WORKING FOR YOU AS USUAL - IN SPITE OF THE UNUSUAL
At WCEC we work hard to exceed your expectations every single day.
We're here for you 24/7. Even in one of the most unusual years in history!
While the lobby doors aren't open just yet, for your protection and the protection of our essential employees, we remain here to serve you via telephone and in our drive-thru, during normal business hours. In the field, our crews are responsive always.
And speaking of unusual years, weather-wise, this spring has been one for the history books.
Thunderstorms and rain have been on repeat. With those storms, came power outages. The ground is extremely saturated. Because of this, it takes very little wind, or sometimes none, for mature trees to topple. Often, they take power lines (transmission, distribution, and service wires) with them, or cause significant damage to the system and structures. When this happens, outage restoration takes a little bit longer.
While the weather is not something we can control,
we can plan infrastructure maintenance, and how we perform right-of-way tree clearing. We have aggressive programs for both. Even so, right-way-clearance is just 15-feet on either side of our lines. If a tree taller than 15-feet falls toward our line, even when planted outside of the right-of-way, it will take down any line or equipment in the way. There's no way to prevent it. Rest assured, we will get power restored as soon as we can, but it might take a little construction. Weather conditions and time-of-day (or night), all add to outage restoration time.
No matter the outage cause, trees, lightning, animal interference, or something else, we want to help you report it as quickly as possible. That way, trucks get rolling to your location. Here are some tips on reporting outages frustration free.
During storms with a high-volume of outages, it's impossible for the local rural phone system to connect every telephone call. Even if there were endless lines coming in, we don't have that many employees! So, we recommend that you don't use the local line. Instead, try one of the alternate solutions that allow for unlimited simultaneous access with no busy signal or annoying hang-up.
Before we tell you about those, we also must let you know that Facebook is never a way to report your outage. We will not send trucks based on a Facebook report of an outage. The reason is that anybody can masquerade as anyone on social media. We must confirm the account- holder and the actual service location. Facebook is not a secure portal, so we don't exchange any of that information there.
What are the best ways to report? Just call the high-volume line, text your outage, our use our app to report it.
If you want to call in your outage, use the toll-free high-volume outage hotline at 1-866-415-2951. If you are tech-savvy, sign up to use outage texting with your mobile phone. Or use the "My WCEC" app. Of note, for the
outage texting or toll-free hotline to work, your telephone numbers must be in our computer database.
Using one of the above resources helps free up the regular local phone lines for emergencies like arching and burning lines. We recommend all members take action now to decide how they want to report. Read the simple instructions and set up your preferred method at:
Outages are something we want to avoid, because we know that electricity powers your necessities and provides for your comfort and entertainment.
We share your frustrations about the recent heavy-weather related outages. We all hope the weather gives all of us a rest. And in the meantime, we wanted you to have the information you need to be able to report your outages hassle-free. And the assurance of knowing we care.
Thank you for your membership, and your trust in us, as we work hard for you.
WCEC Awards $11,000 to East Texas Students
A panel of 3 independent judges recently awarded $11,000 in scholarships to local high school seniors as part of Wood County Electric Cooperative's (WCEC) "Power My World" scholarship program. Eleven high school students residing within WCEC's 9-county service area will each receive a $1,000 scholarship for continuing education.
This program is funded by unclaimed capital credit payments returned to the cooperative by the state.
The independent judges were WCEC members: Delene Allen, Mineola, JaneAnne Newton, Winnsboro; and Glenda Schill, Quitman. Each judge was tasked with reviewing the essay submissions, accompanying academic records, and lists of civic and community achievements to determine the winners.
Based on their exceptional work and achievements, the 2020 Power My World college scholarship recipients are: Colby Bain, Fruitvale High School; Austin Brown, Van High School; Montanna Gambino, Abeka Academy; Jentri Jackson, Quitman High School; J'Cea Melton, Grand Saline High School; Hope Reeves, Victory Christian Academy; Amanda Santoy, Winnsboro High School; Savannah Sauseda, Grand Saline High School; Brooke Vaughn, Mount Pleasant High School and Zachary Willard, Hawkins High School. Additionally, the winner of a $1,000.00 trade school/technical scholarship is Coleman Johnston, Mount Version High School.
Of those selected, WCEC CEO/General Manager Trey Teaff said, "Through this annual process we enjoy learning about the community service, talents and ambitions of the young men and women that live in our communities. Their dreams and goals are big, but so are their abilities. As a community we all have a lot to be proud of. We look forward to seeing these students progress in their chosen courses of study and work."
This Summer, Seek Savings Through
Energy Efficiency Upgrades at Home
If the warmer weather has you thinking about the hot summer months ahead, this could be a great time to consider energy-saving options and making plans to help control your energy costs.
There's a combination of things you can do yourself, like making slight modifications to your family's routine, that can help identify and achieve opportunities for savings while keeping your home more comfortable throughout the summer cooling season.
When it comes to heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment, spending a few dollars at the beginning of the season can add up to big savings and help you avoid expensive surprises and system failures.
A qualified service technician with the right skills and equipment will check key components like the compressor and condenser, clean the coils and inspect the duct work. A technician may also offer advice on how to get the most value out of your programmable thermostat.
According to experts with the Energy Star program, sealing and insulating duct
work can improve the overall efficiency of your HVAC system by as much as 20%. Making sure systems are appropriately sized can also improve performance.
Consider replacing systems that are more than 10 years old (or those that no longer keep your home comfortable) with a high-efficiency system that is properly sized and designed to meet your needs.
Gain Insights From Energy Audits
Sometimes it pays to get the big picture, so when it comes to energy efficiency and getting real value for your home improvement dollar, professional advice is a good place to start.
While a professional home energy audit is the best way to determine where your home is losing energy and ways to save, where you can save, you can conduct your own simple but diligent walk through and spot many problems. To help you pinpoint some of the easier areas to address visit:
Home Energy Saver
Small Changes Add Savings
When the goal is keeping your house cool and comfortable, remember that any activities adding heat and humidity to your air conditioned spaces can increase your costs.
Open doors don't just allow people to come and go, they also provide an instant exchange of cooler inside air for warm, moist outside air-much the same as the cooling effect you experience when standing in front of an open refrigerator. A cooler stocked with cold drinks and chilled snacks and placed outdoors can help cut down on household traffic on hot summer days.
When cooking, consider using smaller appliances like a slow cooker-or better yet, take the extra heat from cooking outdoors and fire up the grill.
Ceiling fans operating in an air conditioned space can make you feel about 4 degrees cooler while you are in the room. But the benefits only occur when a room is occupied. Make it a habit to turn off the fan when you leave the room.
Safety Under the Sun
It may seem like common sense to keep kites away from overhead power lines, but a child enjoying a breezy summer day might not even notice when they're playing too close to electrical wires.
What children learn today can be a lifesaver later when they are playing outdoors.
Some good safety tips for children include:
- Stay away from electrical substations. If a ball or pet gets inside the fence, contact WCEC for assistance-we'll come and get it out for you.
- Don't fly kites, toy airplanes, balloons or other flying devices anywhere near power lines. It's important to look up and move far away if power lines are present.
- Never climb trees whose branches are anywhere near overhead power lines.
- Never throw anything onto or over a power line.
- Never climb on or play around guy wires, green transformer boxes, electric meters and breaker boxes.
- Never touch an electrical device if you are wet or standing in water or in a pool.
- Never attempt to climb a utility pole or substation fence.
Home cooling makes up a large portion of your energy bills. Try to keep the difference between the temperature of your thermostat setting and the outside temperature to a minimum. The smaller the difference, the more energy you will save.