$12K in Scholarships for College or Vo-Tech 

At WCEC we support higher education at every level with our robust scholarship program. In the fall we awarded 3 adult scholarships, and this spring we'll give high school seniors 12 more. And, because we believe in and support the trades, 2 of the 12 $1,000 scholarships are reserved for those career tracts.
To be eligible, applicants must be a graduating senior, and a dependent of an active WCEC member, and living in a household on WCEC's distribution system.

Applicants must complete an official WCEC application that includes academic standing certified by a school official, 2 letters of reference and an essay. In the 500-word-or-under essay, the applicant should describe themselves including current interests, educational, professional and personal goals, and describe why they have chosen their particular field of study.
For those awarded a scholarship, funds will be paid directly to the college or trade school.
These programs are funded entirely by unclaimed capital credit payments returned to WCEC by the state of Texas. All entries must be received at WCEC headquarters by April 7, 2020.
Applications are available online at http://www.wcec.org/programs-sponsorships/scholarships/ 


We've Updated the Tariff
Changes Effective February 1, 2020
At WCEC we never want to increase charges, but rising cost make it necessary to adjust rates from time to time, based on material costs changes or other factors. In December of 2019, the board adopted a resolution that changed, added, and eliminated fees. WCEC also took the opportunity to eliminate rates and fees that are no longer in effect, and to update terminology.  
The good news is that none of the changes increased the base rates or per kWh charges. Therefore, most current members will not be affected. We mailed all members a notice of these changes in December but wanted to offer a little more in-depth explanation of the areas of change.  
1) First off, we renamed the Wood County Electric Cooperative, Inc. Electric Service Tariff. It's now simply, Member Policies and Schedules. This is the document that dictates all of the rates and fees.
2) We eliminated certain fees and charges to include removing rate classes that are no longer in effect, and we made some adjustments to some existing charges.
a.) The Trip Fee was changed from $25 to $30. Members are never charged a fee for WCEC workers to visit their service location during the normal course of business or during regular outages. This fee is charged when a WCEC employee is required to visit a member's property as a result of the member's actions. An instance where this fee may be applied is for a trip for an outage resulting from the Member's actions or equipment. Or, if we've been to a location and staked a job and a member decides they want the service in a different place, and we must do it again. There are other instances, but the purpose of this fee is to ensure the cost is paid for by the member that initiated the trip, and not the rest of the membership. As a non-profit, we do our best to make costs fair and equitable for all members.
b.) The Non-Standard Meter Reading Fee was changed from $25 to $30. This is an elective service. It's charged monthly to a member that requests their service be metered by equipment that doesn't communicate with WCEC's metering system. There's an added cost to WCEC to maintain these non-standard meters because an employee must travel to the member's property every month to physically read the meter. Because it's an elective service, that cost is passed on to those members.
c.) Line Extension Charges are paid by a member when construction is required to provide new electric service. These start at the load point and the maximum credit per meter installation is 250 feet. The underground single-phase primary cost was $8/ft and it's now $9/ft, and the underground multi-phase was $10/ft and is now $12/ft. Instead of the previous wire credit, members will receive a dollar credit up to $450 for new primary overhead, up to $500 credit for new underground primary construction, and up to $500 credit for new underground secondary construction. Any credit for overhead multi-phase primary construction has been eliminated. This change ensures that the members get the cost savings of the construction credits. For convenience, WCEC will sell wire to members at cost for their new service.
d.) Switchover Fees are charged to a Member that chooses to abandon WCEC's facilities and switch their electric service to another provider in areas where such is permitted under Texas law. The current base charge of $155.00 and the current base charge adder of $35 have been repealed and replaced with a new single Switchover Fee of $315.
3) We changed and added some fee/charges:
  • $95.00 Connect Fee This fee is for when a member specifically requests an after-hours electricity connection. Because this falls outside of normal Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. hours, there is added cost to the cooperative to send personnel to perform the work.
  • $250.00 Meter Tampering Fee Only WCEC employees and representatives, and certified electricians that have received permission of the cooperative, should disconnect, modify, or attach any equipment to a meter or meter base. When meters lose power, we are notified in the office, and will investigate. If evidence of tampering is found, such as a cut meter seal or any other sign, it will result in the member being charged this fee. When evidence of a crime is found,such as electricity theft, charges are pursued in a court of law.
  • $150.00 Minimum Deposit WCEC uses a third party credit rating service to determine if a deposit must be paid by a member. Deposits help us control cost, which benefits all members. If you're asked to pay a deposit, it will earn interest at a rate set by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. After a member has established good credit with us by paying all bills on time for 12 straight months, members will receive a refund of their deposit, with interest, as a credit on their electricity bill.
4) We renamed the Security Light Service schedule. It's now called the Outdoor Lighting schedule to better reflect the use.
6) Lastly, we consolidated and organized certain fees and charges found in the Tariff. The new SmartPower Program Rider replaced the old pre-paid schedule, and it reduces the previous base charge for pre-pay members by $1 per month.
The new Member Polices and Schedules, in it's entirety, can be found on WCEC.org under Resources at the bottom of the page. And, as always, if you have any questions or need clarifications, just give us a call.

The deadline is quickly approaching for one lucky area high school student to win an action packed all-expenses paid trip to D.C. 
High school juniors and seniors have until February 14, 2020 to apply. Candidates should download the official application at wcec.org under the Programs and Sponsorships tab. Complete it and follow the submission instructions along with a short one-to three-minute video on the topic, "My Cooperative and What it Brings to the Region."    
Official eligibility rules and information can be found at here.
Safety Tips 
Test Your Power Line Safety Knowledge
TRUE OR FALSE? Power lines are insulated for contact.
False. While power lines may have a covering to protect against weather, lines are not insulated for contact. Birds can sit on a power line unhurt because they don't present a path to the ground. You and your ladder do make contact with the ground.
TRUE OR FALSE? I should keep myself and any equipment I'm using at least 10 feet away from any power lines. 
True. You don't need to contact a power line to be in danger; electricity can jump, or arc, from a power line to a person who gets too close. The best insulator is lots of space. You should keep yourself and any equipment you're using a minimum of 10 feet away from power lines, but far greater distances are recommended.
TRUE OR FALSE? I can be electrocuted by a power line even if I am wearing gloves and rubber boots. 
True. Work gloves and rubber boots offer no protection against contact with a power line. Line workers have highly specialized equipment to keep them safe. Once again, space-and lots of it-is the best insulator.
  For more safety tips visit our Safety & Consumer Tips
Energy Efficiency Tips     
Are you using your fireplace efficiently?

There's nothing quite like the ambience and beauty of flames in a fireplace during winter. Although they are attractive and can warm an area in their immediate vicinity, fireplaces can result in energy loss and increased energy bills, if you're not careful.  Below are some tips on how you can still enjoy your fireplace, while being mindful of energy efficiency.
  • Keep the damper closed unless a fire is burning: This is the most important rule of fireplace maintenance. If the damper is left open it allows warm air to go up the chimney. 
  • Install fireplace doors: This will retain more heat-especially if you're careful to keep them closed when the fireplace is not being used. Make sure they're sealed all the way around so that no drafts can get through. Close both the doors and the damper.
  • Keep other doors closed: In a multi-story home, some homeowners find it useful to close the doors to upstairs or downstairs rooms while they have a fireplace lit. Since a fire in a fireplace sucks heat out of a room, closing the doors helps keep heated air in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and other rooms upstairs. 
  • Turn down the thermostat.  Since a fire can suck air out of a room, there's definitely no point in overheating it. When you light a fire, turn the heat off or down.
  For more energy efficiency tips visit our Energy Savings Center.