Currents

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 […]

Percentage Sign with Downward Arrow

Rural economy continues to struggle

There was little to cheer about in the Rural Mainstreet Index report issued Sept. 21, as the index sank to 39.6 on a scale of 0 to 100. That’s down from 42.2 in August and the lowest it’s been since last December. Farmland prices fell for the 46th consecutive month. And it’s now 49 months in a […]

Senator Sieben bird hunt

Hunting Works for Illinois

Does blaze orange equal lots of green for the economy? Sportsmen, retailers and business leaders throughout Illinois say yes and getting that message out far and wide is the goal of a new organization called Hunting Works for Illinois. “When looking at the economy of Illinois, it’s hard to ignore the size, scope and impact […]

EnerStar unveils Co-op Solar program

EnerStar Electric Cooperative unveiled its new solar program thanks to a collaboration with Wabash Valley Power Association (WVPA), the co-op’s wholesale power supplier. The new Co-op Solar program is part of a larger-scale local solar program from WVPA. It consists of five solar arrays located in Illinois, Missouri and Indiana and will generate up to […]

Why broadband isn’t like 1930s electrification

Rural broadband in 2017 might sound similar to the mission of providing electricity for rural America in 1937. But an NRECA Board leader says it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. “When we started 80 years ago, we were investing in poles and wires and transformers that had a very long shelf life. We’ve got some […]

Carson addresses

NRECA president highlights how co-ops use farm bill to boost communities

NRECA Board President Phil Carson urged congres­sional ­leaders to ensure that electric co-ops ­continue to have farm bill resources to ­provide affordable, reliable power and ­support economic development efforts that ­contribute to the quality of life in rural communities. Speaking at a House Agriculture Committee ­listening session in Illinois, Carson said co-ops like Tri-County Electric […]