Find broadband service in your area
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has unveiled the National Broadband Map. The map is the first ever public, searchable nationwide map of broadband Internet availability. People can use the map to search 25 million records of information about where broadband Internet access service is available, the types of technology used to provide the service, the maximum advertised speeds, and the available service providers in a given location. It was created by NTIA in collaboration with the FCC using data collected from broadband providers and other sources.
The map will be updated every six months and includes an element where the public and providers can provide feedback. Government and industry officials expect the map’s granular information on the country’s broadband availability to help better identify unserved areas and provide further information for making policy decisions. The National Broadband Map can be accessed at www.broadbandmap.gov.
Rep. Schock receives IEC Public Service Award
During May’s NRECA Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-18, of Peoria was presented with a plaque naming him the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives’ 2010 Public Service Award recipient. It was given in recognition of dedicated public service to all citizens of the state of Illinois and for outstanding contributions to the rural electrification program.
Duane Noland, CEO/President of the AIEC expressed his gratitude to Schock for his consistent and effective support. “We are grateful for Congressional leaders such as you who are working for the betterment of our cooperative communities. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to those you serve.”
Prior to being elected to Congress in 2008, Schock served in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Cool energy tips
A typical household spends almost 20 percent of its utility bill on cooling. Try these simple tips to start saving today:
• Program your thermostat to work around your family’s summer schedule — set it a few degrees higher when no one is home. Programmable thermostats can save you about $180 a year.
• Check your HVAC system’s air filter every month. If the filter looks dirty, change it, but change the filter at least every three months. A dirty filter will slow air flow, wasting energy.
• Run your ceiling fan. If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent.
• Remember to have your HVAC system serviced annually.
• Swap out incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient lighting choices. They use less energy for lighting and produce about 75 percent less heat.
• Seal your air ducts. As much as 20 percent of the air moving through your home’s duct system is lost due to leaks.
• When buying a room air conditioner, look for one that has earned the EPA’s Energy Star.
• If your central air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, replacing it with a model that has earned the EPA’s Energy Star could cut your cooling costs by 30 percent.
• Add insulation to your attic to keep cool air in. If every American household did so, Americans would collectively save more than $1.8 billion in yearly energy costs.
More information about keeping cool contact your local electric co-op or go to www.energystar.gov.
Seven students win co-op scholarships
Don Wood, Vice President of Government Relations for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, announced the names of the seven winners of the 2011 Thomas H. Moore IEC Memorial Scholarship in May.
“The amount of each scholarship is $1,250. There were 217 applications received this year and, as always, a large number were extremely qualified applicants,” said Wood.
In the “son or daughter of an electric cooperative member” category, the four winners were:
- Lainie Ungerer of Millstadt. Lainie’s family receives electricity from Monroe Electric Co-Operative.
- Kimberly Jo Wenger of Fairbury. Kimberly’s family receives electricity from Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative.
- Matthew Durbin of Shelbyville. Matthew’s family receives electricity from Shelby Electric Cooperative.
- Stephen Lake of Oakdale. Stephen’s family receives electricity from Tri-County Electric Cooperative.
In the “son or daughter of an electric cooperative employee or director” category, the winner of the “Earl W. Struck Memorial Scholarship” was Lucas Frye of Easton. Lucas is the son of Menard Electric Director Jay Frye.
The two winners of the scholarships reserved for use at an Illinois Community College were:
- Morgan Healy. Morgan’s family receives electricity from Clay Electric Cooperative.
- Amanda Barr. Amanda’s family receives electricity from Norris Electric Cooperative.
The 2011 winner of the program’s eighth scholarship, the new “LaVern and Nola McEntire Lineworkers Scholarship,” will be announced shortly.
Anyone interested in next year’s scholarship should contact their local electric cooperative or local high school guidance counselor.
Co-op discounts – there’s an app for that
Sixteen Illinois Touchstone Energy co-ops provide the Co-op Connections Card for their members. Local businesses and nationwide businesses offer discounts to co-op members who have the card.
Illinois co-op members have saved $880,294 on prescription discounts alone. Members receive 10 to 60 percent discounts on prescription drugs at over 60,000 national and regional pharmacy chain stores-including CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Target and many more. Now the card is available as an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch owners. The app features a list of 100 national deals the Co-op Connections Card currently offers. You can find out more by going to www.connections.coop.
Prairie State Energy Campus dedicates new building
Prairie State Energy Campus celebrated the ribbon cutting and dedication of its Corporate Building on Thursday, June 2, 2011. In attendance were representatives of its nine owners, Prairie State staff and local community leaders. Peter Dequattro, President and CEO offered a welcome and a few remarks.
“This business moves at lightning speed. It’s important, at times like this that we take a minute to remember where we came from and how far we yet have to go. Prairie State Energy Campus is a visionary energy breakthrough that was little more than a concept 10 years ago. Since the groundbreaking in 2007, it has employed more than 4,000 people and continues to do so to this day,” said Dequattro. “As of today, Prairie State employs more than 300 people. Our estimated economic impact is more than $734 million annually. We will produce base load power for 2.5 million families. And everyone here has a hand in reinvigorating the Illinois coal basin and the overall economy of Southern Illinois and the region. We have a lot to be proud of and more to come.”
Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC) is led by eight public power agencies and is the world’s largest coal company to meet the growing demand for electricity of its customer-owners. It represents one of the largest energy projects currently under construction in the U. S. and serves as a prime example of how legislators, regulators, public power agencies, corporations and communities can work together to provide a domestic, cost-effective and environmentally friendly supply of energy to its owners and the communities they serve. The PSEC is comprised of a 1,600 megawatt, coal-fired power plant and adjacent underground coal mine. It is anticipated that the facility will be achieving commercial operations of the first of the two 800 MW generating units in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the second in the third quarter of 2012.