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CHELCO October E-Newsletter

Deadline fast approaching to sign-up for Cooperative Solar

CHELCO’s initiative to bring Cooperative Solar to this community is in jeopardy due to insufficient commitment at this time. Without an additional 47 contracts, the proposal to bring solar power to CHELCO's energy mix
will be postponed until a future date when member-owner interest increases. Deadline for contracting is Nov. 17.

Cooperative Solar was developed in response to survey data showing that interest in renewable energy exists within CHELCO membership. This survey showed that there is a small number of current members who are
willing to pay an additional amount on their electric bill to fund the building of an array bringing this energy source to the grid.

Contracting options for solar began Aug.1. Approximately 20 members have currently signed Cooperative Solar contracts.These current subscribers may now add additional subscriptions to their contract to help move this effort forward.

The cost of individual solar installation is often cost prohibitive or unsuitable for home owners for a variety of reasons. Cooperative Solar offers home owners and renters a means to support an energy option that is appealing to them for environmental reasons and that benefits the entire community.

Contracts are offered as either a one-year or five-year term. Members will be purchasing an average of 208 kWh per month for a flat rate. The rate is $26 per month for a five-year contract or $27.50 for a one-year agreement. Subscribers will receive credit for energy produced and with the price of the subscription, their electricity costs are expected to increase by a net of $10-$11 monthly, subject to the term length of the contract.

Please click here to apply online or call our Marketing Department at (850) 307-1122.

[Editor's Note: Since publication of this article in paper copy, the number of contracted solar blocks has increased to 38. Without additional subscriptions, the feasibility of building the array at this time remains in question.]


CHELCO is featuring our employees as an ongoing series of stories.


Betty Sims: "Helping others solve problems is the best part of my job."

Marketing Representative Betty Sims examines a Member's meter box as part of a surge protection consultation.


Betty Sims has worked for CHELCO more than 18 years. She started out at the switchboard and then, after five years, transferred to marketing as the administrative assistant. About nine years ago, she became a marketing representative. Betty has a passion for helping others. “I love my job. I enjoy helping people,” said Sims.

Part of Betty’s job is to work closely with CHELCO members to help inform them about how to conserve energy and ways they can protect their home from surges caused by lightning strikes. Betty also works in the community helping nonprofit organizations and other community partners.

Betty’s favorite part of being a marketing representative is helping others solve problems. She loves to provide information to them at events or give one-on-one consults for service like surge protection. When she visits a member’s house, she enjoys explaining CHELCO’s surge program and educating them on how they can protect their home from lightning. She explains point-of-use surge protectors and meter base protectors that work together to provide the most effective shield against lightning. Lightning is unpredictable, and there are several ways it can enter into a home, such as cable TV, phone or other utilities.

Nothing can prevent all damage from a direct lightning strike, but the more protection a member has on their home and valuables, the more they can reduce the potential damage.

Click here to find out more about our Energy Savings tools, audits, advice and programs.


Call to get your switch installed today!

Help CHELCO control wholesale power costs and collect rewards as well!

CHELCO offers members a $50 payment, plus bill credits worth $18 per year, for participating in our Switch to Save program.

Here is how the program works:

CHELCO will install a switch on a member’s electric water heater for free. When demand for power is high on the very coldest and very hottest days of the year, CHELCO will turn off the tank’s heating elements for a few hours. Because the tank is full of hot water, members have hot water to go about their daily lives. Our tests and decades of experience show that members seldom notice the elements are off.

By reducing demand for power at peak times, CHELCO saves money on its wholesale power bill. We pass along the power cost savings to all members through the wholesale power cost adjustment. Also, members who have a switch installed receive a one-time payment of $50, and they get $3 bill credits during the six months when the switches are most likely to be activated (June, July, August, December, January and February).

You can call (850) 307-1122 if you have questions or fill out the online sign-up form at "Switch to Save".


CEO Insights

Steve Rhodes, Chief Executive Officer


Our No. 1 priority at CHELCO is safety.

Without a culture of safety, we would endanger the most important asset of the cooperative – our people – you, the member/owner, our employees and the public. Our safety program is rigorous because our linemen do inherently dangerous work. Every day we have people climbing poles, working at incredible heights, operating heavy machinery and handling high-voltage lines often in treacherous conditions. Our personnel mitigate these potential hazards through safety training conducting safety checks on equipment, reporting safety incidents and offering safety recommendations. These activities help us reduce risks to our linemen and the public.

But, electrical danger is not limited to what CHELCO crews face. Hazards can be found in members’ homes and communities so we encourage you to become more safety-aware. CHELCO’s team is here to help you improve your safety posture. Something as simple as adequate roadway and street lighting can provide a safer driving environment as the fall nights get longer. We offer a low-cost monthly fee for outdoor LED lighting that we can install on wooden power poles. Click here or call (850) 892-2111 for details.

We live in the Sunshine State, but Florida is also the lightning capital of the world. Though nothing can provide absolute protection from this danger, there are ways to improve protection to your home and property. CHELCO offers our members a leased, meterbased surge protector and additional plug-in protectors at affordable prices. Our surge expert will come out and evaluate your home and check that it is properly grounded as well as inspect your existing surge protection. This evaluation costs $25 but will cover the cost of meter-based surge protector installation. For details on surge protection, click here or call (850) 892-2111.

Another way you can help keep our community safe is looking for and reporting damaged powerlines and poles as well as overgrown trees touching lines. By being alert and calling us, you can help prevent power outages or protect someone from harm. Call (850) 307-1211 to report damage or danger to the electrical lines or to report an outage.

These are a few measures you can take to reduce hazards in your home and community. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a comprehensive Home Electrical Safety Checklist that can be downloaded here.

We hope this will inspire you to put safety first in all that you do.

Connections Corner

Co-op Connections discount cards are just another benefit of being a CHELCO member. Dozens of local businesses, plus thousands nationally, offer discounts to co-op members. There are also discounts available on prescriptions at participating pharmacies.

We are highlighting some of our participating businesses each month.

This month we thank the following businesses.

• A Healing Massage- Santa Rosa Beach- (850) 830-4608 - 1 hour massage $49 (Regularly $70)
Beach Brothers’ Beach Service- Santa Rosa Beach- 15% off total rental charge
• Circle S Produce- Mossyhead- (850) 685-5367 -  $5 off any total purchase of $25 or more on Wednesday

To request a card, or, if you own a business and want to sign-up to offer CHELCO’s 50,000 member accounts a discount, email or call CHELCO’s marketing department at (850) 307-1122. You can find all the local and national deals here.


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