LCEC has been participating Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida’s Festival of Trees since its inception in 2006. In that time, LCEC has created 10 creative trees including a tree adorned with 150 light bulbs hand painted by LCEC employees! “When the Festival of Trees fundraising event was presented to LCEC we wanted to do our part to help it succeed,” LCEC Public Relations Manager Karen Ryan said. Every year, the LCEC team challenges itself to come up a unique design to bring in as much money as possible for Goodwill. This year, LCEC transformed their holiday tree to look a snowman to fit the theme of there being “Snow Place Like Home.” Known for being the fastest decorating team in town, LCEC’s PR Team created their snowman tree in an hour!
LCEC has been a long-time supporter of Goodwill and their efforts toward helping those with disabilities find and keep meaningful employment. “It is an honor to be part of the Festival of Trees. It brings the phrase “Reason for the Season” to life,” Ryan said. This year’s Festival of Trees runs from November 30 through December 4 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center at 2301 First Street in the River District. Festival admission is $2 for visitors age 12 and up.
LCEC is proud to announce its participation in the 6th Annual CAN IT! Campaign to benefit Community Cooperative. After announcing this food drive, LCEC employees quickly filled an enormous box with items from the CAN IT! wish list. The box was so full that the handle broke off while being delivered to the drop off location on November 16! This year’s CAN IT! Campaign goal was to collect 1,500 food items to help feed families this Thanksgiving. LCEC was honored to be part of this campaign, and thanks Pushing the Envelope, Inc. for the opportunity to make Thanksgiving brighter for our neighbors in need. From food and clothes drives to picking up trash to fundraising for the United Way, LCEC prides itself on energizing this community.
As a not-for-profit electric cooperative providing an essential service, LCEC has a responsibility to keep the principles of sound financial management on the forefront of everything we do. This allows us to provide the best possible electric service at the lowest possible cost.
LCEC has given the City of Cape Coral notice that among other terms, the purchase option in our now-expired franchise agreement will terminate as of May 15, 2017. As an electric cooperative with poles and wires located in City rights-of-way, we will continue to collect and remit franchise fees to the City of Cape Coral even though our agreement expired on October 1, 2016. This will have no impact on the LCEC mission to deliver safe, reliable and low-cost electric service customers have come to expect.
LCEC is a not-for-profit electric cooperative, and it is important that the franchise agreement issue not impact our members indefinitely. We remain hopeful that upon final resolution of the City’s complaint to the Florida Public Service Commission that we can quickly work toward a new franchise agreement that protects the interests of our members and the citizens of Cape Coral.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and reflection. It is also a time for preparing a delicious meal for your loved ones. With so many things to think about, it is easy to forget the simple ways to conserve energy. This Thanksgiving, LCEC energy experts remind you to:
Avoid overusing your oven:
-Cooking multiple things at once and resisting the urge to peek into the oven will keep your oven working only when it needs to. Remember that every time you open your oven, the temperature drops by 25 to 30 degrees in addition to raising the temperature in your kitchen. It is also wise to turn off the oven and burners when your feast is almost finished cooking to save electricity.
Make friends with your microwave:
-Microwaves use half as much electricity as conventional ovens, and cook items in a shorter time. Consider using your microwave to cook smaller items and leave the big dishes for the oven.
Choose your burners and lids wisely:
-Be sure to arrange your pots so that they match the burner size. Using a big burner for a small pot wastes energy. Additionally, it is important to be smart when choosing a lid for your pots and pans. The tighter the cover, the better!
Give your fridge a break:
-Your fridge works hard all the time! This Thanksgiving, consider using a cooler rather than opening your fridge over and over to get out cold items like drinks. Also be sure to give hot food time to cool down before storing them for a Black Friday meal. Hot foods that go into a fridge uncovered let off a vapor that makes your fridge work harder than normal. Be sure to cool down and cover dishes before loading them into the fridge.
Give yourself a break:
When all your guests have left, load the dishwasher and hit “start”! Using your dishwasher saves electricity and water. Be sure to fill it up completely to get the most bang for your buck!
Happy Thanksgiving from LCEC!
LCEC was recently informed by the City manager that the City intends to proceed with its complaint to the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC), leaving the fate of franchise negotiations in question. While a franchise agreement is not required for delivery of electric services, and many cities/counties choose not to use them, it’s disappointing that the City has decided take this path instead of negotiate a new franchise agreement.
After waiting more than a year to respond to LCEC’s initial franchise framework, the City gave the negotiating expert they hired, Stuart Diamond, a few months to negotiate an electric franchise agreement with the LCEC team. Negotiations had only recently begun, and although no terms had been agreed upon, the foundation for a successful negotiation had been laid. Instead of continuing on a mutually beneficial path, the City has chosen to pursue the complaint at the FPSC that will bring additional costs to taxpayers and LCEC members and put a halt to negotiations.
From the outset, LCEC has been laser-focused on an agreement that is mutually beneficial to the City and LCEC members. While LCEC was prepared to talk with Mr. Diamond about terms typically found in a franchise agreement (length of term, franchise fees, rights-of-way access, etc.), much of the time instead was spent discussing the City’s desire to own and operate streetlights. This was followed by requests suggesting that LCEC abandon a not-for-profit business model, something that the organization adamantly believes is not in the best interest of members.
Many LCEC members, City residents, and business owners are frustrated that the parties cannot finalize what should be a fairly straight-forward agreement. Stakeholders have voiced their opinions about how tired they are of the constant back-and-forth with no solution. It is not good for the customers and tax payers, and it is not good for the overall image of the Parties.The course of work that took place between LCEC CEO Dennie Hamilton and Mr. Diamond demonstrated our goal of negotiating an agreement in good faith.
LCEC has a long history of successfully negotiating with many other government agencies, contractors, vendors, and customers with which we successfully partner. For more than 75 years, LCEC has been open to compromise in order to reach an agreement. As a not-for-profit entity providing an essential service, however, LCEC also has a responsibility to not compromise the principles of sound financial management that allow the organization to provide the best possible electric service at the lowest possible cost.
Over the past year and a half, LCEC addressed many of the desires of the City such as changing reporting policies and Contribution in Aid of Construction practices, enhancing easy access to LCEC information, and offering LED street lighting. LCEC continues to provide safe, reliable electric service, with rates that are among the six lowest of the 56 electric utilities in the state of Florida, and has reduced rates five times in the last three years and has not had a rate increase in eight years.
During negotiations, the City expressed a desire to purchase its own streetlights and attach them to LCEC poles. This is an entirely new concept and instead of simply rejecting the idea LCEC conducted an initial analysis of potential rates. After the City suggested the initial projected rates came in too high, LCEC offered to evaluate a different approach.
These steps were taken by LCEC in a good faith effort to allow continued negotiation. Unfortunately, the City has decided to pursue the complaint before the FPSC which will be costly for both parties. We are now no closer to a franchise agreement than we were eighteen months ago. Expenses continue to escalate and resources that could be better utilized operating a city or delivering electricity will be redirected toward addressing legal matters.
LCEC continues to believe that renewed talk of the city running its own electric utility is a costly endeavor that we strongly believe goes against the best interests of City residents and businesses. LCEC remains hopeful that City leaders will take appropriate steps to continue negotiations, and will seek to truly negotiate terms that are beneficial both to the City and to our members and taxpayers. Until such time, LCEC will focus on providing high-quality, low-cost electric service to our members.
LCEC is proud to announce that its 5th Annual Goblin Gallop 5K raised nearly $1,100 for United Way! An impressive 125 walkers and runners took part in this Halloween-themed event with many of them sporting fun costumes. Since its start in 2012, this tournament has raised nearly $14,000 to benefit the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties. Special thanks to those who sponsored, participated and volunteered at this fundraiser.
LCEC is proud to announce that the 2016 United Way Golf Tournament raised an impressive $47,000 which will be donated to the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties. The tournament took place on October 8, 2016 in Fort Myers and included 95 players. Congratulations to tournament winner Mark Fazio who competed on Team Okonite. In addition to a great day of golf, tournament participants had the chance to win phenomenal raffle prizes including hotel and condo stays. The LCEC United Way Golf Tournament has raised substantial funds since its inception in 2002 thanks to the hard work of the LCEC employees who coordinate this event, the companies that support it and the incredible golfers who return year after year. Next year’s tournament will take place on October 7, 2017.
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