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the


January - February 2014


Light Post


keeping homes comfortable. Meanwhile, families rang in the holidays with Christmas lights, nonstop cooking, and kids on vacation in front of the TV. The result: Higher than normal electric bills.


T Kiamichi Electric's average residential


bill in December 2013 increased by 52 percent over that of December 2012.


Oklahoma Mesonet, who tracks climate changes in state, ranked the last month of 2013 as the 17th coolest December on record since 1893. With the statewide average temperature at 35.2°F. in December, it's still no match for 1983's record cold of 25.8°F., but it is far cooler than 2012's 42.1°F.


At Kiamichi Electric, the phones began ringing almost immediately after members received their bill. "A lot of callers said they didn't understand it because they never touched their thermostat,” said Renee Taylor, KEC billing supervisor. “They may not have done anything different, but the weather outside was very different.”


Frigid temperatures force heating units to cycle “on” more frequently—even if the thermostat is set at 68°F. To take the chill off, some members rely on space heaters to heat bedrooms, prevent pipes from freezing, or warm the garage for a pet. “Space heaters can use a lot of kilowatts in a short period of time,” Taylor noted. “When we see high usage, that's one of the first things we ask about.”


Air-source heat pumps with emergency heat strips are another culprit. "When the temperature dips below 32°F, the heat strips will kick on to provide extra warmth," she explained. "A lot of the time the heat strips get stuck in the "on" position, and that uses a lot of energy."


With single digit temperatures kicking off the month of January, Taylor worries that co-op members could see another round of high bills.


To control winter costs, members are encouraged to practice good energy conservation behavior: wear warmer clothes in the house, caulk around windows and doors, seal leaks around plumbing pipes, outlets, and other drafty areas, and 0pen blinds to allow the sun to warm your home.


Taylor also recommends KEC billing programs such as budget billing and prepaid payments. "Budget billing is an excellent alternative to seasonal high bills," she said. Budget billing averages your usage over the year so monthly bills fluctuate less. To participate, members must have at least a 12-month service with KEC and a good payment history.


KEC's prepaid billing program allows members to pay in advance for the electricity use and free themselves from monthly billing cycles completely. "Prepaid members tend to be more aware of their usage so they typically use less," Taylor said. "When they see their account is getting low, they know to take measures immediately to lower their usage. Members who aren't on prepaid aren't aware of what they've used until they've already used it."


For details on KEC's budget billing or prepaid program, please visit www. kiamichielectric.org, or call 888-832-3362.


the heart of our building plans


communities ■ page 2


underway ■ page 3


helping members


improve efficiency ■ page 4


generator safety


is the rule ■ page 5


emperatures in December put the freeze on Oklahoma, causing home heating units to work overtime


PUBLISHED FOR MEMBERS OF KIAMICHI ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE


Download Our New App Kiamichi Electric Cooperative members can pay their bills using KEC's new payment app for smartphones, iPads and tablets. To download the app, visit www.kiamichielectric.org.


Low Temps Cause High Bills Record-setting cold in December prompts calls to co-op


Kiamichi Electric Cooperative


966 SW Highway 2 • PO Box 340 Wilburton, Oklahoma 74578


tele: (918) 465-2338


toll free: (800) 888-2731 FAX: (918) 465-2950


Kiamichi Electric on the Web www.kiamichielectric.org


www.facebook.com/kiamichielectric email: support@kiamchielectric.org


Hours of Operation Monday-Friday 8 am to 5 pm


24-Hour Outage Hotline (800) 888-2731


CONVENIENT BILL PAYMENTOPTIONS


■ Pay online using our secure payment site at www.kiamichielectric.org.


■ Pay via smart phone, iPad or tablet using our mobile app. Download the free app at www.kiamichielectric.org.


■ Pay via telephone 24 hours a day using a major credit card at 800-888-2731.


■ Pay in person at Kiamichi Electric, or use our drive-through payment drop box, available 24 hours a day.


■ Pay using the payment kiosk at the following authorized Kiamichi Electric payment locations.


Dr. Doo’s Lakeside Motor Sports Highway 9 East, Longtown


BancFirst E. Carl Albert Parkway, McAlester


The Rhone Agency 1318 S. Main Street, McAlester


Western Auto 312 Dewey Street, Poteau


youth tour


contest kicks off ■ page 7


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