ODB has found it necessary to purchase an adjacent property. They turned to Operation Round Up for help and received a $10,000 grant.

As the charitable wing of Peace River Electric Cooperative, Operation Round Up makes grants to individuals and organizations related to food, shelter, health and clothing needs.

“The building and property next to our present facility became available, so we seized the opportunity and purchased them,” shares Robert Eikill, ODB treasurer. “The building needs lots of work, including a new roof, paving, interior demolition and renovation. Not only has the property resolved our storage problems, but it has also helped alleviate our parking issues. This grant from Operation Round Up will help us better serve our community for years to come.”

To learn more about ODB, visit www.ourdailybreadofbradenton.org.

Operation Round Up is made possible through the donations of Peace River Electric’s consumers who allow their electric bills to be rounded up to the next dollar for charitable purposes. For more information about the Operation Round Up program or to download an application, go to www.preco.coop.

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PRECO 2021 Scholarship Winners

Fulfilling Hopes and Dreams

PRECO’s Operation Round Up Foundation invests $104,000 in scholarships to help local students achieve their career goals.

The future is looking bright for 21 local students receiving college scholarships from their electric cooperative. Operation Round Up, the charitable foundation of Wauchula-based Peace River Electric Cooperative, recently granted a total of $104,000 in scholarships for a group of hard-working college-bound students.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a financial toll on many families in our service area,” states Ellen Hamel, Operation Round Up chairperson. “For some students, this scholarship opportunity may spell the difference between going to college or staying home this year.”

Funding for Operation Round Up comes from the donations of PRECO’s consumers. Each participating consumer’s electric bill is “rounded up” to the next dollar to provide charitable funds in the areas of food, shelter, clothing, health, environmental and education needs. Participation is voluntary.

Since 2006, Operation Round Up has granted more than $1 million in college scholarships to 214 local students.

$8,000, 4-year scholarships

Sophia Coscia – Booker High School
New York University
Entertainment Production and Design

Kyle Evans – Southeast High School
Cornell University
Environmental Engineering

Julia Kuehn – Lakewood Ranch High School
Florida State University
Pediatric Medicine

Kyndra McLeod
University of South Florida
Health Science/Physical Therapy

Emma Paliotta – Lakewood Ranch High School
University of Florida
Veterinary Medicine

$4,000, 2-year scholarships

Kaila Amato – State College of Florida
University of South Florida
Psychology/ Dental Hygiene

Garrett Andrews – Lakewood Ranch High School
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Civil Engineering

James Ansley – Cardinal Mooney High School
University of South Florida
Doctor of Pharmacy

Brett Bennett – Hardee High School
Universal Technical Institute
Automotive Technology

Karleen Cassidy – Palmetto High School
Southeastern University
Elementary Education

Lance Duch
University of Florida
Microbiology and Cell Science

Abby Duke – Hardee High School
South Florida State College
Associate of Arts

Lauren Genewick – Palmetto High School
Florida State University
Biological Sciences

Karson Goodwyn – Hardee High School
Johnson University
Elementary Education

Madison Kahler – Lakewood Ranch High School
Florida State University
Doctor of Dentistry

Connor Keclik – Lakewood Ranch High School
University of Central Florida
Aerospace Engineering

Natalie Novak
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Doctor of Healthcare Administration

Jean Ozit, Jr.
University of Central Florida
Aerospace Engineering

Kelly Rome
Galen College of Nursing
Associate Degree in Nursing

Hayden Ross – Southeast High School
University of Florida
Biomedical Engineering

Hayden Simon – Southeast High School
Carnegie Mellon University
Materials Science

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Hurricane Tip: Use Portable Electric Generators Safely

Electricity powers many conveniences in our lives, so it’s only natural for families to turn to portable electric generators during long-term outages. However, if generators are not used properly, things can turn deadly.

During 2009 – 2019, 686 people died due to carbon monoxide poisoning related to portable generator use, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Practice portable generator safety

  • Follow manufacturers’ directions for installation and operation.
  • To avoid electric shock, ensure the unit is properly grounded as described in the operation manual.
  • Never use indoors, in garages or carports.
  • Use only in a well-ventilated, dry area away from air intakes to the house.
  • Do not overload the generator by powering more appliances and equipment than the unit can handle. Check the operation manual for the unit’s output rating.
  • Plug appliances directly into the receptacle outlet of the generator using heavy-duty extension cords. Cords should be rated for outdoor use and have a grounded, three-pronged plug.
  • Never plug a generator into a household outlet.
  • Do not refuel a generator while it is running.
  • Store fuel outside of living areas and away from heat sources like water heater pilot lights.
  • Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
  • Keep children and pets away from generators.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends using a portable generator at least 20 feet from your home. Please keep your loved ones safe by practicing safe generator use.

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We’re Ready for Storm Season. Are You?

From the desk of the CEO

Summer is here, and I welcome more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors like many of you. For me, summertime means more afternoons on the water and cooking out with family and friends.

But summer months also make conditions favorable for dangerous storms. Hurricane season officially kicks off on June 1. These powerful cyclones can severely impact our electrical system. But, PRECO has a proven recovery plan if hurricanes or summer storms occur.

When major storms knock out power, our line crews take all necessary precautions before working on downed lines. I encourage you also to practice safety and preparedness to protect your family during storms and outages.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends the items below as a starting point for storm preparedness. Visit www.ready.gov for more resources.

  • Stock a three-day supply of non-perishable foods, such as canned goods, energy bars, peanut butter, powdered milk, water, and other essentials like diapers and toiletries.
  • Gather hygiene supplies, including towelettes, soap, and hand sanitizer.
  • Your First Aid kit should contain pain relievers, bandages, and other medical essentials. Don’t forget your prescription medicines.
  • Set aside the basics, like flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener, and battery-powered radio or TV.
  • Organize emergency supplies so they are easily accessible in one location.

For prolonged power outages, turn off major appliances, TVs, computers, and other sensitive electronics. This will help avert damage from a power surge and avoid overloading the circuits during power restoration. Leave one light on to alert you when power is restored. If you plan to use a small generator, make sure it’s rated to handle the amount of energy you need, and always review the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.

Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for storm and emergency information, and check our website, www.preco.coop, for important updates.

After the storm, avoid downed power lines and walking through flooded areas where power lines could be submerged. Allow ample space for utility crews to perform their jobs safely, including on your property.

Advance planning can reduce stress and anxiety in the aftermath of storms and hurricanes. At PRECO, we recommend that you act today because there is power in planning. From our co-op family to yours, we hope you have a safe and wonderful summer.

Randy Shaw

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PRECO Electric Rates Go Down – Again!

For the second time in under 5 years, we are reducing base electric rates. Recent studies performed on PRECO’s costs and revenues show that an overall rate decrease of 4.1% is warranted. In addition, the Cost of Power Adjustment is being lowered to pass even more savings on to our members. New rates go into effect on April 1, 2021.

Residential Rate Change Summary

Type of Charge                                       March 2021                               April 2021    

Energy Charges:

First 1,000 kWh                                       $ 0. 11456  per kWh                    $ 0.11100  per kWh

Over 1,000 kWh                                      $ 0. 13456  per kWh                     $ 0.12100  per kWh

Cost of Power Adjustment                     $ (0.02150) per kWh                    $ (0.02300) per kWh

Facilities Use Charge                                  $26.50 per month                     $28.00 per month


Power Cost Adjustment – Did you know?

Over the past 2 years, PRECO has reduced your energy charges through the Cost of Power Adjustment (CPA) 6 times, for a total reduction of $7.50 for each 1,000 kWh purchased.

PRECO purchases all your power needs from Seminole Electric Cooperative through a wholesale power contract.

PRECO does not mark up the price of power it purchases from Seminole. The power you consume is sold to you at PRECO’s cost.

Approximately 60% of the total charge on your bill comes from the purchase of wholesale power.

The kWh charge in our base rates includes an estimate of $0.090000 per kWh for wholesale power cost.

PRECO uses the CPA to “true up” the estimated $0.090000 per kWh sold to the actual price of kWh sold. Currently, the CPA is a credit of $23.00 per 1,000 kWh.