Union Power Cooperative observing National Cooperative Month

Union Power Cooperative is joining 30,000 cooperatives nationwide this month to celebrate National Co-op Month, which recognizes the many ways cooperatives are committed to strengthening the local communities they serve. “Co-ops Commit” is the theme for this year’s celebration, spotlighting the countless ways cooperatives meet the needs of their members and communities.

Power lines and utility poles weave across Union Power Cooperative’s service territory, connecting members together in a powerful network that delivers energy to homes and businesses. This infrastructure is a visual representation of how Union Power is connected to local landscapes, but our commitment to the community runs deeper than poles, trenches and wires. Union Power Cooperative is investing in teachers, students, families and their futures to better strengthen our communities.

In local classrooms, curious minds are learning new technology, and hands are manipulating science equipment, flipping through books, webpages and creating art, thanks to our Bright Ideas education grants. These grants provide new resources and opportunities to students and teachers. Since 1994, the cooperative has awarded over $340,000 to local educators. Now with more than 20 years of grants in place, generations of students are reaping the benefits.

As a result of our commitment to community, local high school students build leadership skills and experience the power of civic engagement on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Union Power Cooperative sends local students, our future leaders, to Washington D.C., on this empowering trip every year. These students come back accomplished and inspired to take bold steps toward the future.

Through programs like the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program, Union Power recently helped Flowes Store Volunteer Fire Department in Cabarrus County with purchasing a new pumper truck. This is just another example of our local community example of our local community engagement and helping give back.

Our Commercial Lighting Rebate program that has assisted numerous businesses with modernizing their lighting equipment. For our residential members, Home Energy Audits allow for one-on-one guidance that oftentimes reduces energy consumption and lowers power bills.  

At Union Power Cooperative, we do more than supply power. Because we’re local, and owned by you, our members, we will remain committed to building and strengthening the local communities we serve.

 

Don’t get buried in high electric bills

Did you know that Union Power Cooperative offers a tool to help you manage your energy usage? The UPC Mobile App allows users to set up alert notifications to inform you of high usage on your account and therefore avoid unexpected surprises on your monthly bill.

Seasonal fluctuations in temperature and other things like hosting those summer house guests can supplement and increase electric bills. The value of the High Energy Usage Alert is that it can help identify something you could normally miss- like a malfunctioning heat pump or well pump- before it runs your electric bill sky high causing your finances to plummet into the ground. The High Energy Usage Alert notifies you when your daily energy usage exceeds the dollar amount you personally set up.

What Happens if I Receive an Alert?

If high usage alert notifications are received consistently for a few days, and seasonal temperatures can be ruled out, it is time to investigate further. The top three offenders that typically cause a spike in usage and should be checked by a licensed technician are:

  • Heating/Cooling systems
  • Electric water heaters
  • Well pumps/water system leaks

Don’t let your energy usage creep up without you being aware. Take the time now to set up alert notifications on your account. Simply download the UPC Mobile App by looking for our name “Union Power Cooperative” or the app name “UPC Mobile” in the App Store or in the Android Market. Visit union-power.com, Residential, High Energy Usage Alerts for more information.

Slay Energy Vampires by cutting them off at the Source

The month of October brings with it ghosts, ghouls and mummy’s walking the streets causing a scare. But did you know these frightening terrors may be lurking in your home year round in the form of energy vampires? Whether home entertainment systems, computers, kitchen equipment or cell phone chargers, these electronic “must-haves” can suck the energy right out of your home causing a horrific electric bill.

As children, most of us were told to turn off the TV when no one was in the room to keep from wasting energy. But with today’s high-tech televisions, turning off the set doesn’t save as much energy as you think. “Off” doesn’t really mean off anymore. Several devices found inside your home are commonly referred to as “energy vampires”—consuming electricity even when switched off. Energy vampires can be found in almost every room, but a favorite “coffin” is your entertainment center. Most TV’s today slowly sip electricity while waiting patiently for someone to press the “on” button. They also use energy to remember channel lineups, language preferences, and the time. Blue-Ray players, DVD players, DVRs, and cable or satellite boxes also use energy when we think they’re turned off. Studies show on average, a DVR cable box, turned off, costs consumers an average of $43.46 a year. Additionally, consumers use an estimated 25 household devices, resulting in an additional $100 – $200 per year being drained from your household finances.

Let’s not forget the kitchen. A k-cup coffee maker uses on average 1500 watts of power just to warm up while its necessary counterpart, the refrigerator, uses on average 180 kWh every 24 hours.

How do you slay other energy vampires? Try plugging household electronics like personal computers, monitors, printers, speakers, stereos, DVD’s, video game players, and cell phone chargers into smart strips. Not only do smart strips help rid load monsters from your home, they protect sensitive electronic components from power surges. You can quickly turn off several items at once as most smart strips feature three outlet colors, each with a unique task. The blue outlet serves as a master plug and is ideal for a heavily used device like a TV or computer.  Anything plugged into the red outlets stays on, electricity to these receptacles never cuts off, making them perfect for satellite boxes or other appliances that need constant power. The remaining outlets, generally neutral or green in color, are sensitive to current flowing through the blue outlet, so turning off the TV or computer cuts power to them as well. Some smart power strips can be made even smarter with timers or occupancy sensors that determine when to cut power to various devices. Smart strips are available online or at specialty electronic retailers and generally cost $20 or more depending upon their size.

While our parents may have asked us to turn off the TV to avoid unnecessary distractions, maybe they were simply trying to slay the energy vampires that haunted their electric bills.

For assistance with slaying your vampires, visit us at union-power.com/energysavingcalculators or contact our Energy Specialists’ at 704-289-3145.

High School Seniors- Apply Now!

Attention high school seniors! Now is the time to plan for your future and Union Power Cooperative wants to help. The Cooperative is accepting applications from high school seniors based on the following criteria:

Applications will be accepted from September 11, 2017 – March 20, 2018.

• Six $1,000 scholarships will be awarded.
• Student must be the son or daughter of a Union Power   Cooperative member or reside in a household served by Union Power.
• Scholarships to be awarded:
        3- North Carolina Community College
        3- North Carolina accredited University or College.

Awards are based on 40% financial need, 30% extracurricular activities (school and community) and 30% scholastic achievement.

Union Power Cooperative takes great pride in being a committed partner in the community. We recognize our youth power the future and our college scholarship program is just another example of this commitment.

Visit us at union-power.com/collegescholarships to find out how you can apply today.