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You are a member, not a customer

That’s the co-op difference!

Many businesses use the word “member” to describe their customers. Places like Sam’s Club or Costco and even American Express like to refer to their customers as members. You pay a fee to buy their goods and services, but that is really all you get for the “membership.” No right to vote for the Board of Directors or to participate in any meaningful way in the organization.


Clay Electric Co-operative students return from Washington, DC

Sam Larch of RinardChyanne Plumb of Louisville and Justice Robey of Louisville represented Clay Electric Cooperative in Washington, D.C., during the annual "Youth to Washington" Tour, June 10-17. This event, sponsored by the electric and telephone cooperatives of Illinois since the late 1950s, is an introduction to our democratic form of government and cooperatives for rural youth.

From the Manager June 2016

Increasing federal environmental regulations and margin shortfalls attributable to lower energy demands have resulted in a deficit toward our wholesale power provider’s ability to meet its financial requirements. As a result, Southern Illinois Power Cooperative is requiring an increase in rates to its member cooperatives. Clay Electric is one of those members

Cooperatives participate in Youth Day

Sen. Dale Righter and Rep. David Reis met with students representing Clay Electric Co-operative, Inc. during the Illinois Electric and Telephone Cooperatives Youth Day on Wednesday, April 13 in Springfield. More than 225 students from around Illinois had an opportunity to visit the State Capitol, view state government in action and question their legislators on key issues. They also were invited into the office of Secretary of State Jesse White.

Minutes of Board of Trustees Meeting


rustees present were: Frank Czyzewski, Bill Croy, Neil Gould, Kevin Logan, Bob Pierson, Richard Rudolphi, Danny Schnepper and Greg Smith. Also present were Executive Vice President/General Manager Ed VanHoose, and Cooperative Attorney Melanie Pearce. The invocation was given by Neil Gould. Absent was Frank Herman

    Approved the agenda as presented and amended by Gen. Mgr. VanHoose.

    Approved the minutes of the regular meeting held February 22, 2016 as amended to reflect the absence of Danny Schnepper.

    Accepted 10 new members for service. 

    Canceled 4 members no longer receiving service.

    Reviewed and Approved work orders in the amount of $27,277.68 for the month of February 2016.

    Accepted the disbursement list for February, 2016.

    Discussed possible attendees to the ACES conference.

    Approved Attorney attendance of NRECA Legal Seminar 2016.

    Reviewed agenda for the upcoming NRECA Legislative Conference.

    Heard a report by Trustee Smith concerning the recent SIPC Board meeting specifically financial information, Inventory as to fuels, and environmental regulations. Reviewed Prairie State Energy “Operations Update”.

    Heard a report by Trustee Logan, as to the recent AIEC Meeting, specifically financials, new AIEC General Counsel, announcement of safety awards, NRECA Director report, including the CEO search, FEMA reform, IT updates, and Youth Day & Youth Tour updates.

    Heard a report by Gen. Mgr. VanHoose as to FEMA denial of claims of Illinois flooding in late December early January storms. Informed several Iowa Cooperatives received awards from FEMA following reconsideration after denial of claims related to ice/winter storm damage from 2013.

    Heard a report by Trustee Rudolphi on recent NRECA Board Training on “Financial Decision Making”.

Informed by Gen. Mgr. VanHoose of follow up with roof repair and other building issues.

    Heard a report by Gen. Mgr. VanHoose as to the following;

    Reviewed Form 7/Operations Report, with a report as to a recent incident involving a motor vehicle accident resulting in damage to Cooperative property, and the driver was uninsured.

    Reviewed February cash flow report.

    Reviewed SIPC February power bill.

    Reviewed February power factor.

    Reviewed February power cost adder.

    Reviewed CFC Annual Benefits of Ownership Statement.

    Reviewed Federated Rural Electric Insurance Member Equity Notice.

    Reviewed SEDC Member Patronage Capital Notice of Allocation.

    Reviewed US Bank February Credit Card statement.

    Approved entering into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing personnel.

    Approved entering into Open Session.

    Heard a report by Gen. Mgr. VanHoose as to damage incurred during February 2016 storm, including extent of damage, Facebook insights, and Thank You notes. Informed many members presented support and even food to CECI employees during the outage repairs. Gen. Mgr. VanHoose expressed deep appreciation to all the members on behalf of CECI and its employees.

    Heard a safety report by Gen. Mgr. VanHoose as to the March 21, 2016 safety meeting and a March 15, 2016 Crew Evaluation visit.

    Heard a report by Gen. Mgr. VanHoose regarding Network Threats including viruses blocked, intrusions prevented, and malware blocked. Mr. VanHoose then cautioned the Board members to avoid clicking links in e-mail and advises that measures are in place at CECI, and that he emphasizes with staff the reality of virtual threats to the Network. 

    Informed by Gen. Mgr. VanHoose that CECI had received notification as to SEDC DROWN Security Vulnerability.

    Informed by Gen. Mgr. VanHoose that the State of Illinois is behind on payment of their electric bills with CECI in the amount of $2,300.00 as of March 22, 2016

    Reviewed new CEO Orientation program recently attended by Gen. Mgr. VanHoose. Informed that the substance of many by-laws would be more appropriately addressed in policies, which will require by-law changes.

    Reviewed March CFC Article, “CFC Solutions News Bulletin”.

    Reviewed Federated Lightning damage claim.

    Reviewed proposed legislation, drafted by the Recyclable Metals Task Force, which would amend the Criminal Code to create the offense of theft of recyclable metal as contained in HB5521.

    Thereafter Approved Managers report as presented.

    Reminded of upcoming SIPC Annual Meeting.


Rudolphi earns gold

Recently, Vice President of the Board of Trustees of Clay Electric Co-operative, Richard Rudolphi completed a series of continuing education classes earning him Director Gold Credential. This credential has been created to recognize directors committed to continuing their education beyond the first two levels, the Credentialed Cooperative Director and the Board Leadership Certification. The Director Gold Program Certification demonstrates their ongoing commitment to advancing their knowledge and performing their fiduciary duty to the best of their ability.


Electric co-ops and a culture of safety

There is a children’s book titled Safety 1st, Safety Always. As you can imagine, it encompasses many of the traditional safety lessons parents should teach their children. We drill youngsters about safety from an early age because we know how important it is to protect ourselves and those we care about. In the spirit of May being National Electrical Safety Month, let’s take a look at how electric cooperatives have been stepping up to the plate when it comes to safety at the co-op.

Solid co-op jobs for veterans

As an estimated 14,400 electric co-op jobs will be opening up over the next five years co-op leaders are being encouraged to fill those openings with veterans. Electric cooperatives have joined with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Veteran Hiring Initiative and others advocating and assisting with hiring veterans to fill co-op job vacancies to match those jobs with veterans. 

Become a Co-op Voter

When was the last time you voted?

As member-owned electric cooperatives, voting is already in our DNA.  It’s how we maintain an electric utility which is responsive to the consumers it serves.  But voting also plays a crucial part in our representative democracy.  Federal, state and local elections offer an opportunity to exercise a civic responsibility -- to select the best leaders for our communities.

    Yet in places all over America, even those served by electric cooperatives, citizens aren’t exercising that right.

    In the 2012 national elections, voter turnout dropped overall, but the decline in rural counties was 18 percent—twice that of the nation as a whole. 

    And when voters miss the chance to vote, they also lose the opportunity to communicate their concern to our leaders about the issues that matter to us, where we work, live, and raise families.

    Reliable electricity, access to rural broadband and the quality of our healthcare system are just a few issues we all care about.  Still, they only become priorities if enough people show elected officials that they are paying attention.  Registering to vote and voting are the most effective ways to send this message. 

    When we go to the polls with the cooperative principle of “Concern for Community” in mind, we instantly improve our political system.  It’s a system designed to produce a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”  People like you and me.

    I’d like you to join me in a new initiative to get every eligible person registered to vote—you, me, our family and friends—and take the pledge to BECOME A CO-OP VOTER.

    Clay Electric has joined America’s electric cooperatives in launching a campaign to help get out the vote and insert issues important to co-ops into the public discussion. Called “Co-ops Vote,” this effort will help boost voter turnout in areas served by cooperatives across the country to ensure that our voices are heard loud and clear every day, and especially on Election Day.

    Here’s what you can do to help. Visit the Co-ops Vote web site, WWW.VOTE.COOP, and take the pledge to BECOME A CO-OP VOTER to support your community and electric cooperative when casting your vote in 2016. The web site will give you information on your elected officials and candidates, the voter registration process, election dates and locations, and background about eight key co-op issues we want our elected leaders to understand: rural broadband access, hiring and honoring veterans, low-income energy assistance, cybersecurity, water regulation, rural health care access, affordable and reliable energy, and renewable energy.

    Co-ops Vote is a non-partisan program developed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives. With 42 million members across the nation, electric co-ops are a powerful voice on national issues that have a local impact.

    If you have any questions, please visit WWW.VOTE.COOP or contact us directly at Clay Electric Cooperative 800-582-9012. I hope to see you at the polls!

Minutes of Board of Trustees Meeting

Trustees present were: Frank Czyzewski, Bill Croy, Neil Gould, Frank Herman, Kevin Logan, Bob Pierson, Richard Rudolphi, Danny Schnepper and Greg Smith. Also present were Executive Vice President/General Manager Ed VanHoose, and Cooperative Attorney Melanie Pearce. The invocation was given by Bill Croy.