Operation RoundUp awards nearly $13,000 in support of community efforts

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom, Roanoke Forestry News

Conference for region’s forest landowners scheduled for Oct. 25-26 in Rocky Mount

AULANDER, N.C., Sept. 13, 2022 – Forest and farm owners in eastern North Carolina have the opportunity in late October to learn about assistance available from federal and state agencies, about forest carbon markets, and strategies for effective estate planning. The Forest Landowner Conference sponsored by Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project (SFLRP) will be held on Oct. 25-26 in Rocky Mount, N.C.

The conference is free to the public. It will be held in the Rocky Mount Event Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days. Speakers and exhibitors from more than 20 agencies, nongovernmental organizations and companies will take part, including: the North Carolina Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the North Carolina Forestry Association, the Black Family Land Trust, Domtar, Enviva and many others. Advance registration is required.

The conference will feature two sessions as follows:

  • Session 1. 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Oct. 25  —  The keynote speaker is Rita Hite, president and chief executive officer of the American Forest Foundation (AFF). Other Session 1 speakers include Mavis Gragg, an attorney and conservationist who specializes in estate planning and conflict resolution; Flynn Bucy, managing director of Nature4Justice; and Omoyemeh Jennifer Ile, a PhD candidate at NC State University’s Tree Physiology and Ecosystem Science Laboratory.
  • Session 2, 8:30 a.m. — 3:30 p.m. Oct. 26  —  Session 2 speakers include Will Dudenhauser, training director for the Dispute Settlement Center; Tatiana Height, Southern Regional Director for AFF’s Family Forest Carbon Program; Julius George, Assistant State Conservationist in North Carolina for the NRCS; and Rob Lipford, staff forester for the North Carolina Forest Service.

The Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project began in 2013 as a partnership between the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Forest Service and, more recently, the American Forest Foundation. The program works to restore and conserve threatened forestland in 13 North Carolina counties by increasing forest-owner income and land asset values. The counties are: Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Gates, Granville, Halifax, Hertford, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Perquimans, Vance and Warren. All landowners owning at least one contiguous eight-acre parcel of woodland are eligible to participate. See www.recforestry.org for more information on the program.

Forest landowners do not have to live in these counties to participate in the conference. The registration deadline is October 13.

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Contact: Alton Perry, SFLRP Director

aperry@roanokeelectric.com

252-539-4614

Roanoke Electric Newsroom

You’re not alone in the dark

Jimmy Liverman, Vice President of Engineering & Operations

Electricity powers our lives. We depend on it for nearly everything we do. So, we understand how frustrating it can be when you’re left in the dark.

Power outages are never convenient. It takes a lot of hands to keep your power on, and even more hands to get it up and running when an outage occurs. Roanoke Electric Cooperative works hard to restore your electric service when outages occur, but there are necessary steps to take to ensure that power is restored to the majority of members as quickly, and safely, as possible.

After a major storm, Roanoke Electric Cooperative line crews must identify which towers, poles and lines have incurred damage. Very rarely, but occasionally in the case of a major storm such as a hurricane or tornado, transmission towers can be damaged. If that is the case, tens of thousands of members could be affected. Repairing damage to transmission lines is top priority when it comes to restoring power.

High voltage transmission stations feed power to Roanoke’s 12 distribution substations. These substations serve thousands of members. If there is no damage done to transmission towers, the local distribution substations are checked first. If the issue is isolated and can be resolved at the substation level, great! That means thousands of people can get their power restored at once.

At times, the issue cannot be isolated to one of our distribution substations. If that is the case, Roanoke’s crews inspect supply lines between the substations and the meters they serve. If the supply lines can be repaired, power can be restored to the towns and homes those lines serve, as long as there is no damage to the tap lines.

Tap lines carry power to the transformers located underground or connected to poles outside of homes and other buildings. Our line crews identify which damaged lines to work on first based on which lines will restore power to the greatest number of members.

Many times, the issue is resolved once the tap lines are repaired. But have you ever lost power only to look next door and see the lights still blazing from your neighbor’s window? When this happens, it generally means that the service line between your home and the nearby transformer has been damaged. If this happens, call our outage line right away so we can send a line crew to your home.

Power restoration can be a tricky business, so if you lose service in your home or neighborhood, please remember the following:

  • Stay clear of downed power lines. Contact with these lines could be life threatening.
  • Report the outage by calling 1(800) 358-9437 or text OUTAGE to 352667 as soon as possible.
  • Make sure to inform us if loss of power to your home affects life support systems or could cause any additional threat to health and safety.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation whenever an outage occurs. For more information on outages as well as service updates, stay connected with your cooperative on Twitter and Facebook, or check our website at roanokeelectric.com.

Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Time-of-Day rate schedule changes Oct. 16

On Oct. 16, Roanoke Electric Co-op member-owners who participate in the co-op’s Residential Time-of-Day Rate are scheduled for a rate adjustment.

Participants in this program pay a lower rate for using energy during off-peak hours.

“As we prepare for a change in the seasons, we would like to remind participants that when they use electricity is just as important as how much they use,” said Basil Williams, the co-op’s manager of member services. “The voluntary program helps member-owners reduce their monthly electric bills by modifying their energy consumption patterns – saving participants, on average, $35 per month.”

Beginning on Oct. 16 and through April 16, on-peak hours when rates are higher, are 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., Monday-Friday.  From April 16 – Oct. 16, on-peak hours are 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. All other time periods are considered off-peak, when participants will be charged a lower rate for energy consumed.

For more information or to enroll the co-op’s voluntary Residential Time-of-Day Rate service plan, call (252) 209-2236. Visit our Rates page for a full list of our rate schedules

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Member-owners donate more than $5,000 to local organizations via Operation RoundUp

The Roanoke Electric Co-op’s Care Trust Board has allocated $5,795 in grants to support three community initiatives — funding made possible through Operation RoundUp.

REC representatives and members of Conway Volunteer Fire Department.

The co-op’s longstanding charitable community service program supports organizations that serve the health, safety, educational or recreational needs of citizens in the co-op’s service area.  Member-owners who volunteer to participate in the program “round up” their monthly electric bill to the next whole dollar.  The money raised is donated to charitable causes.

At its recent quarterly meeting, the co-op board designated funding to the following local organizations:

  • Conway Volunteer Fire Department (Conway): Awarded $2,400 to purchase six pagers critical to communicating during emergencies.
  • Northampton County Relay for Life (Rich Square): Awarded $1,500 to purchase gas vouchers for cancer patients traveling to and from medical appointments.
  • Perrytown Volunteer Fire Department (Colerain): Awarded $1,895 to replace its outdated computer system to better access and submit the necessary reports required for state governmental agencies.

For more information about participating in Operation RoundUp or applying for funding, please call (252) 209-2236 or visit our roanokeelectric.com/roundup.

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Co-op to host second annual Energy Solutions Expo Oct. 7

Roanoke Electric Cooperative will host its second annual Energy Solutions Expo on Oct. 7 at the Ahoskie Amphitheater.

“As we continue to serve the best interest of our membership, this special event is one of the ways the co-op is addressing the pocketbook issues of great concern to many in our community,” said Roanoke Electric Co-op President & CEO Marshall Cherry. “It will present opportunities for us to learn about the latest innovative technologies that can help all of us save money and energy.”

Event highlights will include guest appearances from elected officials and a technology showcase, featuring everything from electric vehicles to an array of smart energy-efficiency devices for the home.

The outdoor expo, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Co-op’s upcoming Power Hour webinar to focus on safety

Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s upcoming Power Hour webinar on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. will focus on how you can continue to keep you and your families safe.

Throughout the pandemic, we emphasized health and safety protocols to keep you safe at home and at work. This hour-long event will give you resources on how to stay safe in everything from hunting season, tourism and travel, electricity, and hurricane and storm preparedness. Participants will also hear from local fire and rescue departments on the financial resources that are available to help local nonprofits through the co-op’s Operation RoundUp program.

Featured presenters include:

  • Tyrone Ruffin, Sgt. Bertie County Sheriff’s Office

  • Paul Nowell, Captain of Gaston Volunteer Fire Department

  • Mark Vick, Fire Chief of Rich Square Fire Department

  • Keith Lee, Fire Chief of Perrytown Volunteer Fire Department

Webinar participants are encouraged to join the discussion via Zoom on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Cofield wins Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s big electric vehicle giveaway

Another electric vehicle owner is on the road to savings after winning a 2015 Ford Focus EV at Roanoke Electric Co-op’s 83rd Annual Meeting – courtesy of funds made available through the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation.

Bertie County Schools Career Technical Education Program Coordinator and co-op member-owner, Wanda Cofield, was the lucky winner of this year’s EV Raffle.

Cofield was overjoyed to learn that she would be driving away with her brand new EV.  She is glad that she will be able to do her part in securing a greener future by reducing carbon emissions.

With eight participants now enrolled in the EV Pilot Program, the co-op is currently seeking additional member-owners to join the ranks of Cofield and others. The first ten to sign up will also become part of the co-op’s EV Ambassador Leadership Program, designed to promote the many benefits of owning an electric vehicle.

For more information about the co-op’s EV Pilot Program, call 252-209-2236 or visit www.roanokeelectric.com/ev.  Member-owners may also schedule a test drive in the co-op’s electric vehicle.

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Connect News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Cherry delivers first annual meeting address

For the second year in a row, more than 200 member-owners participated in Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s 83rd annual meeting.  The virtual event was celebrated under this year’s theme of “A Legacy for the Future, Building a Better Tomorrow”.

In his debut President’s Report, Marshall Cherry underscored the co-op’s achievements that are set to transform into much greater value for member-owners.

Cherry’s overall message was that the organization has achieved a great deal during the past year that will transform into much greater value. The cooperative’s work has by and in large supported a clean energy transition that reduces carbon-intensive power generation. Working with cooperatives across the state, Roanoke is implementing innovation to evolve the grid and enhance service to member-owners, while also pursuing a sustainability goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.  

The cooperative’s part in contributing to a cleaner energy transition that leads to reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible electricity can be found in the work Roanoke has managed for the past eight years in a corporate strategy that we labeled “Responding to the Call to Serve.” This strategy reached its pinnacle in 2021 as we took on many initiatives to make life better in this region.  

During 2021, the co-op started setting the stage for what’s next. Roanoke had to answer the question, how do we package everything that we have learned over the years, and completely transform this community. For years, Roanoke has been a major staple in community and economic development, innovation, and service. Proudly, its efforts have birthed a new strategy that will guide us in the clean energy transition while providing world-class service to our member-owners. The co-op has started this new strategy that we call Vision 2025.   

Vision 2025 has set our focus on three main areas: 

  1. Reduce the wholesale cost we pay for electricity and embrace smaller energy generation and storage technologies 
  2. Improve the efficiency of our system in delivering electricity to you.
  3. Enhance the way we connect with you to build trust and satisfaction

Over the next few years, the co-op will be adding more solar and battery storage systems to its electrical grid, integrating with budding electric vehicle options to include home and public charging programs, and several other initiatives that will support our work to displace our needs for underutilized grid resources and reduce wholesale power costs. 

There are two things that will be paramount for Roanoke to be successful with Vision 2025. They are our ability to earn your trust that will lead to more engagement and the completion of our broadband project. 

Roanoke has committed that this is a project that will be completed, and it is our goal to pass every home in Roanoke Electric’s service territory by the end of 2025. There are a few overarching questions that our team has fielded over the years specifically given the urgency to deliver broadband in this region. 

Our broadband business, Roanoke Connect Holdings, is one that will stand on its own financially—separate from Roanoke Electric Cooperative; therefore, we need every dollar that supports this project to ensure we can financially pass every home.  

To successfully build out to everyone, Roanoke has been very intentional in going after grant dollars. The grants already received are in locations that have been prescribed to some areas in the electric cooperative’s service territory, and in some cases, the co-op has received grants outside of its territory. Roanoke recently submitted a grant application to the state of North Carolina requesting a significant amount of funding and hope to hear something soon.  

In 2021, the U.S. Congress passed a landmark piece of legislation, the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act, that has earmarked a transformational amount of funding toward broadband projects like Roanoke Connect. The co-op will be pursuing these dollars when they are made available. Since your federal tax dollars have contributed to these funds, it behooves us to garner as much of this support as possible to reduce Roanoke’s investment to build.  

Additionally, Roanoke is building out to areas that will yield the greatest number of homes passed during our early stages so as many subscribers can be added as possible early in this project. Some of this work has included serving some nearby towns because there are many homes within a mile of each other. 

Applying for grants and expanding to additional market opportunities will strengthen Roanoke’s ability to meet the goal of serving all member-owners by the end of 2025. 

The future is bright, our vision is clear, and we will be connecting this area to a world-class fiber network.

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Co-op member-owners reelect Bradley, Riddick and Lee to serve three year terms

During the hour-long Aug. 27th annual meeting, three board members were reelected. Those who will be maintaining their board seats are listed as follows:

Carolyn Bradley (District 3); three years

Carolyn Bradley has served District 3 in Northampton County for the past 24 years.

While serving on the Roanoke EC board, her leadership role has included serving on the NC Rural Electrification Authority.

She has enjoyed serving the member-owners and representing Roanoke EC at the local, state, and national level while serving on the board.

Bradley states that the most challenging and rewarding part of serving on the board is helping to keep electricity affordable for our member-owners and keeping them happy.

“I am optimistic about the future of the co-op’s values and its steadfast commitment to serving its member-owners,” Bradley stated.  “I believe the key to the co-op’s future success is to continue to look out for the membership by remaining innovative and keeping up with the times.”

Robert “Nat” Riddick (District 4); three years

Robert “Nat” Riddick has had the honor to serve not only District 4 in Hertford County but all the member-owners of Roanoke Electric for the past 22 plus years. He has also been a member-owner of Roanoke Electric for approximately 32 years.

Riddick has served as a director for the Ahoskie branch of Southern Bank and Trust Company for more than 20 years. He is also a Certified Residential Appraiser licensed in North Carolina and Virginia.

While serving on the Roanoke EC Board, his leadership roles have included: current vice chair and current vice chairman for the Statewide REAP and ACRE Board, respectively. Riddick has also completed classes and attended meetings to secure my CCD, BLC and Director Gold Certifications, of which he is very proud.

“I enjoy the opportunity to represent all the member-owners while serving on the Roanoke EC Board and enjoy the opportunities to learn not only about the electrical industry but how to be an effective director and good steward of our member-owner assets,” Riddick stated. “I do not take this responsibility lightly. Making the best-informed decisions has always been my goal when conducting the business that comes before the Roanoke EC Board.”

Darnell Lee (District 7); three years

Darnell Lee has served on the Board of Directors for Roanoke Electric Cooperative for the past 17 years.

While serving on the Roanoke EC Board, his leadership roles have included: facilitating Straight Talk Forums, researching and reporting current events on new technology and safety issues during monthly safety presentations.

He states that he has enjoyed attending workshops and learning about green power and renewable energy and representing the citizens of District 7 while serving on the board.

“The most challenging and rewarding part of serving on the board is helping members find solutions to their energy questions and concerns and learning about new energy innovations,” Lee states.

More than 1,700 member-owners cast ballots by mail and online for this year’s election, setting a new co-op record for election participation.

Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Save a Life: Avoid Distractions While Driving

Glenn Brown, Coordinator of Safety and Loss Prevention

Some temptations are hard to resist. For me, it can be especially challenging to turn down that last piece of chocolate cake.

While driving, we typically hear that “ding” on our phone, alerting us to a text or call coming through, and we sometimes feel the urgent need to check it. We know we shouldn’t, but we reason that we’re going to make an exception––just this once.

So, why do we indulge in behavior we know to be wrong, dangerous and in many states, illegal? Call it hubris. According to AAA research, most people feel they are better-than-average drivers. After all, we have busy lives and are accustomed to multitasking. But mounds of research and thousands of deaths every year prove otherwise.

August is Back to School Safety Month. As a new school year begins with young drivers and school buses back on the road, I thought it would be a good time to remind folks, including myself, of the dangers of distracted driving.

The reality is that using a phone while driving creates enormous potential for injuries and fatalities. Distractions take a motorist’s attention off driving, which can make a driver miss critical events, objects and cues, potentially leading to a crash.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of every 10 fatal crashes in the U.S. involves distracted driving, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths annually. I find this statistic heartbreaking considering so many of these accidents could easily be avoided if we’d simply put down our phones while driving.

Distracted driving is considered any activity that diverts our attention, including texting or talking on the phone, and adjusting the navigation or entertainment system. Texting is by far one of the most dangerous distractions. Sending or reading one text takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

In addition to refraining from texting while driving, we can help keep the roads safe by moving over for first responders and other emergency vehicles. Additionally, if you see utility crews conducting work near the roadside, I’d encourage you to move over when possible and give them extra space to perform their work safely.

At Roanoke Electric Cooperative safety is foremost in everything we do––for our employees and the members of the communities we serve. We routinely remind our crews of the dangers of distracted driving, and we hope you’ll have similar conversations with your teens who may be new to the roadways and are especially susceptible to the lure of technology.

Let’s work together to keep everyone safe on the roads. Remember: that text can wait and waiting just might save a life.