Manager’s/President’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – September 2020

There’s an old political saying, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” This adage is the perfect answer to the question, “why vote?” It’s a blunt description of what happens when you don’t engage in the political process.
If you don’t vote, you’re not only missing the opportunity to support a candidate that shares your views and concerns, you’re allowing others to chart a course that impacts your future. That’s why we’re encouraging all Halifax EMC members to recognize National Voter Registration Day on September 22, 2020. Whether you’re registering yourself or others to vote, or helping members of our community get organized, there are many ways to get involved.
Your vision, your vote
While local elections may not be as exciting as the high-profile presidential election, they are just as critical. Local elections have a direct impact on your community and on your quality of life.
Like the national level, local elections represent who we are as a community, and more importantly, where we want to go. Whether it’s an election for a mayor, sheriff, state representative, school board, or an electric co-op board member, your vision for the community is tied to your vote.
Voting keeps elected officials accountable. Elections are a direct and tangible source of feedback. For example, Halifax EMC board members provide strategic guidance on the direction of the co-op and how it serves the community. Local board members embody the voice and identity of the community.
Staying in sync with the community
Ultimately, the role of the co-op board is governance. While day-to-day decisions are made by our employees, bigger decisions are made by the board, whose mission is to look out for the vitality of the co-op and the members we serve. Halifax EMC board members provide their perspective on community priorities, thereby enabling us to make more informed decisions on long-term investments.
However, boards are not perfect, and we need you, the members of the co-op, to help keep the system in check. We depend on you and your neighbors to vote so that we can stay on course and ensure that we are in sync with the community that we serve.
A strong voter turnout shows investment in the community and ensures that a diverse number of views are represented. The whole community benefits when more people participate in the process, because greater numbers reflect a consensus on the direction of the future and the will of the people.
By voting in national, state and local elections, you are serving as a role model for your family, friends and colleagues. The act of voting demonstrates your support for the community and helps officials chart a course for the future. Democracy is not a spectator sport. Research candidates, learn about issues that are on the ballot and get out and vote!
To learn more about National Voter Registration Day or to get involved, visit National Voter Registration Day.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – August 2020

As we approach the peak of hurricane season, we’ve already seen above average storm activity during a year that is unusually challenging for our members.

While this hurricane season may seem especially daunting, as always, Halifax EMC is ready for any storms that come our way. And our ongoing efforts to make the electric grid more flexible, efficient and resilient will also help ensure your power is as reliable as possible, no matter the weather.

We can’t completely prevent outages, but advances in technology are making our systems more resilient and enabling us to respond to storm impacts and restore power more quickly. Advanced Metering Infrastructure, commonly known as smart meters, provides two-way communication between your home or business and our cooperative. These meters can help you monitor and manage your energy use, and they help us better control demand for electricity across the grid, resulting in more reliable and affordable power for everyone.

Electric cooperatives across the state are also implementing microgrid innovation that provides added power resiliency and reliability. These small, localized systems bring together various components, including renewable energy like solar power or biogas, battery storage, smart thermostats and water heater controls to produce electricity. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives currently have five microgrid projects either in operation or under development, and as a statewide network, electric cooperatives are working together to continue using them in additional ways to better serve members.

We are committed to building a brighter future for our members.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – July 2020

Halifax EMC is here for you, and given the challenging times we’ve all experienced the last few months, I’d like to share some information and ideas to help you save energy and money.
Identifying ways to save
Summer is a great time to conduct an energy audit of your home and identify ways to boost energy efficiency. Understanding how your home uses energy can help you determine the best ways to modify energy use and keep more money in your wallet.
An energy audit is one of the best ways to determine how energy efficient your home is––an audit can also identify areas for potential energy savings. Halifax EMC offers free energy audits. If you’d prefer to do an energy audit yourself, try ENERGY STAR®’s online audit. Visit energystar.gov, then enter “home energy yardstick” in the search box to get started. But keep in mind, an online audit won’t be as thorough as an in-home audit.
Putting power in your hands
Prepaid metering is intended to aide in budgeting your monthly energy costs. Halifax EMC members can pay for electricity before it is used, then use the electricity until the credit expires. During the time period you’ve paid for, you will receive feedback on your balance through daily email or text alerts about the previous day’s energy usage. Industry studies show that consumers who participate in prepaid metering plans use up to 10% less electricity.
Lastly, if you have recently purchased a new ENERGY STAR®-rated appliance or product, make sure you are taking advantage of any special offers or rebates that are available.
As your trusted energy advisor, we’re here to help. If you have questions about your bill or additional ways to save energy, please let us know. We’re only one click or phone call away.

Manager's Message

President’s Message — May 2020

Stan BrothersYour Cooperative has made many accomplishments over the past year, however; I would like to highlight just a few:

Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the Bright Ideas Education Grant Program. Halifax EMC awarded over $6,961 in Bright Ideas educational grants in 2019 to teachers in Halifax and Warren Counties. Since the inception of this program, over $12 million has been awarded by NC Electric Cooperatives to fund over 11,000 creative projects for classrooms. Bright Ideas grant applications can be submitted from April through September. To obtain more information and an application for the Bright Ideas grant program, please visit NC Bright Ideas

Last year we added an electric vehicle to our fleet, a 2019 Chevy Bolt, “Sparky.” Members attending last year’s Annual Meeting voted on the name. The Bolt offers an estimated 238 miles of electric range on a full charge. We installed home charging stations at both the Enfield and Macon offices, as well as the Operations Center. You may have seen Sparky in your community, as we provide our employees an opportunity to sign up to drive the electric car for a two-week period, to and from work. This helps them to become more knowledgeable about electric vehicles and also enables them to answer your questions. Electric vehicles cost less to run and are becoming more affordable to purchase. Visit Halifax Electric Membership Corporation to see how much you can save by driving electric.

Halifax EMC has continued to offer assistance to the emergency services community through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) loans or grants made available to local electric cooperatives. In turn, they lend the money to local entities for projects that support rural areas. In 2017 we established a Community Revolving Loan program with funds made possible primarily by grants awarded to the Co-op from the USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Program. With grants totaling over $880,000 as of year-end 2019, the Co-op has provided more than $1,000,000 in zero-interest funds, so far in rural Halifax and Warren Counties. Halifax EMC’s community loan program continues to grow thanks to the REDLG funding. We were proud to support another project in 2019 benefiting emergency response for the Inez VFD with their purchase of a new customized, state-of-the-art fire truck. There are also three (3) pending projects serving our communities.

As a member of Halifax EMC, you are an owner of this electric cooperative. Therefore, all margins are returned to you. Last year Halifax EMC retired over $957,000 in capital credits for margins from members in 1997 and 1998, the estates of deceased members and inactive members.

Lastly, at the writing of this article, your annual meeting is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 16 at the Cooperative’s office in Enfield. As mentioned on the front of this newsletter, that event is subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be on the lookout for communications from Halifax EMC that will include either a notice of the meeting or postponement.

Director elections for Districts 3, 5, and 7 will still take place via mail-in ballot. Members will receive a separate mailing that includes their ballot and return envelope. Please vote! Ballots must be returned by May 13. Members who return their ballots will be eligible to win a $100 electric service credit. There will be 10 winners!

It has been our pleasure to serve you, the membership. We appreciate your support in 2019 and look forward to another great year.

Stan Brothers
President, Halifax EMC Board of Directors
District 6

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — April 2020

Charles GuerryThis year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which was first celebrated on April 22, 1970. It serves as an annual recognition of the importance of protecting our planet and its resources.

At Halifax EMC, we are committed to delivering power that is affordable, reliable, and low carbon. More than half of our power comes from emissions-free nuclear, and we are increasingly incorporating renewable energy sources and grid-optimizing technologies to take this commitment even further.

As a co-op member, you can help amplify the benefits of electricity by using it as a cleaner, cheaper, and smarter alternative to fossil fuels. Appliances, equipment, agricultural and industrial processes, and even your car, can now be powered by electricity, resulting in cost savings, lower emissions, and increased productivity and efficiency.

Electric cooperatives are building a statewide electric vehicle charging network and implementing other innovative initiatives that support increased commerce, tourism, and economic development in the communities we serve. And we offer incentives like rebates and low-interest loans to make it easier for co-op members like you to access the savings and efficiency that electricity has to offer.

On Earth Day and every day, we are building a brighter energy future for our members and the communities we serve. To find out more about our programs and services, visit our website. You can also learn more about the benefits of driving electric at Halifax EMC.

Charles H. Guerry, PE
Executive Vice President & General Manager

 

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — March 2020

Charles GuerryAt Halifax EMC we are constantly striving to improve our operational efficiency so we can provide the most reliable electric service possible for our consumer-members (that’s you!).

We rely on data for nearly every aspect of our operations, which is why we need your help. By making sure we have your most accurate and complete contact information, we can continue to provide the high level of service that you expect and deserve. Accurate information enables us to improve customer service and enhance communications for reporting and repairing outages. It also allows co-op members to receive information about other important programs, events, and activities.

Up-to-date contact information can potentially speed up the power restoration process during an outage. For example, the phone number you provide is linked to your service address to our outage management system. This means when you call to report an outage, our system recognizes your phone number and matches it with your account location. Accurate information helps our outage management system predict the location and possible cause of an outage, making it easier for our crews to correct the problem.

While we always do our best to maintain service, we occasionally plan outages to update, repair or replace equipment. In these instances, we can provide advance notification to affected members through automated phone messages, text messages, or email if we have your updated contact information and communication preferences.

Keeping the co-op updated with your information also helps us when there’s a question about energy use or billing. In addition, discrepancies on your account can be taken care of promptly if Halifax EMC has accurate account information.

Many of you have been members of the co-op for years, and it’s likely that your account information hasn’t been updated for some time. We recognize that many members now use a cellphone as their primary phone service, and we might not have that number in our system.

I want to emphasize that in providing your contact information to the co-op, we will never share this information with any third parties. It is only used by Halifax EMC to send important information to you. Please take a moment to confirm or update your contact information by contacting our office at (252) 445-5111. By doing so, you will be helping us improve service and efficiency so we can better serve you and all members of the co-op.

Charles H. Guerry, PE
Executive Vice President & General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — February 2020

Charles GuerryIt’s no surprise that winter months bring increased potential for fire risks and electrical safety hazards. This makes sense because during the coldest months, consumers are using additional electrical devices and appliances, like space heaters, electric blankets, and portable generators.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 47,700 home fires occur each year in the U.S. due to electrical failure or malfunction. These fires result in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage annually. This winter, safeguard your loved ones and your home with these electrical safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International.

Don’t overload outlets

Overloaded outlets are a major cause of residential fires. Avoid using extension cords or multioutlet converters for appliance connections––they should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. If you’re relying heavily on extension cords in general, you may need additional outlets to address your needs. Contact a qualified electrician to inspect your home and add new outlets.

Never leave space heaters unattended

If you’re using a space heater, turn it off before leaving the room. Make sure heaters are placed at least three feet away from flammable items. It should also be noted that space heaters take a toll on your energy bills. If you’re using them throughout your home, it may be time to upgrade your home heating system.

Inspect heating pads and electric blankets

These items cause nearly 500 fires every year. Electric blankets that are more than 10 years old create additional risks for a fire hazard. Inspect your electric blankets and heating pads—look for dark, charred or frayed spots, and make sure the electrical cord is not damaged. Do not place any items on top of a heating pad or electric blanket, and never fold them when in use.

Use portable generators safely

Unfortunately, winter storms can cause prolonged power outages, which means many consumers will use portable generators to power their homes. Never connect a standby generator into your home’s electrical system. For portable generators, plug appliances directly into the outlet provided on the generator. Start the generator first, before you plug in appliances. Run it in a well-ventilated area outside your home. The carbon monoxide it generates is deadly, so keep it away from your garage, doors, windows, and vents.

Charles H. Guerry, PE
Executive Vice President & General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — January 2020

Charles GuerryHalifax Helps, Inc., the administrative organization for Halifax EMC’s Operation Round Up, awarded grants to recipients on Thursday, November 19, at a breakfast held at the Halifax EMC office in Enfield. Debbie Hardy, Halifax Helps board president, along with myself, presented the grant awards to the recipients. Members of the Halifax EMC board of directors and staff were also in attendance.

The following organizations were awarded grants: The Lilly Pike Sullivan Municipal Library (Enfield), represented by Brenda Faithful and Cheryl Dickens; The John 3:16 Center, represented by Brittany Sinka; Lakeland Cultural Arts Center, represented by John Duval; Roanoke River Partners, represented by Carol Shields and Sandra Bryant; Bryan Health & Rehabilitation, represented by Kim Stallings; Mariam Boyd Elementary, represented by Justin Moody and Shirley Pendergrass; Enfield Warriors Youth Athletic Program, represented by Garrett Freeman and Melvin Ward; Greenleaf Farms, represented by Dr. Eric Cunningham, Claude Cooper, Julian McClenney, Dr. Alfreda Smith, and Reginald Cotten; The Boys and Girls Club of North Central North Carolina, represented by Chad Jacobs; and Enfield Volunteer Fire Department, represented by Ronnie Locke.

We look forward to seeing these projects in action and sharing them with you in the future.

You will recall that Halifax Helps’ funding is generated through Operation Round Up, a program that rounds up a member’s electric bill to the next nearest dollar. Presently, over 7,000 Halifax EMC members have opted to participate in the program. Since we began the Operation Round Up program in 2009, Halifax Helps has funded 219 grant requests totaling over $543,000. Small change really does add up to big change for our local community.

If you currently do not participate in the program but would like to enroll, please contact our office at (252) 445-5111.

Organizations that wish to apply for a grant to fund a project will find the application and guidelines available online at our website. Grants are awarded semiannually. The deadline for the spring submission is March 27, 2020.