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

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Roanoke’s Gold Star Program delivers big savings for member-owners

To deliver added value and engage with its membership, Roanoke Electric Cooperative has developed a new member loyalty initiative known as the “Gold Star Program”.  Aligned with the co-op’s mission, the Gold Star Program seeks to earn member-owner trust and loyalty through its programs and services.

“As a trusted energy partner, Roanoke is always seeking ways to better engage and benefit our membership,” said Dennis McFee, the co-op’s vice-president of member services, marketing and public relations. “There are so many useful programs and services available, and we want to ensure we recognize and demonstrate the combined value it adds to member-owners who take advantage.”

To date, more than 60 member-owners have reached Gold Star Status and are averaging almost $1,000 in annual savings.

Amongst those member-owners is Lewiston resident, Arthur Clark.  As a 68-year-old retiree, Clark states that his curiosity about the new program has led him to benefits that he sees monthly.

“The program is great!” Clark explained.  Noting his experience with the co-op’s free energy audit through its Upgrade to $ave program, Clark describes his experience. “They came out and explained to me where I was losing energy in my home.  The technician even replaced the bulbs in my home with LED bulbs and gave me a hot water heater control to help with my home’s energy efficiency.”

Clark says that he can also better keep up with his monthly expenses thanks to the co-op changing with the times.  “As a retired person on a fixed income, I don’t really like too many surprises when it comes to my monthly bills,” he explained.  “I know each month what my electric bill is going to be immediately because I’ve enrolled in e-bill and budget billing. I also have my payments automatically drafted out of my account each month, so I avoid late fees.”

Clark also notes that he’s enjoying learning more about the electronic resources that the co-op is offering right at the tip of his fingertips – namely, the REC mobile app.  “I’m seeing where I can benefit more with knowing my energy use during peak times and that also helps with my savings.”

He also explained his satisfaction with the co-op’s internet service as a key to his business.  “I have my own business as a freelance photographer, and I sometimes need to upload photos and download files.  My previous internet service provider was just too slow to do everything I needed to do.  I was so happy to get Roanoke Connect as an affordable high-speed option at my home.”

Clark says that he encourages everyone to take advantage of these programs and doesn’t mind spreading the word about it.  “I try to visit the website to see what new information is available,” he explained.  “I don’t hold this information for myself.  I’m the type of person that if I know it, I’ll share it because it may be able to help someone else just like it helped me.”

For more information about the co-op’s programs and services, call our office at 252-209-2236. 

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Co-op set to give two local students basketball scholarships

Roanoke Electric Cooperative is now accepting applications for full scholarships to attend basketball camps at two North Carolina universities this summer. Young men can apply for a scholarship to attend the Carolina Basketball School which will be held June 17-21 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Young women can apply for a spot at the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Camp June 18-22 at N.C. State University in Raleigh.

“I am grateful to be a part of an organization that invests in not only our local businesses, but also in the of our future leaders and citizens,” said Patrice Jordan, the co-op’s coordinator of member relations and engagement.

The scholarships cover all expenses at the overnight camps, which provide a glimpse into life on a college campus. Campers stay overnight in dorms, learn fundamental skills that will help them excel on and off the court and receive individual and group instruction from Division 1 coaches to enhance their basketball and team-building abilities.

To apply, students must be a sixth or seventh grade student during the 2023-2024 school year at a qualifying school.  The application opens this month, and it must be submitted by March 31. To learn more and apply, visit ncelectriccooperatives.com/sports-camps.

Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Change the way you pay with co-op’s electronic and automated payment options

Mailbox thieves and porch pirates remain a threat even though they’re captured on video doorbells every day! Roanoke Electric Cooperative continues to encourage member-owners to avoid those threats by choosing paperless methods to both receive and pay their electric bills.

Paperless billing and automatic bank drafts are another convenient way for member-owners to receive notifications immediately via email and pay bills directly from their bank account.

With the co-op’s paperless billing option, electric bills are delivered to member-owners’ inboxes as soon as they are generated.  This means member-owners don’t have to wait days to receive their bill in the mail.  Those who sign up for this receive a 50 cent credit on their monthly bills.

Member-owners can also choose to have their payments drafted from their checking account on their desired bank draft date.  Available draft dates include the 3rd, 10th, 18th or 25th of each month. This comes with a $1 credit on their monthly electric bills.

So, skip the late fees and delayed bills by contacting us at 252-209-2236 to sign up for E-bill and bank draft programs.

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Co-op and 4-H partner to host digital skills workshops

Roanoke Electric Cooperative is partnering with 4-H Tech Changemakers to host digital skills workshops in January at the Roanoke Center in Rich Square.

“In addition to providing fast, reliable, broadband internet service this is just one of the many ways Roanoke Electric Cooperative works to bridge the digital divide,” said Dennis McFee, the co-op’s vice president of member services, marketing and public relations.  “Providing our member-owners and community with the necessary skills and resources to succeed in the rapidly changing technology-based environment is a part of our mission.”

Participants can register through the QR code on the flyer or the link below. The link covers registration for the January 13th session and new links will be sent after each session. They can also register via phone by calling the Roanoke Center at 252-539-4600.

Registration link

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Are Portable Space Heaters Efficient for My Home?

Tammy Piland, Coordinator of Member Services and Billing

Small space heaters are meant to do exactly as their name says: heat a small space. But, unfortunately, many people use portable space heaters to heat their entire home, which can really take a toll on your energy bills. The truth is, whether you should use space heaters really depends on your home’s efficiency and energy needs.

If you’re using a space heater to compensate for problems in your home, like inadequate insulation, drafty windows and exterior doors, or an inefficient heating system, space heaters are not a practical solution. Your best bet is to improve the overall efficiency of your home. If you’re on a tight budget, caulking and weather stripping around windows and exterior doors is a low-cost, easy way to save energy. Depending on the size of your home, adding insulation can be a great next step. Loose fill insulation typically costs $1 to $1.50 per square foot. Taking these proactive energy-saving measures rather than relying on space heaters for supplemental warmth can reduce your heating and cooling bills for years to come.

Perhaps your home is energy efficient but you’re cold-natured and want a specific room to be cozier than the rest. In this case, a space heater may work for your needs. A good comparison is ceiling fans; we use ceiling fans in the summer to cool people, not rooms. A space heater can be used in a similar way during winter months. Only use a space heater in small spaces that you’re occupying and, if possible, try to shut off other rooms to contain the warmth provided by the space heater. If you decide to use a space heater to heat a small area in your home, make sure the heater is properly sized for the space; most heaters include a general sizing table.

A word about safety: the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 25,000 residential fires are associated with the use of space heaters every year, resulting in more than 300 deaths. If you must use a space heater, purchase a newer model that includes the most current safety features and make sure it carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label. Choose a thermostatically controlled heater to avoid energy waste and overheating and place the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic when in use. Always keep children and pets away from space heaters.

Consider alternative ways to stay warm like extra layers of clothing or UL-approved electric blankets. If you have hardwood or tile floors, lay down area rugs to provide additional insulation (and appeal!) and maintain warmth.

We know it’s cold out there, but remember in addition to safety concerns, space heaters can greatly increase your energy bills if used improperly.

If you’re looking for alternative ways to save energy and increase comfort in your home, check out our Upgrade to Save Program.

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Connect News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Co-op urges member-owners to submit internet service availability challenges

As policymakers work to close the digital divide, accurate broadband availability maps are crucially important. The FCC recently updated it’s national broadband maps, but numerous errors persist. Since these maps will guide policymakers as they determine where billions of dollars are spent on rural broadband deployment, taking swift action to ensure these maps are accurate is essential.With tens of billions of dollars in federal funding available to build broadband in unserved and underserved areas, electric cooperatives and their members are being encouraged to immediately review a new nationwide map of Internet coverage from the Federal Communications Commission and report any discrepancies to ensure the money goes where it’s needed.
Challenges to the FCC National Broadband Map, which was released Nov. 18, should be filed with the commission by Jan. 13, 2023, to ensure revisions are made before the National Telecommunications and Information Administration makes funding decisions this summer. We are encouraging our memberowners to make the final push and check the accuracy of the FCC National Broadband Map and to
challenge if necessary.
“Any challenge filed by then will have the best chance” of making it into “the map that we will ultimately use to make allocations,” NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson told NRECA Broadband Leadership Summit attendees in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 17.
NTIA is in charge of the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program—the largest recipient of the historic $65 billion in the 2021 infrastructure law to provide “internet for all.” The allocation of BEAD funding to states is expected to be announced by June 30.
BEAD funds will first go to unserved areas lacking internet access speeds of 25 megabits per second download and 3 Mbps upload. Then, once a state has a plan to address those areas, BEAD funds will go underserved areas that lack 100/20 Mbps broadband.
“We’re urging our member-owners to review the FCC maps and check for any errors. It’s imperative to make sure that these maps are accurate to ensure funding goes to the areas in our community that need it most,” said Marshall Cherry, President and CEO at Roanoke Electric Cooperative and its subsidiary Roanoke Connect.

Let the FCC know by Jan. 13, 2023

Submit an Availability Challenge Here

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Announcement: End-of-year procedures

As the year ends, Roanoke Electric Co-op advises member-owners of its upcoming end-of-year process.  Systems will be unavailable from Saturday, Dec. 31, through Monday, Jan.2.

During this time, no payments will be accepted at any of the co-op’s office locations, through its phone system, or at any payment kiosks.

Member-owners are strongly encouraged to plan accordingly to avoid late-payment fees or service interruption.  It is particularly important that member-owners with pre-paid service accounts make the payment before Dec. 31, 2022.

The office will also be closed Monday, Jan. 2, 2023.

All co-op operations and payment systems will resume as normal on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023.

Please contact our office at 252-209-2236 for any questions or concerns.

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Co-op’s food drive donates 800 pounds of canned goods to help feed local community

Jointly, Roanoke Electric Cooperative employees collected 868 pounds of non-perishable food items to benefit the local community at theThanksgiving Giveaway last month.

Each year, the co-op hosts a friendly competition between departments to demonstrate our enthusiasm to support those in need – especially during the holiday season.  In partnership with Enviva and the Town of Ahoskie, the donation was paired with over 300 turkeys that were given to residents.

“As servants of our community, concern for our communities is one of our seven guiding principles,” said co-op President and CEO, Marshall Cherry.  “Giving back isn’t something we do once a year, but it’s something we demonstrate each day in serving and enhancing the quality of life in our area.”

 

 

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Five ways to fight the winter chill and snuggle up to savings this winter

Whether you’re a cold-weather enthusiast or not, there are simple ways to make your home more comfortable during winter months.

Roanoke Electric Co-op is offering five ways to fight the winter chill and save energy:

  1. Mind the thermostat. This is one of the easiest ways to manage your home energy use. We recommend setting your thermostat to 68 degrees (or lower) when you’re home. When you’re sleeping or away for an extended period of time, try setting it between 58 and 62 degrees; there’s no need to heat your home when you’re away or sleeping and less active.
  2. Button up your home. The Department of Energy estimates that air leaks account for 24% to 40% of the energy used for heating and cooling a home. Caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors is another simple, cost-effective way to increase comfort and save energy. If you can feel drafts while standing near a window or door, it likely needs to be sealed.
  3. Use window coverings wisely. Open blinds, drapes or other window coverings during the day to allow natural sunlight in to warm your home. Close them at night to keep the cold, drafty air out. If you feel cold air around windows, consider hanging curtains or drapes in a thicker material; heavier window coverings can make a significant difference in blocking cold outdoor air.
  4. Consider your approach to appliance use. When combined, appliances and electronics account for a significant chunk of our home energy use, so assess how efficiently you’re using them. For example, if you’re running the dishwasher or clothes washer, only wash full loads. Look for electronic devices that consume energy even when they’re not in use, like phone chargers or game consoles. Every little bit helps, so unplug them to save energy.
  5. Think outside the box. If you’re still feeling chilly at home, think of other ways to warm up––beyond dialing up the thermostat. Add layers of clothing, wear thick socks and bundle up under blankets. You can even add layers to your home! If you have hard-surface flooring, consider purchasing an area rug to block cold air that leaks in through the floor.

If you’re taking steps to save energy but continue to see major increases in your bills, give us a call at 252-209-2236 or take advantage of our free home energy audits. Roanoke Electric Co-op’s energy experts can help identify areas and other factors impacting your home energy use and recommend next steps for savings.

Roanoke Center News, Roanoke Electric Newsroom

Co-op engages local STEM students in power generation and distribution models

Dennis McFee, the co-op’s vice president of member services, marketing and public relations, assists Northeast Academy Engineering & Robotics Division students in building power distribution model.

What does a local school’s engineering and robotics division of students and its local energy provider have in common?   In a recent collaboration with Northeast Academy’s Engineering and Robotics Division, Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s Vice President of member services, marketing, and public relations, Dennis McFee, helped students make that connection – literally.

While visiting the academy’s Lasker campus this week, McFee walked students through the generation and distribution processes of what it takes to get electricity to their homes.  Students were separated into groups and tasked with designing and building their very own model power grid.

“This exercise allowed students to think critically about each step in the power generation process and decide how that process should look physically,” McFee explained.

Students who participated are part of the FIRST LEGO League – which introduces science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to children up to age 16, through fun hands-on learning.  Led by head coach, Tony Usalis, students are inspired to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding, and design skills through hands-on STEM learning and robotics.

“These are the future thinkers and innovators of our communities,” McFee noted.  “Investing in their education and knowledge is critical to supporting them in our effort to create a brighter future.”

Northeast Academy’s Engineering and Robotics Division is scheduled for its next district competition on Dec. 10.

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About Roanoke Electric Cooperative:

Roanoke Electric Cooperative provides service to 14,500 members in Bertie, Hertford, Halifax, Northampton, Gates, Perquimans and Chowan counties. Chartered in 1938 to provide light and power to farms, the co-op today serves as an engine of economic development and provides educational, recreational and community assistance services to enhance the quality of life of its member-owners throughout the diverse communities it serves. Roanoke Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.