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CHELCO November E-Newsletter


CHELCO Linemen Cody Dickey (top) and Mike Green wade in water to   restore power to Glades Electric Co-op members in the aftermath of Irma.

CHELCO Linemen Cody Dickey (top) and Mike Green wade in water to restore power to Glades Electric Co-op members in the aftermath of Irma.


It's just neighbors helping neighbors

In the spirit of cooperation among cooperatives, nine CHELCO and three Southland Utility Services employees spent 10 days at Glades Electric Cooperative (GEC) in Moore Haven, Fla., assisting with restoration efforts after Hurricane Irma. GEC had more than 16,000 members without power when the crew packed up and headed down south. Several cooperatives banded together to help GEC restore members’ power quickly. 

In the cooperative world, “cooperation among cooperatives” is one of our core principles. Operations Supervisor Larry Tankersley described it best. Larry said, “We look forward to being able to go help other people. It’s just neighbors helping neighbors.”

For Larry, and most of the linemen who deployed to GEC, helping others restore power was nothing new; however, two apprentice linemen, AJ Coker and Cole Hatcher, experienced it for the first time. AJ was excited about going and enjoyed the trip, especially getting to know the other guys better. AJ also appreciated the GEC members and community. 

“The ladies at the church took good care of us,” he said.  “I was also able to have direct contact with some of their members, and they were very humbling. They were all excited to see us.”

This was not the first trip for Senior Line Technician Caleb Garrett, and he also enjoyed helping others and acknowledged the importance of cooperatives banding together.

“It would have taken them a long time without outside help and some of the guys working didn’t have power themselves, said Caleb. He also talked about the rewards of the trip. “There was this older lady who was home by herself because her husband is a tree cutter and was away helping others in response to the storm clean up,” he said. “Knowing that we are working toward something and making a difference is rewarding.” 

Caleb said the most memorable part of the trip, however, was wading waist deep in water to climb a pole so they could restore power. Though that condition was not ideal, Caleb said he knew the older lady would be getting power back soon, and that made it worth it.  

Both AJ and Caleb agreed the days were long, some conditions were not ideal and they were missing home, but the response and support from the community kept them motivated to get the power restored as quickly as possible. All of the linemen spoke highly of the Venus United Methodist Church where a group of ladies not only fed them good home-cooked meals, in addition to taking care of their wider community. 

“We are proud of them, but not surprised. We have great linemen with big hearts and a great work ethic. They truly care about what they do,” said Vice President of Operations Donny Fugate.  


For more news, tips and information, click here for the full edition of this month's CHELCO News.


CHELCO employees have a heart for our community

CHELCO and Southland Utility Services Employees raised over $10,400 for the American Heart Association Heart Walk. CHELCO’s CEO Steve Rhodes was the 2017 Okaloosa and Walton counties Heart Walk chairman. Steve Rhodes and Southland Utility Services COO Mike Morris were also top walkers, which is a distinction given to community members who raise over $1,000 individually.




CEO Insights

Steve Rhodes, Chief Executive Officer


CHELCO serves our community

I love the feeling of being able to walk into my favorite locally-owned shop, restaurant or store knowing that the profit, product and labor can make positive impacts on my community. The spirit of main street is embodied in these local businesses, just like it is in CHELCO. 

Electric cooperatives are as local and community centered as they come. Founded as a way to bring electricity to communities that didn’t interest investor-owned utilities (or IOUs), electric cooperatives have been a cornerstone of community and economic development in rural America and beyond for decades. 

That feeling I get when I frequent local businesses in our community is the same feeling I get when I walk into work at the co-op every day. It is a feeling of pride. I am proud to be a part of an organization that serves the community in which we live, instead of a group of shareholders who may never have set foot in our service territory. 

Living on co-op lines is more than just knowing there are people out there working to bring you safe, reliable and affordable electric service. Living on co-op lines is an investment in our community and its members. 

You see, CHELCO is a not-for-profit business. When we make more money than we need to keep the lights on safely, affordably and reliably we eventually return it back to our members (that’s you!) in the form of capital credits. When the board of trustees determines the cooperative is financially able to do so, this money goes back to the membership instead of going into a shareholder’s pocket, which is pretty great! 

And because we are owned by you, our members, we have a vested interest in making sure our community is prosperous. We do this by investing in economic development, community is prosperous. We do this by investing in economic development, community service projects, and programs such as CHELCO Classroom Grants which fund creative and passionate teachers in Walton and Okaloosa counties to bring innovative lessons to our children.

I hope that you view CHELCO not just as your electric utility provider, but as a local business that brings pride and prosperity to our community. We love being a part of this community, and we hope you feel the same way too!


For more news, tips and information, click here for the full edition of this month's CHELCO News.


In Brief

Beat the Peak season is here 

You can “Beat the Peak” this winter and save money on electric bills. Peak hours are the times of the day when most consumers are using electricity at the same time. At certain times of year, the demand is exceptionally high. CHELCO members have historically peaked in the mornings during winter months. Curbing demand for electricity during these hours reduces CHELCO wholesale power costs, and these savings are passed on to members through the wholesale power cost adjustment.  CHELCO will call members during peak seasons to remind them to reduce electricity during these times. Members can “Beat the Peak”  by postponing showers, dishes and laundry, adjusting the thermostat to a lower setting and turning off unnecessary lights and appliances the morning after receiving a call from CHELCO. 


Holiday Closures

CHELCO offices will be closed:
Thursday and Friday, Nov. 23-24
Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 25- 26


CHELCO invites students to check out Youth Tour 2018 

High school juniors who live on CHELCO lines are invited to apply. Two students from each high school in our service area will spend two days touring the state capital, Tallahassee, and also compete for a free weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., in June. For more information, students should contact their guidance counselor or CHELCO Youth Tour Coordinator Bonnie Whitfield at Students are selected by their schools.


Discern legitimate CHELCO contractors from the rest

CHELCO partners with several contract companies such as Southland Utility Services, IMS, Musgrove, Osmose and Diversified to provide quality service to our members. Unfortunately, scammers have become more prominent in our area the past couple of years making it difficult for members to discern legitimate business representatives from the unwelcome ones. CHELCO will notify you in advanced about contractors who will work on your property. CHELCO employees and contractors will never ask members for payment of any kind. If you want to verify that CHELCO has sent a contractor, please call us at (850) 892-2111. Safety for our members and employees is our top priority.




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:

AAA Accounting and Management Services in Niceville, (850) 345-2250
Free QuickBooks review and assessment ($255 value)
Best Western Crossroads Inn in DeFuniak Springs, (850) 892-5111
10% off regular rate
CRC Data Technologies in Destin, (850) 6547262
20% off (excluding parts)

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.


For more news, tips and information, click here for the full edition of this month's CHELCO News.

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