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LCEC Hurricane Guide Available for Download

LCEC Hurricane Guide Available for Download

May 21, 2019 – The LCEC Hurricane Guide is a comprehensive how-to for preparing to weather any storm or disaster situation. Some of the topics addressed in the Hurricane Guide include:

• Storm restoration process
• Preparing your home and business
• Life support
• Evacuation protocol
• Disaster supply kit
• Portable generator safety
• Debris and vegetation
• Important phone number and links

Visit lcec.net to download a copy of the LCEC Hurricane Guide and start preparing today!!

Are you ready for storm season?

May 14, 2019 – LCEC is ready for storm season. Between maintaining our electric system and improving upon our restoration planning year-round, all LCEC employees are ready to jump into action if and when the time comes. Are you and your family ready if a storm rears its dangerous head? There has never been a better time than NOW to prepare. Keep the following in mind when making your plans:

• Make an emergency plan and share with family.
• Know your risk for wind, rain, and floor.
• Know your evacuation zone.
• Put together a disaster supply kit. Visit ready.gov for planning tips.
• Have a backup source of power ready for anyone requiring life-support equipment.
• Get your finances in order.
• Strengthen your home, and trim vegetation. If you cannot safely trim vegetation on your own, contact a licensed professional.
• Help family, neighbors, and coworkers plan.
• Remind everyone you know to stay away from downed power lines!!

For more information on preparing for storm season, download a copy of our Hurricane Guide on lcec.net.

LCEC Employees “Pay It Forward”

North Fort Myers, FL, May 7, 2019 – When they aren’t hard at work keeping your lights on, LCEC employees volunteer countless of hours throughout our community. Nights, weekends, you name it…LCEC employees are there. From judging Odyssey of the Mind to coaching little league to packaging food for the hungry, employees give of their time and their heart to help others. In an effort to support their passion for philanthropy, LCEC designed the Pay It Forward Program to encourage volunteerism and support employees efforts to actively give back to their favorite qualifying non-profit organization. Through this program, employees who volunteer and track volunteer hours can earn Pay It Forward donation dollars which are, in turn, awarded to a 501(c)(3) charity of choice. To receive Pay It Forward donation dollars, employees must volunteer at least 50 hours. Once an employee hits 50 hours, they can designate a benefiting organization to receive a $50 donation on behalf of the employee. While there are several employees who volunteer more than 500 hours each year, two LCEC employees logged over 1,000 in 2018! Those who reach the “500 Club” or “1,000 Club” are entered into a drawing for $500 or $100 respectively for their charity of choice. As if their good deeds aren’t enough, winners of these drawings have opted to split the funds amongst other “Club” members so that more charities can benefit! Since the launch of Pay It Forward in March 2016, employees have logged nearly 21,000 volunteer hours and raised more than $9,000 for their favorite charities. These figures will only continue to grow as volunteerism grows within the LCEC organization!

The Pay It Forward Program is just one way that LCEC gives back to the community. Another example of LCEC’s commitment to this community is our continual fundraising efforts which bring in over $200,000 annually for the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties and thousands of dollars and hours for other worthy causes. LCEC is proud, honored and dedicated to taking an active role in making our communities and the environment a better place to work and live.

LCEC Fishing Tournament reels in more than $53,000 for United Way

April 30, 2019 – The 23rd Annual LCEC United Way Fishing Tournament reeled in more than $53,000 for the United Way! This catch and release tournament was held on April 13 at D&D Bait and Tackle on Matlacha. In total, 85 boats and 251 anglers participated this year. An impressive 32 grand slams were measured! In total, 57 snook, 50 redfish, 49 trout, and 53 snapper were measured on the official tournament weigh-in boards! Along with a great day of friendly fishing, the tournament included a HUGE raffle drawing with over 250 prizes given away in addition to 46 silent auction items. LCEC employee volunteers cooked up a delicious feast for both the captains’ meeting and the tournament, and were on hand to do everything from selling raffle tickets to serving food to selling apparel. Special thanks to the incredible sponsors, participants, volunteers, and planning committee for making this year’s tournament a huge success. Visit the LCEC United Way Annual Fishing Tournament Facebook page or contact fish@lcec.net for photos and information on next year’s tournament!

National Lineman Appreciation Day is April 18

April 16, 2019 – April 18 is National Lineman Appreciation Day! On this special day, LCEC honors and thanks not just our linemen, but linemen around the world, for the hard work they do. These dedicated men and women put their lives in danger day in and day out in the most trying of elements to keep the lights on. National Lineman Appreciation Day is a day to #thankalineman for their work which goes largely unnoticed until you are without power.

Although the majority of linemen prefer to be out of the spotlight, one of LCEC’s linemen was honored in a monumental way. In 2015, LCEC lineman Les Walton was inducted into the International Lineman Museum Hall of Fame! We are so proud of each and every lineman in the LCEC family, and especially honored to have one recognized in such a significant way! Should you see a lineman on National Lineman Appreciation Day, or any day for that matter, please give them a wave or a pat on the back. LCEC extends a huge thank you to all the brave line heroes across the nation!

Linemen factoids:
The power lineman trade began: 1879
First lineman in the United States: Ezra Cornell (who built the Morse telegraph line and founded Cornell University)
Founder and first president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: Henry Miller
Number of wood poles in United Sates: 170 million+
Approximate weight of lineman tools and equipment: 30 pounds
Miles of wire service in United States: 9 million+
Number of transmission towers in service in United States: 2.7 million+
Number of wood poles in service in United States: 170 million+
Number of years of training to become lineman: 4 years
Source: linemanappreciationday.com

Trees and power lines don’t mix

April 9, 2019 – Earth Day is right around the corner. Many people celebrate this important day by planting a tree. Although planting a tree is great for the environment, it can mean trouble for you and your neighbors depending on the type of tree planted and the location. Keep the following information in mind to maintain electric reliability for you and your neighbors while keeping your yard looking great:

Right tree:
• The trees you select should depend on a number of characteristics: growth rate, leaf persistence, shape and salt tolerance (if you live near saltwater).
• Visit the Vegetation Management section of lcec.net for information on recommended trees in our area.

Right place:
• Remember that trees need space to grow. Vegetation that could potentially interfere with power lines at its mature height should not be planted below power lines or near electric utilities. Some trees may appear to be a safe distance from power lines. However, that may not be the case during a storm or when the lines are carrying a heavy demand.
• LCEC asks that customers leave an 8-foot space in front of the door side of the transformer so utility employees can work quickly and safely. We also ask that you maintain a 3-foot cleared area around the electric meter and a 3-foot-wide approach to the meter.

Tree planting and power lines:

Distribution
• Shrubs up to 6′ high at maturity should be planted 5′ away from the pole.
• Shrubs up to 10′ high should be planted 10′ from the pole.
• Small trees & large shrubs up to 20′ high should be planted 15′ from the pole.
• Medium trees up to 40′ high should be planted 30′ from the pole.
• Large trees over 40′ high should be planted 45′ from the pole.
• The distances given above are the minimum distance the plant should be placed away from the pole.

Transmission
• Transmission lines require a wider right-of-way area, but landscaping can be done if careful attention is paid to the mature height of shrubs & trees.

For more information on planting the right tree in the right place, visit lcec.net. For more information on Earth Day 2019 (April 22), visit earthday.org.

Millions in equity retired this year

April 2, 2019 – The LCEC Board of Trustees recently approved a $14.6 million 2018 equity allocation. In addition, an $11.9 million equity retirement was approved putting those funds back in the pockets of active and inactive electric cooperative members. This amount includes an $8.1 million return of equity to inactive customers with memberships that have been closed since 2011, and an additional return of $3.3 million to current and inactive members. Customers will see credits on their bill, or equity checks soon.

Over the years, LCEC has returned more than $280 million in equity to customers. Equity in LCEC is not equivalent to cash or liquid assets. Equity represents members’ investment in LCEC’s electrical system in the form of substations, poles, lines, transformers and other facilities. The amount of equity allocated to each member each year is calculated based on the amount of electricity used by the member in the period. Equity equates to financial strength for LCEC members. It allows for improvements in the delivery of power and service through capital projects without incurring costly loans, which helps keep rates low.

“LCEC is proud of the financial strength that has allowed us to return equity to our customers for many years,” stated Chief Financial Officer Denise Vidal. Equity ownership is one of the benefits of belonging to a financially stable electric cooperative. Many electric cooperatives in the United States are able to return equity to members.

Vidal explained, “Mortgage clauses from LCEC lenders require financial ratios to remain at minimum levels. Depending on operating costs and capital requirements, it is not always possible to return equity, but this year we are.” The LCEC Board of Trustees reviews the LCEC financial position each year to make a determination regarding equity management.

The dish on dish washing

March 26, 2019 – There are a multitude of reasons to use your dishwasher instead of hand washing dishes. First and foremost, dishwashers cut down on your electric usage. According to ENERGY STAR, using a dishwasher can save you more than $40 a year verses washing dishes by hand. Other reasons to use a dishwasher include:

Time savings:
If you’ve ever washed and dried a load of dishes you know it takes a good amount of time. In fact, ENERGY STAR estimates that you could be spending nearly 230 hours (almost 10 days) of personal time handwashing dishes in just one year!

Clean as a whistle:
Dishwashers these days have all sorts of bells and whistles to sanitize and beyond making your dishes clean as a whistle!

Water savings:
Using a dishwasher can save nearly 5,000 gallons a water per year verses hand washing!

Below are some tips from LCEC’s energy experts on how to use your dishwasher in the most efficient way possible:

• Use the energy-saving cycles whenever possible.
• If your dishwasher has a booster heater, turn your water heater thermostat down to 120 degrees. Most dishwashers have built-in heaters to boost the water temp up to 140-145 degrees.
• Resist the temptation to pre-rinse dishes. Dishwashers today do a thorough job of cleaning. Just scrape off the excess food and let the dishwasher do the rest. Dishwashers use between 8 to 14 gallons of water per load so save water and electricity by not pre-rinsing.
• Wash only full loads and refrain from hand washing dishes throughout the day. It’s cheaper to put the dishes in the dishwasher and wash them all at once.
• Load the dishwasher according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember to fill the racks to maximize energy and water use, but make sure you leave enough room for the water to circulate.

For more ways to save on your electric usage, visit lcec.net!

LCEC welcomes Director of Business Alignment and Performance

March 19, 2019 – LCEC welcomed Inge Kocher as its new Director of Business Alignment and Performance. In this role, Kocher will be responsible for leading teams in areas of enterprise business strategy and planning, governance, prioritization, performance management, process development and redesign, and project management. Before joining the LCEC team, Kocher served as the Director/Regional Head of Business Services Americas for Commerzbank AG in New York.

A safe generator connection from LCEC

March 12, 2019 – Storm season will be here before you know it. Now is the time to start reviewing your family’s emergency plan and making preparations. If you plan on buying a generator, it is essential that all precautions are followed when setting up and using this device. If used improperly, generators can cause hazardous conditions for you, your loved ones and for electric crews working in the area.

GenerLink™ offered by LCEC eliminates the use of extension cords and other hazardous connections by providing a safe connection from the electric meter directly to the generator. It also detects when a generator is operating and automatically disconnects from the utility grid, eliminating dangerous backfeed.

Additional benefits of GenerLink™ include:
• Easiest and safest generator connection.
• Allows customers to run virtually any appliances up to the capacity of their generator.
• Easily installed behind the electric meter by a certified LCEC technician.
• Connection at the meter keeps your portable generator outside where it is safe.
• Seven year manufacturer’s warranty.

Along with having a safe connection for your generator, it is vital to read and follow all safety instructions included with your generator. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 880 generator-related fatalities from 2005 through 2017. Visit lcec.net for tips on generator safety and for more information on GenerLink™.

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