Rural Missouri - May 2011 - (Page 5)

Hart to Heart Cooperating for new generation his year, electric cooperatives in Missouri will celebrate an important anniversary. It’s been 50 years since Associated Electric Cooperative was organized. Associated’s creation meant that for the first time, electric cooperatives could count on a reliable supply of electricity. Electric heat, air conditioning and a host of ag-related devices were driving demand for electricity to higher and higher levels, and the old sources for power could not keep up. For this reason, Associated was formed to take over responsibility for generation. Reading the history of this effort, I learned that Associated accomplished another huge benefit for Missourians. Its creation ushered in a new era of planning and coordination between the three segments of the electric utility industry: investorowned, municipal and cooperative. While it hasn’t always been smooth sailing between the utilities, they have worked together on a number of projects. As a result, Missourians have benefited through reliable and affordable electricity. Before Associated formed, utilities often fought for territory and new loads, building duplicate lines that just cost consumers money. When power plants and transmission lines T by Barry Hart bhart@amec.coop were built, there was no coordination. One of the greatest things Associated achieved was an agreement that created the first interconnections between utilities. Today, Associated has 181 interconnections that allow electricity to flow between suppliers. Later, the electric co-ops worked to help cities get authority to jointly build power plants that were larger and more efficient, creating savings for their customers. While we still compete, all segments of the industry now strive to work together. This spirit of cooperation reached its zenith when all of the electricity providers came to the table to work together on Missouri’s energy future. Across Missouri, electric utilities ranging from giants such as Ameren and Kansas City Power & Light to the smallest municipal and cooperative systems find themselves with a common interest: finding the next source of generation. Experts gazing into the crystal ball have come up with the same conclusion: Missouri will need more generation capacity sometime around the year 2023 unless plans are made now to meet growing demand. It’s a lot like the situation utilities faced in 1961 when Associated was formed. New demands for electricity, driven by technology such as cell phones and computers, make it obvious the state needs to build more generation. This time, instead of each utility going its separate way, wise minds have agreed we should work together for our future watts. That’s why all of the state’s utilities are back- “This spirit of cooperation reached its zenith when all of the electricity providers came to the table to work together on Missouri’s energy future.” Barry Hart ing a legislative proposal that will keep alive the nuclear power option for Missouri. If this legislation passes, all of the utilities will have the opportunity to own a part of a new power plant. Recently, bills that would pave the way for this new plant have gained traction in the statehouse after debate was stifled in a Senate committee. With the leadership of Sen. Brad Lager, Maryville, and Sen. Robin Wright-Jones, St. Louis, our nuclear legislative proposal with consumer protections was attached to Senate Bill 48 in committee and is now on the Senate calendar for debate. Lager and Wright-Jones got help from Sen. Mike Kehoe, Jefferson City; Sen. Mike Parson, Bolivar; Sen. Kurt Schaefer, Columbia; Sen. Bill Stouffer, Napton; Sen. Timothy Green, St. Louis; and Sen. Jim Lembke, St. Louis. Our next challenge will be to make sure there is an opportunity for fair, open and honest debate on this legislation, along with a vote in the House and Senate before the session ends. This legislation enjoys widespread support in both chambers. Let’s encourage our senators and representatives to pass this legislation for the good of all Missourians. Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Guest Column Stay safe around electricity hen I read of the young husband and father, tragically electrocuted as he adjusted the TV antenna, I thought of the family he left behind. My own father died of natural causes when I was 2. I thought of the children who would grow up without their father, the wife who would go on without her husband, other family members and friends who would mourn his loss. And how unbearable it must be to know his sudden death was avoidable. Accidents and fires involving electricity result in more than a thousand deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each year. We can change that reality. The vast majority of electrical accidents can be prevented. That powerful philosophy created and guides the Safe Electricity consumer awareness program. We commend the Missouri electric cooperatives that partner with us in this vital educational effort. A major program resource is SafeElectricity.org, a virtual library for residential and business consumers, children and teachers — everyone. W by Molly Hall From interactive games and activities to articles (also available in Spanish) and more, visitors will find a wealth of life-saving information. We encourage everyone to watch Safe Electricity’s online “Teach Learn Care TLC” videos. We are honored to work with accident survivors and families of those whose lives were cut short by electrical tragedies, all in an effort to educate about the importance of safety knowledge and precautions. In sharing their personal stories, they underscore why it’s important to “Teach what you know. Learn what you need to and Care enough to share it with others.” In other words, to give those you care about TLC. The life-changing impacts of power line accidents are detailed in the moving video featuring accident survivor Shawn Miller and his family, whose lives were changed forever by his severe injuries. The importance of using ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and avoiding contact with electrical appliances while wet or damp is highlighted in the tragic story of a 12-year-old girl who was killed by household current through a faulty outdoor lamp. “Accidents and fires involving electricity result in more than a thousand deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each year. We can change that reality.” Molly Hall MAY 2011 New this year is the story of farmer Jim Flach, who was killed in an accident involving power line contact with his equipment. Told by his family, the story helps large equipment operators understand how to avoid contact with overhead lines and equally important, how to survive such an accident if equipment does contact lines. Another story features two teenagers who survived their auto accident involving power lines because they had learned the right steps to stay safe. The safety principles apply to all vehicles, whether the vehicle involved is a car or large piece of construction equipment. A 30-minute live power line demonstration on the Safe Electricity website illustrates indoor and outdoor safety considerations related to home, work and play. During May’s National Electrical Safety Month, give TLC to those you care about. Introduce them to www. SafeElectricity.org and learn how to stay safe together. Hall is the executive director of Safe Electricity, an awareness program of the Energy Education Council. 5 http://www.SafeElectricity.org http://www.SafeElectricity.org http://www.SafeElectricity.org http://www.SafeElectricity.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2011

Rural Missouri - May 2011
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Jim Peters’ Passion
Help & Hope
Twist of Fate
Mail Bag
Shoot Like a Pro
Out of the Way Eats
Aircraft From Another Era
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
The Pared-Down House
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - May 2011

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