Spring is officially here. March featured high school basketball tournaments and a snow storm that caused outages and relatively minor damage to our system. We have celebrated Easter and I hope we have seen the last snowfall of the season. The farming community is applying fertilizer and I have heard rumor that some planting has started.
I can remember being allowed to miss school to ride in the wagon and keep the end gate seeder filled with oat seed. The seeder was powered by a chain that was connected to the hub of the wagon wheel. As long as you dressed accordingly, absorbed the bumps across the field, and kept your hands away from the moving parts it worked well. Today’s technology for planting is obviously much better.
This is the time of year for planting fields, gardens and flower pots. Your electric cooperative is also planting a crop of sorts. We have almost 200 miles of electric cable in our inventory that we will plant in the ground between now and the first hard frost this fall.
Most of this cable will be used to replace overhead lines. We are being more aggressive in the replacement of overhead lines that were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s. We are making good progress but the cooperative has an estimated 1,670 miles remaining to be replaced. These improvements will increase the capacity to deliver electric power and improve our reliability.
It appears we will have a very busy planting season. In addition to the line replacement, we have requests to build electric service to 18 homes, and 3 Ag operations. We also have requests to rebuild 20 existing services for increased capacity. This is significantly more work than we normally see this early in the year.
The materials we ordered last fall have been arriving over the past month. We believe we have sufficient supplies for 2021 but we are being advised to consider ordering materials now for 2022. Some materials are experiencing long delivery timelines and unfortunately cost increases. If you have a project that requires a change to the electric service, please contact us early to avoid delays.
Spring is the first opportunity of 2021 for applying for Operation Round-Up grants. The grants are funded by our members who plant about $6 per year into the fund by voluntarily rounding up their monthly bill. The grants make such a difference in our communities. May 1st is the deadline to apply but another round of applications will be accepted on November 1st.
I’m excited to say our cooperative will host our district meetings in June. The dates and locations are included in this newsletter for your reference. You will receive a postcard as the official notice as we get closer to those dates. I hope you will attend and ask a neighbor to come along. The meals are always very tasty and it will be good to see each other in person once again.
Farming and the business of delivering electricity have seen many innovations but they have always taken a lot of Faith – Faith that the seed you plant will yield a crop to benefit your family members and your community. Until next month, stay safe!