Stand with CCEC and Hundreds of Others

500 members in Cass County Electric Cooperative’s service territory have already contacted the EPA in protest of its proposed “All-but-one” approach to energy. The EPA’s strict new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions would mean the cost of producing electricity from coal-based plants would escalate dramatically. We are grateful so many members have already begun to take action by contacting the EPA, as limiting this affordable energy resource could have dire consequences – including higher electricity bills. But we don’t want to stop at 500.

Would you be willing to write one email if you knew it might affect your future costs of electricity from Cass County Electric Cooperative? Join us in voicing concerns about these new regulations to the EPA. You can go to either http://www.action.coop or http://www.tellepa.com to send a message: Keep electricity affordable.

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Flipping the Switch on Inefficient Lights

After a three-year-long process of attempting to phase out certain types of inefficient incandescent bulbs, the National Lighting Bureau has announced that the least-efficient incandescent lights will be phased out by the end of this year.

Starting on January 1, 2014, it will be illegal to manufacture or import 60-watt and 40-watt, general-purpose A-line incandescent bulbs. This phasing out of these top energy consumers started with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which has extinguished multiple other incandescent bulb types in previous years.

According to the National Lighting Bureau, the new rule will save both residential and commercial consumers approximately 176.25 billion kilowatt-hours each year as a result of the switch from incandescent bulbs to more efficient alternatives. Lowered energy costs of alternative lighting options combined with longer-lasting bulbs that require fewer replacements will mean significant long-term savings for consumers.

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Consumers will still have multiple options to choose from when selecting lighting, as incandescent bulbs will not be phased out entirely. More efficient general-purpose incandescent lights (such as halogen lamps) will still be available along with a variety of specialty incandescent bulbs not impacted by the phase-out.

For more information on the phasing out of inefficient incandescent bulbs, you can visit the National Lighting Bureau’s website at www.nlb.org.

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Thankful

As the thanksgiving holiday draws nearer, we’d like to take this opportunity to tell you just a few of the things we are thankful for:

  1. Our members — new and old: Whether you’ve been a Cass County Electric Cooperative member for five minutes or 50 years, we are thankful you are a part of our network. Without you, there would be no Cass County Electric Cooperative. That’s why it is our mission to meet your energy needs with excellent service.
  2. Our employees: At CCEC, we have a great team of professionals dedicated to serving our 10-county area. Without them, we would not be able to produce the affordable, reliable service that we provide today. We are thankful for them today and every day.
  3. Our leadership: We are governed by a dedicated board of directors that is consistently looking out for the best interests of our members and our cooperative. They invest countless hours in ensuring smooth operations at CCEC, and we appreciate this beyond words.
  4. Our community: One of our core values is commitment to community, and that’s why we are always looking for ways to give back. We live and work in great communities full of inspiring and generous people who are always willing to sacrifice to help others — that’s something to truly be thankful for.
  5. Our power supplier: We are thankful for the reliable power we purchase from Minnkota Power Cooperative. They help us help you.
  6. Our support network: The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Touchstone Energy provide the foundation on which CCEC is able to serve its members. From instilling cooperative principles and values in our system to helping us distribute important information to those in our network, we are thankful for this alliance that helps us bring energy to life.

We want to express our thankfulness to all those who make the efforts of Cass County Electric Cooperative possible. We hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving.

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The Gifts That Keep on Giving

When shopping for loved ones this year, consider buying energy efficient products. Not only will your recipients love their gifts, they’ll love what these gifts can do for their electricity bills as well. Below are just a few ideas of energy-saving gifts for those you cherish:

For the gadget-lovers:

  • Smart power strips. For those electric-powered tools and gadgets you wrap up this holiday season, be sure to include a smart power strip to reduce power usage when products are not being utilized. By giving the gift of a smart power strip that places electronics into standby mode when they are not being used, you can save your gadget-loving friends or relatives up to 10 percent on their monthly energy bills.
  • Rechargeable batteries. No matter what gadget you give as a gift, pair it with some rechargeable batteries. You’ll save the gift opener the hassle of having to purchase their own batteries before they can use the gift. Plus, if you throw in a charger too, they can continue to reuse the same batteries throughout the life of the gadget.

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For the kitchen-dwellers:

  • Pots and pans. Buying specific types of cookware can increase the rate at which food is heated on the stove or in the oven. For your friends and relatives who love to cook, new pots and pans make great gifts. Purchase pans with copper bottoms that will heat up more quickly and evenly than regular pans on the stove. Or, buy ceramic and glass pans for those who cook a variety of meals in the oven, as these dishes cook food more efficiently than their metal counterparts.
  • ENERGY STAR appliances. If you have a bigger budget (or even just an extra-deserving friend/relative), a new appliance is an extraordinary gift idea. For the parent who has been using the same refrigerator for more than 15 years or the friend with a full sink and a leaky dishwasher, a new ENERGY STAR appliance will certainly be well-received. Not only will the appliances work better and last longer, they will result in significant cost savings as well.

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For the entertainment gurus:

  • Energy Forward TVs. Televisions are responsible for a large portion of a household’s energy consumption. Buying a television with the Energy Forward label on it ensures your cinema-loving friends and family will have the most energy efficient entertainment out there. When in doubt, always choose an LED TV over a Plasma display to significantly reduce electricity costs.
  • Newer game consoles. For video game aficionados, the newest gaming systems are sure to be at the top of the holiday wish list. Fortunately, these systems have made huge advancements in energy efficiency. The newest and hottest consoles on the market, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, are nearly twice as energy efficient as their predecessor models.

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For the workaholics:

  • Updated technology. Computers are huge power consumers. For your tech-savvy friend or relative with outdated technology, consider purchasing a laptop or tablet that can be used in place of his/her old desktop computer. These more mobile devices are a great alternative because they use much less energy than desktop PCs. If a laptop or tablet isn’t the right option for the person you’re gifting to this holiday, consider the gift of an LCD monitor to replace any old CRT monitors. This switch will also offer substantial energy savings.
  • LED desk lamp. For the late-night workers, an LED desk lamp provides a smart, energy-efficient alternative to standard incandescent bulb lamps. These lights do not get as hot as traditional bulbs, and they last much longer. An LED lamp is sure to be a welcome addition to any workaholic’s desk.

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Contact the EPA to Keep Energy Affordable

Would you be willing to write one email if you knew it might affect your future costs of electricity from Cass County Electric?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has placed strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that would dramatically increase the cost of producing electricity from coal-based plants. These new regulations could limit access to a valuable and affordable energy resource – one that makes up nearly 90% of the electricity delivered to North Dakota residents. In turn, members would see an increase in monthly electricity bills.

We want to keep energy affordable. Join Cass County Electric Cooperative in voicing concerns about these new regulations to the EPA. Go to the Cooperative Action Network’s website at www.action.coop and click “Send a message to EPA” to start a conversation and voice your opinions on this policy.

Our goal is to keep this important conversation going. Your support is appreciated.Image

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Willie Wiredhand turns 63

footballkickingwillie-L footballrunningwillie“He’s small, but wirey.” Who?. Willie Wiredhand.

The beloved mascot of electric cooperatives turned 63 in October. It’s a fitting birth date—National Cooperative Month—for the stalwart yellow figure, who became the embodiment of the fighting cooperative spirit and the symbol of dependable, local, consumer-owned electricity all over the world. (In Latin America, for example, he is known as “Electro Pepe.”)

Willie came to life in 1950, created by the late Andrew “Drew” McLay, a freelance artist working for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), in collaboration with then-RE Magazine editor William Roberts.

Since then, Willie has appeared on scores of promotional items—signage for buildings and substations, T-shirts, ball caps, golf balls, Christmas ornaments, beach towels, fly swatters, aprons, night lights, marbles and other toys, and much more.

But Willie had to fight for his right to stand for electric cooperatives.

In l957, Willie and electric cooperatives won a heated battle with Reddy Kilowatt, “spokescharacter” for the investor-owned power companies. Reddy’s lawyers argued that Willie would confuse the public because he so closely resembled Reddy. “Not so,” said a federal judge. But Reddy and his posse appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. They lost.

Out of the victory, Willie Wiredhand came to symbolize more than cooperative friendliness—he was now the true embodiment of cooperative spunk, willing to stand up for consumers in the face of impossible odds against the entrenched might of huge investor-owned utilities. The phrase “He’s small, but wirey” became part of the trademark Willie was granted by the U.S. Patent Office in 1957.

Willie’s role has continued to evolve over the decades. For example, when the 1970s ushered in an energy crisis, he donned a sweater and hopped on a bicycle, caulked windows, and weather stripped doors in new ads pushing energy conservation and efficiency tips. Later, he became more of a pop-art celebrity, appearing on novelty items like coffee mugs and watches.

But no matter his persona, Willie Wiredhand has been a recognizable and dedicated friend to millions of electric cooperative consumers, faithful and enduring for decades. Happy birthday, Willie.

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ND delegations upset with new EPA rules

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday released a proposal for strict new regulations on carbon emissions from new U.S. power plants, causing some of North Dakota’s top politicians to fire back.

By: Bryan Horwath, The Dickinson Press

Published September 21, 2013, 12:00 AM (originally)

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday released a proposal for strict new regulations on carbon emissions from new U.S. power plants, causing some of North Dakota’s top politicians to fire back.

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., both released statements Friday afternoon blasting the new regulations, which they said could have a negative impact on the energy industry.

“The (Obama) Administration’s decision is a direct attack on coal-fired power plants and detrimental to the future for coal as an energy resource,” Heitkamp stated in a release. “This administration has repeatedly stated its energy policy as ‘all of the above,’ but continues to issue regulations that make it impossible to find a viable path forward for coal.”

The rules — which would limit new coal-fired units to releasing 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour and call for tighter restrictions on natural gas facilities — represent the first major provisions in the president’s climate change package, which was announced in June.

Heitkamp pointed out that nearly 90 percent of the electricity delivered to consumers in North Dakota is provided by the coal industry.

Hoeven went a step further, saying the new regulations would have a negative impact on all Americans.

“The new rule the EPA released (Friday) will clearly have a negative impact on the energy industry and the American people,” Hoeven stated. “It will kill jobs, weaken our economy and deprive American families and businesses access to affordable energy. The rule goes too far, too fast.

“Also troubling is the fact that the administration appropriated the authority to make a major decision that rightfully belongs to Congress,” he stated. “This will affect virtually every American for many years to come.”

In addition to the political backlash from some in Washington, the president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity issued a scathing response to the new rules, which are expected to be a prelude to new EPA guidelines for future power plants.

“The EPA is banning the construction of modern coal plants resulting in fewer fuel choices in the market,” stated Robert Duncan in a release. “Fewer energy choices could cause American consumers to pay the ultimate price of higher energy bills. This misguided policy only adds insult to injury to an industry that has successfully used clean coal technologies to reduce many emissions by more than 90 percent.”

However, in her presentation of the regulations on Friday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy referred to climate change, largely stemming from power plant carbon emissions, as a “public health challenge” and said the rules represented “common sense” action.

“These standards will spark the innovation we need to build the next generation of power plants, helping grow a more sustainable clean energy economy,” McCarthy said. “By taking action, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children.”

Echoing McCarthy’s sentiments, Wayde Schafer of the Sierra Club’s Dacotah Chapter called the proposed rules “exciting” and said it was a step in the right direction toward having a more environmentally friendly energy industry.

Congressman Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., issued a video response to the EPA’s announcement, calling it a “terrible precedent” for future energy policy.

“Very few places on Earth are cleaner and greener than the state of North Dakota,” Cramer said. “With these regulations, the Obama Administration is telling us the cleanest coal technology ever developed by the U.S. ought to be punished, not rewarded.”

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