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How to Prevent an Electrical Tragedy
Co-op’s Wind Project Delayed but Still on Track
Co-ops Help 4-H Members Power-up Their Projects
How to Find Biodiesel in Illinois
Near Average Temperatures Expected in May

How to Prevent an Electrical Tragedy


According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 140,000 electrical-related fires accounted for an annual average of 500 deaths, nearly 5,000 injuries, and nearly $1.6 billion in property damage. Each year, there are an estimated 150 accidental electrocutions related to consumer products.

The electrical hazard is prevalent on the job as well. Statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicate that nearly 300 people are electrocuted on the job annually. Electrical hazards carry a tremendous price tag in terms of corporate and personal productivity, medical and insurance expenses, and litigation. To help prevent more electrical-related deaths, injuries and property damage, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) sponsors and promotes May as National Electrical Safety Month.

“The key to preventing potentially fatal, destructive and traumatic electrical fires, shock injuries and electrocution is awareness,” says ESFI President Brett Brenner. “Awareness is the first step in a good electrical safety program, both at home and at work.” Following are just some of the safety tips offered by the Foundation:

Electrical systems installed during the 1970s and earlier were not designed to handle the demand that we place on them today. To ensure the electrical safety of your home, have an electrical safety inspection performed by a licensed electrician.

Make sure electrical products you use, including extension cords, are certified by a nationally recognized independent testing lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), CSA Group, ETL and MET Labs.

Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance or tool being used.

Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis. Do not place power cords and extension cords in high traffic areas or under carpets or furniture, and never nail or staple them to the wall or baseboard.

Make sure your home includes ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which can prevent electrocution by shutting off the circuit if they sense a “leak” of current. Install arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to help prevent fires caused by arcing where electricity has to jump a gap.

Test your GFCIs monthly and after every major electrical storm.

Source: www.electrical-safety.org

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Co-op’s Wind Project Delayed but Still on Track


Despite competition from large wind farms for wind turbines, Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative is moving forward with its plans to install a 212-foot $2 million wind turbine. David Stuva, President/CEO of the Auburn-based co-op, said they had hoped to begin construction this summer. Because of high demand for wind generators the project will be delayed until the spring of 2008.

Stuva says the co-op is also changing its order to a new turbine design that eliminates the traditional gearbox and generates power at lower speeds. This turbine will cost about $500,000 less. Energy from the turbine is capable of powering 400 co-op member homes.

The co-op has received approval for $1.5 million in federal zero-interest clean-energy bonds and a $375,000 USDA grant.

The wind turbine will be constructed on top of a 60-foot hill at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Freeman Mine State Wildlife Habitat Area, just east of Interstate 55 at the Farmersville exit south of Springfield. The hill was created as part of the 180-acre mine reclamation project that was donated to the state in 1995. The co-op received a 20-year lease for the wind turbine site.

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Co-ops Help 4-H Members Power-up Their Projects


M.J.M. Electric Cooperative’s Member Services Director Charlie Peterson helps several 4-H members with their electricity projects. They’ll have an opportunity to participate in a statewide Skill-a-thon contest, to be held June 19 at the University of Illinois. Participants will be tested on their knowledge of electrical parts and equipment, symbols, practical wiring, and electrical circuits and components. The Illinois winner will then compete in the National 4-H electric contest in September, for a chance to win a $500 scholarship or a new computer. Interested 4-H members should contact their local University of Illinois Extension office.

Adults who would like to volunteer to assist with the event should contact Dana Smith, Rural Electric Convenience Co-op, at 217-438-6197, or Denise Kistner, University of Illinois Extension, at 217-532-3941.

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How to Find Biodiesel in Illinois


The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) recently launched a new feature on their Web site, www.ilsoy.org, which allows consumers to easily locate biodiesel retailers and suppliers. The site features maps, searchable by county, that indicate the location of facilities offering biodiesel blends.

Visitors to www.ilsoy.org also have access to a world of information on soybean related topics. Beyond the biodiesel facility listings there are soyfood recipes, upcoming meeting information, annual reports, production research information and contact information for ISA Board members and staff.

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Near Average Temperatures Expected in May


The latest long-range climate models indicate the May will see temperatures, which on a whole, average close to normal. Sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific continue to cool and as a result the trend from an El Nino phase to a more neutral phase has persisted.

Looking back at past years that have had a similar phase shift reveals that late spring tends to be closer to normal when it comes to temperatures across Illinois. The NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) index is expected to be primarily negative, which will result in a higher frequency of upper-
level troughs moving across the eastern third of the country. This will also lead to periodic cold frontal passages across Illinois that will help to inhibit any long lasting warm spells that may occur.

With temperatures expected to average out close to seasonal norms, the cooling season will likely begin on a more modest note. The Illinois map this month indicates the average number of total CDD (Cooling Degree Days) during a typical summer season. Early indications are that the total number of Cooling Degree Days during the upcoming summer may exceed the averages depicted on this map. With that being said, consumer energy costs with respect to cooling may trend higher during the months ahead.

Source: EJS Weather, Newton, Ill., www.ejsweather.com or call 618-783-3040.

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