From the Manager - July 2015
Hello from your cooperative! If you are one of the lucky ones, you haven’t had to deal with an outage recently. Unfortunately, for quite a few others though, that isn’t the case. The combination of suicidal squirrels, falling tree limbs and storms has caused quite a few people an inconvenience lately. Still others have found themselves out of power simply due to their breaker tripping at the meter.
I wanted to take a moment to let you know what you can do to avoid being charged when your breaker trips. Surprisingly enough, quite a few people don’t even know they have a breaker at their meter. And even more people don’t realize that breaker is theirs.
When you call in to report an outage, one of the first things our after-hours phone support will ask is whether you have checked your breakers. Of course, that means you should check your panel in your house, but it also means you should check the breaker outside on the pole, located just under the meter. If you say you have checked your breakers, but haven’t checked that one, then it’s possible there isn’t anything wrong with the service to your home. Instead, you simply needed to push that outside breaker back to the on position.
Don’t be fooled though! Sometimes breakers will look like they haven’t tripped. In fact, you need to feel with your hand to see if they have or not. Many times, our crews get there only to find out the breaker is tripped and you, the member, didn’t realize it. Unfortunately, by that time it’s too late and you have already incurred a trip charge. So, I want to encourage everyone to take a moment and check out the location of the main breaker so you can know where it is before you need to check it during storm conditions.
Another question people frequently ask is about the “facilities charge” portion of your Clay Electric bill. In fact, we don’t break out our billing at the current time, but we are looking to do so in the future. So, for right now you will just see a single billed amount which includes all charges lumped together. In reality, there are quite a few components that make up your bill.
These include charges for things like:
- Wholesale power cost
- Facilities (materials, tree trimming, line maintenance, billing systems, insurance, etc.)
- Environmental charges
- Federal and state taxes we must pay above the ones you are responsible for
- Wholesale power cost adders (mostly for rising fuel prices)
Your board and I take very seriously any increase to your bill, and sometimes it may become necessary to enact a rate increase. So, if that were to happen, rest assured we will do our very best to communicate exactly what is happening and why. As a part of that communication effort, we may also offer a different style of bill, with the charges all broken out.
Your cooperative exists solely for the purpose of serving you, our member-owners. If there is ever anything we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask.