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Vampire Electronics

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.

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.

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 watts every 24 hours.

How do you slay other energy vampires?

Try plugging household electronics into smart strips. Not only do smart strips help rid load monsters from your home, but they also 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 a 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.

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

For assistance with slaying your vampires, visit us at or contact our Energy Specialists at 704-289-3145.

Don’t Get Buried in High Electric Bills

Don't get buried in high bills.Did you know Union Power Cooperative offers a tool to help you manage your energy use? The UPC Mobile App allows users to set up alerts to inform you of high use on your account and therefore avoid 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 Energy Usage Alert is that it can help identify something you could typically 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  Energy Usage Alert notifies you when your daily energy use exceeds the dollar amount you set up. 

What Happens if I Receive an Alert?

If usage alerts 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 get buried in high electric bills. Take the time now to set up alerts 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 the Android Market.

Union Power Partners with Ridgecrest VFD to Obtain Funding for Firetruck

Union Power Cooperative, based in Monroe, NC, recently worked
with Ridgecrest Volunteer Fire Department (RVFD) in Stanly County to secure funds for the purchase of a new pumper tanker. The funds were obtained as part of the ongoing “revolving
loan” program with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG), which provides zero?interest loans and grants to local electric cooperatives.

“We needed to replace an aging 1990 tanker that was requiring a great deal of maintenance,” RVFD Board Chairman Curtis Furr said. “The new 3,000-gallon capacity tanker allows Ridgecrest VFD to
better respond to community needs,” Furr added. “Over the past two years, the RVFD has responded to over 600 calls related to
fire, medical and rescue emergencies, and we anticipate that call volume to increase as we grow in this area.”

Ridgecrest VFD serves the unincorporated areas of western Stanly County, including approximately 2,500 single family dwellings.

Fencing… Keeping Your Pets Safe & Your Investments Protected

Many of us have pets, and we want our furry friends to have room to run. One way to provide that room and keep our pets safe is to install a pet containment system. There are many varieties available, but one of the most popular is the underground system, or, invisible fencing. We understand pet safety is important, but the Co-op asks members to take caution when installing invisible fencing. In addition to the initial investment, repairs can be costly if the system is damaged. If you’re thinking of installing one, there are a few things you should consider before making this investment.

If your property is bordered by a utility right-of-way, the Co-op asks that you keep the buried wiring away from it. The right-of-way may be accessed by the power company or other utilities that need to perform maintenance.

The maintenance equipment used is heavy and it is impossible to see the buried wires. There have been recent incidents where Union Power has encountered these systems while clearing vegetation in the right-of-way. When these wires are broken or snapped, damage to the containment system is not visible and pets could breach the perimeter of the pet containment system.

Please take notice when installing pet containment systems, especially underground or invisible fencing. In doing so, we will be working together to ensure that your pets stay safe and that your investments are protected.