Currents

Growing your social security benefits beyond retirement age

As more Americans reach retirement age, it no longer means the end of an active working life. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people are choosing to work past age 65. If you’re willing and able, main­taining gainful employment later in life could go a long way toward ­ensuring a […]

IDNR warns landowners to check the value of their trees

Illinois forest landowners stand to be paid record-high prices for their mature forest trees and logs on farm and forest holdings, thanks to outstanding market prices for hardwood logs and ­lumber. The Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Forest Resources is urging forest landowners to ­consult with a professional ­forester before agreeing to sell. […]

Dairyland Power adds 98 MW of wind energy

Dairyland Power officials flipped the switch on the 98-megawatt Quilt Block wind farm project located in southwest Wisconsin in November. The wind farm is expected to provide enough energy for more than 35,000 households. Dairyland has a 20-year contract to purchase electricity generated by the 49 turbines spread across rural Lafayette County. Dairyland CEO Barbara […]

Metal thefts still a problem despite drop

Insurance claims for metal theft ­continue to fall, but the problem is far from over for electric cooperatives and others, a new report shows. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) said 28,040 claims were processed from 2014 through 2016. That’s down 22 percent from the period of 2013 through 2015. Throughout all four years, copper […]

Wabash Valley and Hoosier Energy sign wind pact

Wabash Valley Power Association and Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc., located in Indiana, will soon be ­recipients of a ­combined 100 MW of wind energy for their ­members. Hoosier Energy and Wabash Valley are ­cooperative ­generation and transmission (G&T) providers with a ­combined 41 distribution ­cooperatives located in Indiana, parts of Illinois and Missouri. More […]

Vets possess skills to fill utility workforce openings

Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Mattoon, is a microcosm of what’s going on with the utility workforce: more ­retirees than immediate skilled workers to fill the job. “I’m losing a third of my line force in the next three to five years. How are we going to replace them?” said Kim Leftwich, president and CEO of Coles-Moultrie, […]

Brace yourself for a colder winter

The Energy Information Administration’s winter fuels outlook sees Americans paying more in heating costs this season over last. Electricity is forecast to have the lowest increase at 8 percent, compared to 12 percent for natural gas, 17 percent for home heating oil and 18 percent for propane. “Most of the increase reflects expected colder weather […]

EPA action is first step toward regulation that provides certainty, flexibility

“America’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives need flexibility and a common-sense regulatory framework that provides long-term certainty to meet their ­members’ energy needs,” said Jim Matheson, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s chief executive officer, in response to the EPA’s recent decision to rescind the Clean Power Plan. “This announcement is a critical step toward replacing the Clean […]

Illinois linemen compete in annual rodeo

The 20th Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives Lineman’s Safety Rodeo was held Friday, Oct. 20 on the Chuck West Training Grounds at Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield. Teams of linemen from 13 electric cooperatives participated in the ­competition, which gives them the opportunity to showcase the skills they use to keep members’ lights on. The […]

Social Security announces 2.0 percent benefit increase

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase 2.0 percent in 2018, according to the Social Security Administration. The 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits ­payable to more than 61 ­million Social Security ­beneficiaries in January 2018. Increased payments to more than 8 […]