LCEC – Lee County Electric Cooperative


Global supply chain issues may result in major service delays extending through 2023. LCEC is taking measures to mitigate the situation.

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LCEC is prepared for storm season

LCEC is prepared for storm season

June 23, 2022 – LCEC is ready for whatever weather heads to SWFL this storm season. Our tried and true restoration plan includes maintaining relationships with power line and tree-trimming contractors, fuel companies, material vendors, food service vendors, other cooperatives and local agencies for mutual aid. No matter what the resource, members can rest assured that LCEC has a relationship in place for whatever is needed, whenever it is needed. 

In addition, the more than 375 LCEC employees each play a critical role in the restoration plan which they take very seriously. Employees put their typical job responsibilities on hold to pitch in during restoration. From assessing damage to leading out-of-state crews, and even doing laundry for linemen, each and every employee has an important role.

We understand the importance that electricity plays in the lives of our members, especially during the continued challenging times we are living in. We understand that for many, the home has become the workplace in addition to the place where loved ones reside. It is important to remember that LCEC has a proven track record when it comes to storm restoration, and we ask that customers be patient. We know how frustrating it is to be without power. Members can rest assured knowing that we work around the clock during restoration situations to ensure the lights are back on as quickly as possible. We won’t rest until all of our more than 235,000 customers have power.

Restoration Priorities
LCEC has a thorough restoration plan that outlines priorities of electric restoration during large power outages. The LCEC plan first calls for restoration of critical circuits that power essential services such as hospitals, traffic signals, shelters, law enforcement. Next, power is restored to the largest number of customers possible. The last to be restored are individual services in small pockets or services that need to be reconnected after repair to their home electrical system.

Please note that LCEC does not disconnect power before a storm. We let Mother Nature run her course, and begin to restore power to impacted areas once winds are at a safe level to work.

How customers should prepare for outages
-Ensure a back-up telephone other than a cordless or telephone that is dependent on electricity.
-Have a battery-powered radio on hand and a supply of fresh batteries to stay aware of news and other information.
-Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.

What to do when the lights go out
-Help keep the LCEC telephone lines clear for emergency calls. Only call LCEC at 656-2300 to report downed power lines.
-Visually check the weather-head (on the roof where your service drop connects to the pole) and the meter box to make sure it is not damaged.
-Any damage to the home’s electric system must be repaired by a licensed electrician and inspected by a designated agency before power can be restored.
-Turn off appliances. This will protect them when service is restored, prevent electrical fires and lessen the chances of circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to serve as a visual signal that power has been restored.

Storm Safety Tips
-Stay clear of downed power lines. They may still be energized and dangerous. Puddles of water contacting downed lines are just as dangerous.
-Don’t trim trees or remove debris located near downed power lines. If you must remove debris from your home, don’t pile it under or near electrical lines or equipment.
-Residents on life support must have an alternate plan in place to ensure the continuity of life-support needs. This may include making special arrangements to spend time with a friend or relative during an outage or using a back-up generator.
-If operating a portable generator, keep it outside and in an open area. Carbon monoxide emissions can be harmful. Follow all instructions regarding safe operation. Do not connect the generator directly to the main electrical panel. If installed incorrectly, power could flow into outside lines and cause injury to the owner, neighbors or utility crews working in the area.
-Please do not detain LCEC employees or contractors while they are working to restore power. This can be distracting, can cause an accident and impedes the process.

The process of power restoration following a major storm

June 9, 2022 – LCEC works 24/7/365 to distribute electricity to more than 235,000 customers in Southwest Florida. Although the electrical system itself is complex, the process of restoration can be easily understood because it goes in steps.

  • The first step in our restoration plan is damage assessment, which includes physical inspections of our facilities and plants. Once damage assessments have been made, LCEC begins repairs.
  • Secondly, we repair main circuits and critical facilities such as hospitals, police and fire stations.
  • The third step is to restore services to the greatest number of customers as soon as possible.
  • Lastly, LCEC begins restoring power to those small pockets or individuals still without power.

Storm season began on June 1 and LCEC is ready if a storm heads to SWFL. LCEC reminds all customers to be patient if and when power outages occur. In addition to the need for it to be safe for our linemen to hit the pavement, there are global supply chain issues which may result in major service delays extending through 2023. LCEC is taking measures to mitigate the situation, and thanks customers in advance for their patience.

Preparing those with special needs for storm season

June 1, 2022 – Storm season starts today and those with special needs are urged to prepare for potential power outages. If you haven’t already, now is the time to prepare those with special needs so they are safe and comfortable to weather any storm:

  • Have a plan in place to ensure the continuity of any life-support needs. This may include making special arrangements to spend time with a friend or relative during an outage or using a back-up generator.
  • If you use a back-up generator, please be responsible for the safe installation, use, and maintenance of any back-up power.
  • Keep phone numbers of emergency response agencies, such as the hospital, fire department and police, in a convenient location, in the event emergency assistance is needed.
  • Ensure that you have a back-up telephone if you use a cordless or other telephone that is dependent on electricity.
  • Have a battery-powered radio on hand and a supply of fresh batteries to remain aware of news and other information.
  • Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.

If preferred, those needing assistance can apply for special needs programs which provide shelter and transportation free of charge during Tropical Storms and/or Hurricanes. Applications can be found online according to what county you live in.

Visit the Reliability tab on lcec.net for storm season safety tips and to download the LCEC Hurricane Guide.

Become a pro at portable generator safety

May 26, 2022 – Storm season starts in less than a week, and that means that power outages may occur if strong weather heads our way. If you power your home with a portable generator during electrical outages, it is imperative to consider the serious health and safety risks to you, your neighbors, and unsuspecting line crews working in the area if not operated properly. Keep the following in mind to protect yourself and others this storm season:

  • Before you buy a generator, determine how much electricity you need for your home. Be sure to buy the right size generator.
  • Read the operating instructions carefully before operating the generator.
  • Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s electrical system. Plug appliances directly into the generator.
  • Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage. Keep in an open, well ventilated area outside and away from open windows.
  • Buy a battery-operated carbon-monoxide alarm, which will alert you if carbon monoxide levels become dangerous.
  • Do not touch a generator if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Consult an electrician if you have any questions about the safe operation of your generator.

Visit lcec.net for more tips for staying safe around electricity, and to download the LCEC Hurricane Guide.

Glass and windows play a big role in energy usage

May 19, 2022 – Did you know that 30 percent of the summer cooling costs in Southwest Florida are attributed to glass and windows? For those with tons of glass and windows in your dwelling, it is essential to understand the role that glass and windows play in allowing solar heat to enter your home in our summer-dominant climate.

All transfer of heat energy occurs as the result of convection, conduction or radiation:

Convection occurs when heat energy, embodied in a substance, usually air, moves from place to place as the embodying substance moves.

Conduction occurs when heat energy moves from molecule to molecule through a substance. The greater the difference in temperature, the greater the flow of conducted heat.

Radiation is the process by which most heat energy enters homes in Southwest Florida. Every object embodies or stores heat energy and some of this heat energy leaks away in the form of infrared radiation or radiant heat.

Along with understanding how heat enters our home, LCEC energy experts suggest the following tips to stay cool while keeping your electric usage under control:

  • Significant air-conditioning savings can be attained by blocking solar heat before it reaches the windows, or by using special heat-reflecting glass or heat-reflecting glass coatings (residential window tint).
  • Reflective glass or reflective glass coatings should be rated to reflect at least 65 percent of all solar heat to be considered efficient in Southwest Florida.
  • Internal window coverings trap solar heat between them and the window glass until the heat energy warms the air in that space. The heat-laden air flows up to the ceiling, where it waits for the air conditioner to cycle on and draw it in through the filter. This creates an illusion of efficiency when, in fact, the load on the air conditioner has not been altered.
  • Awnings, storm shutters, shade trees and porch or lanai roofs are all very effective in blocking solar heat. To be 100 percent effective, the exterior shading device must never allow direct sunlight to touch the window’s surface.
  • East or west windows are the main source of intrusive heat. It is recommended to use shading devices and tint on east and west windows since they experience many hours of direct sunlight.
  • South-facing windows experience a great deal of direct sunlight in the winter months when the sun rides lower in the sky. In the summer, south-facing windows are largely shaded by the overhanging soffit of the roof.
  • Skylights experience many more hours of direct sunlight than any vertical window and should be avoided if possible.
  • It is difficult to utilize shading devices to block the sun from entering skylights. Existing skylights can be tinted, covered, blocked or shaded to lessen their load on the air conditioner.
  • When upgrading windows, consider energy-efficient features such as double-pane, low-E glass as well as type of frame material.

Visit lcec.net for more ways to save on your energy consumption!

Beat the heat with tips from LCEC

May 4, 2022 – As hot as it feels now, summertime will bring even hotter temperatures to sunny SWFL. LCEC recommends taking simple steps now to beat the heat:

  • When cooling your home, set the thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Each degree below adds 8 to 12 percent to the cooling costs.
  • While away from home for more than two hours, set the thermostat at 83 degrees Fahrenheit. If there is a pet in the home, leave thermostat at 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Install a smart thermostat that will automatically raise and lower the temperature at certain times of the day.
  • Be sure your thermostat fan switch is set on the “auto” setting. This is more economical for temperature and humidity control.
  • Do not close A/C vents or interior doors when A/C is running.
  • Service your air conditioning system annually.
  • Repair duct leaks using metal foil tape reinforced with mastic adhesive.
  • Check air conditioner filters monthly and change as needed.
  • Turn fans off when the room is not occupied. Each continuously running fan costs approximately $7 per month on your electric bill.
  • Run pool pumps for a maximum of 8 hours a day in the summer, and 6 hours per day in the winter, unless you are heating the pool.
  • Install reflective window tint/film that will reflect 65 percent or better on windows facing east, west or south. LCEC also recommends installing awnings, storm shutters and planting shade trees.

In addition to taking steps to beat the heat while keeps electric costs low, now is the time to prep for storm season which starts June 1. Visit the Storm Center page on lcec.net to download the LCEC Hurricane Guide and to learn more about storm restoration. Visit the Energy Efficiency tab for simple and free ways to save on your energy usage.

LCEC Rates Remain Low – May Power Cost Adjustment

May 2, 2022 – A Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) increase will be implemented for LCEC customers on their May bill. The increase is the result of rising purchased power costs passed on from the LCEC power supplier, Florida Power and Light (FPL).

PCA charges are determined after consideration of projected costs for purchased power. When purchased power costs decline the PCA is decreased. Since 2014, there have been five PCA decreases. There are no margins (profit) earned on power costs which makes up more than 70 percent of the LCEC bill.

Even with the power cost adjustment, LCEC rates remain competitive within the region. LCEC customers have not seen a base rate increase in 13 years. The base rate is the portion of the bill that LCEC is able to manage through efficiencies, technology, and a close watch on the bottom line.

Pirating electricity is a crime

April 28, 2022 – Those stealing electricity may not have an eye patch or captain a ship, but they are pirates nonetheless. Theft of electricity is a crime, and a dangerous one at that. Stealing electricity is not victimless and can be life threatening. In an effort to safeguard the best interests of all customers, utilities throughout the industry are clamping down on those who steal electricity. LCEC remains vigilant in its efforts to identify and stop meter cheaters through a program that utilizes automated meter reading technology, business intelligence reporting and field investigations to detect theft, reduce losses and prevent injury to those who choose to steal electricity.

Dangers of meter tampering:

  • The electric meter is the point that electricity enters the home. Tampering with the equipment can result in injury or death by electrocution.
  • Altering equipment can be a fire hazard and back-feed into the lines where crews are working, putting them in danger. 

Cost of meter tampering:

  • The cost of stolen power purchased by LCEC is passed along to all rate-payers.
  • Damaged meters must be replaced.
  • Detecting, investigating, collecting restitution and potentially prosecuting incidents requires resources.

Consequences of meter tampering:

  • In accordance with the Florida Public Service Commission guidelines and LCEC rate tariff,
  • Power is disconnected and the meter is removed immediately.
  • A $200 meter tampering fee, equipment replacement charge, security deposit, current bill and restitution must be paid before power is restored.
  • Power theft is a crime subject to legal prosecution.

What can you do to help reduce power theft?

If you suspect someone is pirating electricity, contact LCEC at www.lcec.net and click on Customer Care or call 239-656-2300 or 1-800-599-2356. Not only are you stopping a criminal, you are potentially saving a life.

National Lineman Appreciation Day is April 18

April 14, 2022 – One of our favorite days at LCEC is around the corner! National Lineman Appreciation Day is April 18. On this special day, LCEC honors not just our dedicated linemen, but line workers around the world, for the imperative and dangerous work they do. These dedicated, highly skilled workers put their lives on the line 24/7/365 to keep the lights on. They work in the most dangerous conditions faced with challenging elements and situations. From swamps, snakes, and alligators to rain, wind, and high temps, linemen truly overcome all obstacles to get the job done!  

LCEC is extremely proud to have made history when lineman Les Walton was inducted into the International Lineman Museum Hall of Fame in 2015. Walton passed away in 2020, but his legacy will forever live at LCEC and in this museum!

National Lineman Appreciation Day is a day to #thankalineman for their work which goes largely unnoticed until you are without power. Should you see a lineman on National Lineman Appreciation Day, or any day for that matter, please give them a wave.

LCEC extends a huge thank you to all the brave line heroes across the nation!

Powerful facts about the lineman trade:
-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 line workers in the United States: More than 115,000
-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

A slow-moving global supply chain impacts electric utilities

April 11, 2022 – Global supply chain challenges and material shortages may cause delays in the installation new LCEC electric service and district lighting. Disruptions in manufacturing and delivery, as a result of COVID-19, raw material, labor shortages, and nationwide weather events such as ice storms and tornadoes are making it difficult for suppliers to meet demand for key components essential to keeping the lights on. “Longer than usual lead times and production constraints have impacted inventory levels making it difficult to manage infrastructure planning,” said LCEC Chief Financial Officer Sarah Bullock.

Utilities nationwide are facing supply chain challenges that could possibly linger into 2023, or longer.

Lead times for materials has risen from three months to more than a year in many cases. While LCEC customers have enjoyed consistent turnaround times for new and residential infrastructure and emergency response, service levels will be tested if critical equipment is not available. In addition, rising costs for raw materials, parts, and components will become a concern that could easily lead to rate increases or power cost adjustments in the future. “If supply chain challenges impact rates, it is going to sting when it hits customers’ wallets. LCEC has not raised base rates in more than 13 years,” Bullock said.

In order to help mitigate inventory shortfalls, LCEC plans to:

  • Communicate potential delays to developers, builders, governmental agencies, and customers
  • Prioritize work
  • Suspend new district lighting requests that require unavailable materials
  • Monitor inventory levels frequently and order with longer lead times in mind
  • Utilize reconditioned equipment when possible
  • Reuse equipment at idle service locations
  • Delay proactive replacement of infrastructure

The expectation is that, along with business-as-usual operations, new project and maintenance delays will become longer and more frequent while supply chain challenges remain high. If the cost of construction bids, large ticket items such as power transformers and bucket trucks, and fuel remain higher than pre-pandemic levels it will cause a ripple effect.

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