Manager’s/President’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – January 2022

Small space heaters are meant to do exactly as their name says: heat a small space. But unfortunately, many people use portable space heaters to heat their entire home, which can really take a toll on your energy bills. The truth is, whether you should use space heaters really depends on your home’s efficiency and energy needs.

If you’re using a space heater to compensate for problems in your home, like inadequate insulation, drafty windows and exterior doors, or an inefficient heating system, space heaters are not a practical solution. Your best bet is to improve the overall efficiency of your home. If you’re on a tight budget, caulking and weather stripping around windows and exterior doors is a low-cost, easy way to save energy. Depending on the size of your home, adding insulation can be a great next step. Loose fill insulation typically costs $1 to $1.50 per square foot. Taking these proactive energy-saving measures rather than relying on space heaters for supplemental warmth can reduce your heating and cooling bills for years to come.

Perhaps your home is energy efficient but you’re cold-natured and want a specific room to be cozier than the rest. In this case, a space heater may work for your needs. A good comparison is ceiling fans; we use ceiling fans in the summer to cool people, not rooms. A space heater can be used in a similar way during winter months. Only use a space heater in small spaces that you’re occupying and, if possible, try to shut off other rooms to contain the warmth provided by the space heater. If you decide to use a space heater to heat a small area in your home, make sure the heater is properly sized for the space; most heaters include a general sizing table.

A word about safety: the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 25,000 residential fires are associated with the use of space heaters every year, resulting in more than 300 deaths. If you must use a space heater, purchase a newer model that includes the most current safety features and make sure it carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label. Choose a thermostatically controlled heater to avoid energy waste and overheating, and place the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic when in use. Always keep children and pets away from space heaters.

Consider alternative ways to stay warm like extra layers of clothing or UL-approved electric blankets. If you have hardwood or tile floors, lay down area rugs to provide additional insulation (and visual appeal!) and maintain warmth.

We know it’s cold out there, but remember in addition to safety concerns, space heaters can greatly increase your energy bills if used improperly.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – December 2021

“The holidays.” I love everything about this time of year. Just the thought of the holiday and evokes a sense of comfort
and nostalgia. Recalling family gatherings and traditions warms my heart and fills my senses. It’s a time of reflection. I’m grateful for my own family as well as my co-op family. At Halifax EMC, we’re driven by a sense of mission and purpose. Our team feels a strong connection to our community and our members, because we live here, too.

While many of our community-focused programs and activities ramp up this time of year, we have several programs and services in place to help our members year-round. I’d like to remind you about some of these offerings in hopes you’ll find them beneficial.

We hope you’ll take advantage of the HEMC Mobile app that empowers you to monitor, manage and pay your energy bill conveniently through your phone. Another service we offer is pre-paid metering, which is intended to help budget your monthly energy costs. Halifax EMC members can pay for electricity before it’s used, then use the electricity until the credit expires. During the time period paid for, you’ll receive regular feedback on your balance via text or email. We also offer energy efficiency programs to save you money and energy.

In addition to helping members save today, we’re focusing on the future. In our area, we’re seeing increased interest in renewable energy sources. Recent innovations and advances have led to significant cost decreases in renewable energy, making it more feasible and accessible. In recent years, Halifax EMC has been able to adjust our fuel mix by incorporating more renewables. Today, five percent of our fuel mix is comprised of renewable energy sources.

You may have noticed our electric vehicle (EV) “Sparky” around town. We invested in an EV to promote greater understanding of electric vehicles and promote their use, especially given the focus on electrification of the transportation sector.

But the most important investment we make is in our local youth. Halifax EMC offers scholarships to local high schoolers who plan to further their education at a North Carolina community college, college or university. We also partner with Touchstone Energy to send middle school girls and boys to basketball camp each summer. Each year, through our Youth Tour program, we send rising high school seniors to Washington, D.C. for a weeklong immersion to experience democracy in action.

At the heart of all of these programs is you––the members we proudly serve. Looking back, I’m grateful for so many wonderful community partners and for the positive impact we can continue to make.

This holiday season, I wish you and your loved ones peace, joy and prosperity. Speaking on behalf of our team at Halifax EMC, I know the future will be bright, because of you.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – November 2021

For me, this is a time of year for refection, and topping my list of things I’m grateful for is our wonderful community. I know I
speak for all Halifax EMC employees when I say that we are thankful to be in such an incredible place. We are fortunate to live in the same place where we work, which makes our ties to this community that much stronger.
You may recall that last month, my column touched on the first three Cooperative Principles, so this month, I’d like to tell you about the remaining four principles. The Cooperative Principles are essential to the co-op business model and benefit all members of the co-op.
Autonomy and Independence
The fourth principal, Autonomy and Independence, means that the co-op operates in an autonomous way that is solely directed and guided by its members, reflecting the values and needs of our local community. This means the co-op is not being influenced by leaders or shareholders several states away. Instead, the co-op is led by the local members it serves.
Education and Training
The fifth principle, Education and Training, focuses on enhancing the knowledge of co-op employees and
board members, which enables them to contribute to the development of the co-op.
By investing in continuous learning for our employees and board members, our co-op is making a commitment not just to individual professional and personal growth, but to the future of the co-op and the high quality of service our members expect and deserve. It’s a win-win situation.
We also strive to inform our members (that’s you!) and the public about the mission and operations of the co-op. In fact, that’s why you receive this magazine every month, so we can share the latest co-op news and updates, as well as energy efficiency and safety tips.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperation among cooperatives is the sixth principle and fosters the way that co-ops work together to address bigger challenges. While this principle applies to all types of cooperatives, it is especially relevant in the energy industry. In our case,
we put this principle in action after major storms and disasters that cause widespread power outages.
When this happens, we call on nearby co-ops to come to our aid and assist with restoration efforts––and we, of course, extend the same help to them when they need us. I can’t think of a better example of cooperation among cooperatives.
In addition, because we are part of we can connect and collaborate with other electric co-ops to tackle industry-related challenges, like cybersecurity and an everchanging energy landscape.
Concern for Community
The seventh principle, Concern for Community, is essential to who we are as cooperatives. We serve our community not only by being an essential service, but by helping to power our local economy. Whether through economic development, volunteerism or donations to local causes, we invest in this community because it’s our home too. This holiday season, like we have done for many, many years, our employees and Volunteers in Action will donate non-perishable food items for baskets that will be distributed to members in need.
I think you’ll find that most cooperatives bring good people together to make good things happen in the community. We hope you feel that way about us, your local electric co-op.
On behalf of everyone at Halifax EMC, we’re thankful for your membership, and we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – October 2021

Do you know what Halifax EMC, ACE Hardware, State Farm, REI, and Land O’Lakes all have in common? We’re all cooperatives!
We may be in different industries, but we all share a passion for serving our members and helping our communities to
thrive. In fact, all cooperatives adhere to the same set of seven principles that reflect our core values of honesty, transparency,
equity, inclusiveness and service to the greater community good. October is National Co-op Month, so this is the perfect time
to reflect on these principles that have stood the test of time but also provide a framework for the future. Let’s take a look at the first three cooperative principles.
Voluntary and Open Membership
Just like all co-ops, Halifax EMC was created out of necessity––to meet a need that would have been otherwise unmet in our
community. So in 1938, a group of neighbors banded together and organized our electric co-op so everyone in our community
could benefit. For a modest membership fee to the co-op, any farmer could get electricity brought to his farm. Neighbors
came together to tackle a problem that they all had but couldn’t solve alone. They worked together for the benefit of the
whole community, and the newly established electric lines helped power economic opportunity in our community.
While this history may be forgotten, key parts of that heritage remain––the focus on our mission and serving the greater good. In this, we include everyone to improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for the entire community. Membership is open to everyone in our service territory, regardless of race, religion, age, disability, gender identity, language, political perspective or socioeconomic status.
Democratic Member Control
Our co-op is well suited to meet the needs of our members because we are locally governed. Each member gets a voice and a vote in how the co-op is run, and each voice and vote are equal. Halifax EMC’s leadership team and employees live right here in the community. Our board of directors, who helps set long-term priorities for the co-op, also live locally on co-op lines. These board members have been elected by neighbors just like you. We know our members have a valuable perspective, and that’s why we are continually seeking your input and encourage you to weigh in on important co-op issues and participate in co-op elections.
Our close connection to this community ensures we get a firsthand perspective on members’ priorities, thereby enabling us to
make more informed decisions on long-term investments, such as equipment and technology upgrades.
Members’ Economic Participation
As a utility, our mission is to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to our members. But as a co-op, we are also motivated by service to the community, rather than profits. Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of Halifax EMC. At least part of that capital remains the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for co-op programs, initiatives, capital investments and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Because we are guided by seven cooperative principles, it’s not just about dollars––it’s about opportunity for all and being fair when engaging with our members. The cooperative way is a values-based business model.
Halifax EMC is a reflection of our local community and its evolving needs. We view our role as a catalyst for good and making
our corner of the world a better place. And by the way, that sums up the seventh co-op principle, “concern for community,” which I’ll elaborate on next month.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – September 2021

As a member of Halifax EMC, you may be familiar with our Brighter Future vision of serving this community by providing safe and reliable access to energy that is affordable and increasingly sustainable. As we work toward this vision, it is critical that we appropriately stay ahead of trends to ensure we meet the emerging power needs of our member-consumers.

A significant emerging trend across the nation is consumer adoption of electric vehicles. In 2020, a survey provided exclusively to members of electric cooperatives across the nation showed that 1 in 6 co-op members are likely to consider an electric vehicle as their next car. Although that may not seem like a critical mass, to ensure continued reliability our engineers are planning for this increased electric demand and just as importantly, so we can provide solutions to our members making the switch.

Because we know interest in these vehicles is on an upward trajectory, we are making investments now to build public charging stations in our local community. Doing so will help make sure our region is not overlooked for tourism, commerce and economic development opportunities, and it facilitates driving electric for people here locally.

Currently, Halifax EMC has one DC fast charging station for public use in Enfield located on Highway 561 at I-95, Exit 160. The cooperative is also in the process of installing another DC fast charger in the Lake Gaston area.

If charging is managed appropriately, electric vehicles can significantly benefit the electric grid in ways that will not impact reliability and affordability of electricity. When charged at night, EVs add load to the grid when it is historically most underused. Power is the most expensive at peak demand hours, like late afternoon in the summer and early morning in the winter. Nighttime EV charging is an example of spreading load across more hours of the day to help flatten expensive peaks, and this is an area we will continue to explore.

These benefits to the grid are important, but EV drivers often realize other benefits, like cost savings, more convenience, less maintenance, better impact on the environment and, many would argue, a better driving experience.

You can learn more about the many significant benefits of driving electric, see information addressing common myths and misunderstandings of EVs and find financial incentives for driving electric here.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – August 2021

Most of us use electricity, either directly or indirectly, at almost all times. Because electricity is so abundant and available with the simple flip of a switch, it’s easy to take it for granted.

According to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), the typical U.S. household now uses more air conditioning, appliances and consumer electronics than ever before. The average home also contains 10 or more internet connected devices. Considering
everything that is powered by electricity, it’s no wonder we occasionally might wince at our monthly bill. But keep in mind, it’s no longer just the “light bill.”

Electricity powers quality of life
From the infrastructure of your home (appliances, water heater and HVAC system) to charging your smartphones, computers, TV and Wi-Fi router, your energy bill covers so much more than lighting.

Today, there is more demand for electricity than ever before. At home, in schools and business, and in commercial sectors such as transportation, the need for electricity is increasing.

Typically when demand goes up, so does the price, as is the case with most goods or services like cable or even your favorite
specialty coffee. However, that’s not true with electricity. Let’s take a look at how the value of electricity compares to other common expenses.

Over the last five years, the cost of rent increased 3.4%; medical care increased 2.8%; and education increased 2.2%.
But the cost of electricity only increased 1%. Considering all the ways we depend on electricity, it still remains a great value.

So, the next time you’re enjoying your favorite podcast, TV series or movie, consider the value of electricity and how it
enhances your quality of life.

We care about you, the members we serve, and understand that electricity is more than a commodity––it’s a necessity. That’s
why Halifax EMC will continue working hard to power your life, reliably, safely, and affordably.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – April 2021

Halifax EMC is proud to continue to serve you and to be able to return a portion of your electric purchases to you. The good news is that the financial condition of your cooperative is strong and allows the payment of your capital credits for helping build, sustain and grow your local cooperative. In March, Halifax EMC returned $380,981 in capital credits for 1999 through 2001.
What exactly are capital credits?
An electric cooperative operates on an at-cost, not-for-profit, basis by annually “allocating” to each member, based upon the member’s purchase of electricity, operating revenue remaining at the end of the year. Later, as financial condition permits, these allocated amounts—capital credits—are retired. Capital credits represent the most significant source of equity for HEMC. Since a cooperative’s members are also the people the co-op serves, capital
credits reflect each member’s ownership in, and contribution of capital to, the cooperative. This differs from dividends investor-owned utilities pay shareholders, who may or may not be customers of the utility.
When will I receive my capital credit?
Typically, capital credits are issued 20 years after the year in which the margins were earned. The Board continually monitors the financial condition
of the cooperative and annually reviews past multiple years’ financial performance and future capital investment needs. If the financial needs of the cooperative are met, the Board will retire margins by paying capital credits to the members.
This year the Board determined that capital credits for members from 1999 through 2001 should be retired. Those members received either a bill credit up to $199 or a check in the mail if the credit was $200 or more, which reflects their contribution of capital to, and ownership of, Halifax EMC during those years. That may seem like a long time ago. However, those funds helped us maintain lower rates, reduced the amount of money we needed to borrow from outside lenders to build, maintain, and expand a reliable electric distribution system, and covered emergency expenses.
Do I earn interest?
Although the cooperative is using your money by reinvesting it in the business operations, you do not earn interest. Since Halifax EMC is a not-for-profit, member-owned company, you do not receive interest or dividends on your capital credits. To pay you interest, the cooperative would have to raise your electric rates to cover the cost of the interest.
I moved. Will I still receive capital credits?
If you move from the Halifax EMC area, the capital credits accumulated in your name will remain in your name, but will not affect when capital credits are paid.
Whenever capital credits are paid for a given year, they are paid to everyone who paid an electric bill that year regardless of whether they are currently a member or have moved. If you do move, it is important to keep Halifax EMC informed of your current address so you will receive your capital credit check when it is issued.
Members also have the option upon termination of an individual’s membership (non-commercial) to have all of their capital credits returned early; however, these capital credits will be reduced by the discount rate.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – February 2021

The word sustainability can take on different meanings depending upon the context, but here at Halifax EMC, sustainability means delivering reliable, affordable, low-carbon electricity over an electric grid that is increasingly efficient, resilient, secure and capable of supporting the needs of our members and communities.Charles Guerry

For decades, your needs have centered on reliable power delivered at the lowest possible cost, and while those priorities still exist today, we also know our members’ expectations related to clean energy are growing.

Our goal is to achieve reliability, affordability, and sustainability in a balanced approach that makes the most of the tremendous value electricity has to offer and ensures a brighter future for
those we serve.

Our Brighter Future vision centers on two voluntary sustainability goals: a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. We’re
pursuing these goals in several ways including:

  • Continued use of multiple power sources. The electricity we provide to you is generated from a variety of power sources that each offer important benefits. Nuclear energy, which is currently used to generate more than half our power, is not only an extremely reliable, safe and affordable source of electricity but is also emissions-free, making it environmentally
    friendly. We also use natural gas because it’s affordable and can be dispatched quickly when needed, making it a great complement to other power resources, like renewable energy. Concurrently, we are strategically expanding our use of renewable energy.
  • Investments in technology. New technology, such as battery storage, will allow us to increasingly utilize renewable energy sources by making it possible to store energy when demand for it is low and use it later when demand is high. Future technologies could include the more effective and efficient capture of carbon emissions from non-renewable sources, as well as new ways
    to match local power needs with local power resources.
  • Innovative energy solutions and programs. Halifax EMC has been researching programs to offer our members, such as rebates for smart thermostats, which aim to make the electric grid more flexible and efficient by managing demand for power; this helps reduce carbon emissions and keeps costs down for everyone. In addition, efforts to use electricity to power devices
    and processes formerly powered by fossil fuels – like automobiles and agricultural processes—will further cut carbon emissions and support our long-term carbon reduction goals.

Learn more about our work to build a brighter future at halifaxemc.com

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – January 2021

When we say that we live in a “connected” world, most of us think about technology like our smart phones and other devices and gadgets. BuCharles Guerryt when you’re a member of an electric co-op (that’s you!), there’s so much more to being part of our connected co-op community.

As a member of Halifax EMC, you help to power good in our local community through initiatives like Operation Round Up and other initiatives that help the most vulnerable in our community.

We depend on you because you power our success, and when Halifax EMC does well, the community thrives because we’re all connected.

We greatly value our connection to you, the members we serve. And we’d like to help you maximize the value you can get from Halifax EMC through a variety of programs, products and services that we offer our members. For example, we can help you save money on your energy bill through free energy audits and rebates on heat pumps and electric water heaters. When you download our HEMC Mobile app, you can monitor and manage your home energy use, pay your bill online and access a menu of additional options for potential savings and more.

When you follow Halifax EMC on social media, you can stay up to date on power restoration efforts, tree trimming planning, co-op director elections, giveaways and more. You’ll also see photos of our line crews in action and our employees helping with community service projects –– and who doesn’t enjoy seeing good things happening in our community!

By connecting with us, you can get real-time updates from your co-op. That’s why we want to make sure we have your most current contact information on hand. If we can’t connect with you on these platforms or in person, you could miss out on potential savings or important information.

Halifax EMC relies on data for nearly every aspect of our operations, and up-to-date contact information from our members helps ensure that we can provide the highest level of service that
you expect and deserve.

Updated contact information can even speed up the power restoration process during an outage. That’s because when you call to report an outage, our automated system recognizes
your phone number and matches it with your account location. Accurate information helps our outage-management system predict the location and the possible cause of an outage, making it easier for Halifax EMC crews to correct the problem.

We hope you will connect with us whenever and wherever you can––whether that means attending our annual meeting, providing feedback on a recent visit or call with our employees, or simply downloading our app. Halifax EMC exists to serve our members, and when we’re better connected to you and our local community, we’re better prepared to answer the call.

To update your contact information or to learn more about co-op products and services that can help you save, log into your account, call 252-445-5111 or stop by the Enfield or Macon office.

We look forward to connecting with you!

Manager's Message

Volunteerism: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Charles GuerryWith the holiday season upon us and the New Year just around the corner, I can’t help but reflect on the gratitude I feel for our community. I think most will agree this has been a year like no other––certainly in my lifetime. And while we’ve seen our share of challenges, I am heartened by the ways in which we have all pulled together to make our community stronger.

This month, we are in the midst of a holiday food drive. Employees, directors, and members of the Volunteers in Action Committee participate by donating non-perishable foods for families in our service area. The food baskets will be delivered before Christmas. While these efforts are focused around the holidays, for Halifax EMC, our concern for community is a year-round endeavor.

Because we are a co-op, volunteerism and giving back are a part of who we are. Several of our line workers are volunteer firefighters, putting their lives at risk to help others. Many of our co-op employees coach youth sports or serve as leaders for Boy Scouts or 4-H.

I look at volunteerism as the gift that keeps on giving. While it’s difficult to quantify the impact that volunteers have, I do know they make a tremendous difference in our community and make our corner of the world a better place. Many organizations depend on volunteers to fulfill their mission. Volunteers fill in gaps and spread joy and compassion through their efforts. Even assisting with the smallest tasks can make a big impact in the lives of people, animals or an organization in need. Often a big commitment or special skills are not needed, just someone who cares.

I hope you’ll consider volunteering. Give an organization or cause that you care about the gift of your compassion, time and talent. In addition to the organization and the community benefiting from your efforts, you will receive a gift as well. Not only will you enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you are helping a good cause, you will likely make new friends, expand your social network, strengthen existing skills or learn a new one.

Volunteering may provide additional dimension and purpose to your life. In the process, you will be a role model for your family because your commitment will offer a powerful lesson to your children. It will show them first-hand how one person can make a big difference and strengthen the community in which they live.

At the end of the day, the gift of volunteerism is a gift that will continue giving all year long. So, this holiday season, consider starting a new tradition––give the gift of time.