CEO Message

Lots to Talk About

Communicating with our members is one of the most important things I do. And right now, there’s lots to talk about. In our last Currents magazine, I shared with you challenges we are facing with availability and cost of energy. Members received a letter from me about these “out of our control” factors. So far, our proactive steps have helped us avoid curtailment actions, along with your help in conserving energy.

Last month, members received my letter about our rate adjustment application filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Most members’ bills will be lower under the proposed new rates. Although we are asking for a $5.56 increase to the residential customer charge, the savings from the energy or kWh rates should lower the overall bill.

We held four Town Hall meetings July 26 through August 1. FAQ’s, and rate case information are available at www.mohaveelectric.com, click the “Rate Case 2022” button on the home page. You can always call Member Service at (928) 763-1100.

Now about Capital Credits—an advantage of your membership with Mohave Electric Cooperative. The Board of Directors approved a capital credits retirement of $802,440. Checks and bill credits went out in August. Turn to page 4 for more information.

Details about this year’s District and Annual Meetings are in the Official Meeting Notice, mailed in August. We have a new feature on our website for members to find out their membership district. Click “Annual Meeting Details” at the top of the home page, then click “Find My District.” I look forward to seeing you at your District Meeting and at the Annual Meeting.

This week I received some terrific news that Senator Sonny Borrelli was selected to receive the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) 2022 Regional Award for Outstanding Service. In a letter from NRECA CEO Jim Matheson, the award recognizes Borrelli’s outstanding service to electric cooperatives and his work on advocacy, education, and training throughout Arizona.

MEC nominated Borrelli and credited him for his sponsorship of AZ SB 1460, legislation that gave Arizona electric cooperatives the ability to participate in broadband programs. Borrelli was also instrumental in supporting AZ SB 1412 which allowed cooperatives to keep their capital credits in the rural areas where they were collected to support their local communities and not be taken away by the State.

Thank you, Sonny Borrelli, for looking out for our members, and congratulations on your award!

Availability & Cost of Energy

Availability and Cost of Energy

Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC) prides itself on providing reliable, affordable power to its members. As we approach the summer, MEC is bringing to our members’ attention three “out of our control” factors that have arisen recently and could potentially impact the availability and cost of energy.

Generation & Transmission Power Supply

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) has been MEC’s trusted generation and transmission power provider for decades. Unfortunately, AEPCO had an unexpected natural gas turbine failure which takes time and money to replace, install, and deploy. This turbine is anticipated to be up and running in June 2022 barring no nationwide transportation or supply chain delays. This unknown has caused MEC to evaluate the open market for additional power.

State of California

Recently, California (CA) energy officials warned of a 1,700-MW power shortfall this summer, and due to inconsistent transmission access policies, CA has been known to “steal” power, even MEC’s already purchased power. If CA’s issues start negatively affecting other states, including Arizona and MEC, this could be a double whammy effect on power availability and costs.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

FERC which regulates all utilities across the country announced that roughly two-thirds of the United States faces heightened risk of power outages this summer due to potential high temperatures and intermittent renewable energy issues. High temps aren’t new to MEC, but these potential widespread energy concerns coupled with those mentioned above could be a trifecta scenario.

Mohave Electric’s Next Steps

MEC is proactively taking action to address the potential energy issues above. Providing power to members is at the forefront of our minds in addition to keeping costs as low as possible for our members.

MEC monitors the open market daily – every hour every day – to secure the most affordable costs of power for our members. MEC is evaluating the daily costs to consider purchasing extra capacity to adjust for any shortfall. In the event, there is no available power regardless of the cost of power, this could lead to “rolling brown outs” as seen in CA.

Alternatively, purchasing extra capacity could be pricey, but the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) allows for a Purchased Power Adjustor to accommodate fluctuations in cost, which is noted on every member’s bill, currently in the form of a credit.

Member Conservation

MEC is also encouraging its members to conserve energy where and when they are able to avoid curtailment or outages. There are some simple things members can do to conserve, such as grilling outside instead of using the stove and oven. Need to do laundry? Consider drying the clothes outside instead of the dryer. Turn lights and fans off and turn the air conditioner up a few extra degrees. For questions, please call public affairs at (928) 763-4115.

Success Story!

In my last message I wrote to you about an issue – the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), the state entity that regulates Arizona utilities, has been double charging Arizona electric cooperatives an assessment to fund its own operations/existence.

We joined forces with Grand Canyon Electric Cooperative Association and other Arizona electric cooperatives, to support Arizona House Bill 2232 to correct the double charging.

I am happy to tell you that the legislation sailed through the process with unanimous support from both the Arizona House of Representatives and the Arizona Senate. The bill was signed by Governor Ducey on March 30, 2022.

Although MEC will still have an ACC assessment that is passed on to member bills, the extra assessment MEC has been paying in wholesale purchased power costs will stop. While not a large amount, every reduction in cost helps us keep purchased power costs, the most significant part of member bills, as stable as possible.

More Good News!

Our five-year fiber project in partnership with TWN Communications is moving full steam ahead.

Phase 1 in the Big Bend and Silver Creek Zones is being finalized. Nearly 4,000 members can now subscribe to TWN services.

Phase 2 in the Airport Zone is next up.

I want to encourage members to pre-register for TWN services. There is no commitment by preregistering, but it helps us in the construction phase, and also expedites your TWN internet service installation should you sign up for services. The website and phone number are shown below.

Our employees have been out in the community at several events recently—Winter Fest, School Magician/Electrical Safety program, Kiwanis Kids Expo, and Mohave Community College Concom.

We enjoy engaging with members when we have these opportunities and hope to see you next time!

MEC Tells AZ to Stop Double Dipping

Your Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC) Board of Directors and management have joined Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association and other Arizona electric cooperatives in support of Arizona House Bill 2232.

This state legislation seeks to correct a disparity on how cooperatives are charged for the sale of electricity. The Arizona Corporation Commission operates and is funded through an assessment on all regulated utilities, and the existing assessment formula results in a double assessment for all cooperatives.

The Issue

The existing Arizona state statute requires that entities regulated by the ACC pay a fee, or assessment, to fund operations of the ACC. The assessment is based on revenue collected from sales of electricity to the companies’ customers or members. The ACC assessment is then passed to customers or members on their bills.

Currently MEC and its members are paying the fee twice. The ACC assessment is charged to MEC, as required, by its power provider Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, a generation and transmission cooperative. MEC, a distribution cooperative pays the ACC assessment a second time for the revenue collected for the same power billed to its members.

HB 2232

In January, HB2232 was filed in the Arizona House of Representatives. The legislation is aimed at solving the issue of assessing the same product twice by excluding the assessment on revenues from sales of electricity by the generation cooperative, and only charging the assessment for sales of electricity to the distribution cooperatives’ members. On February 1 the bill passed out of committee with a vote of 11-0 in favor.

Next Steps

HB2232 has strong support from Arizona legislators. We expect that the bill will continue through the legislative process including Rules Committee, and to the House and Senate for a vote. We’ll continue to track this bill and other legislative actions that impact MEC and our members.

Happy New Year from MEC

new year's eve decorationsJanuary is here and with it brings new beginnings and new year’s resolutions.

Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC) is pleased to start our 76th year with a few goals in mind to serve our members.

Electricity

We would like to renew our commitment to providing reliable electricity at the most reasonable cost based on sound business practices.

Fiber Broadband

We will be expanding Phase II of our fiber-optic network project, offering thousands of members, businesses, municipalities, and non-profit organizations with fast, reliable broadband including internet, phone, and tv streaming services.

Washington Youth Tour

We are pleased to announce the Washington Youth Tour trip to D.C. will resume in 2022 in late spring / early summer.

Education Scholarship

Additionally, we will be offering a new MEC scholarship program to support our high school graduates and college students. Please look for announcements in April 2022.

Member Service

We want to continue offering excellent service and support to our members. We will be featuring our 8 Ways to Pay Your Bill including a new sign at our Member Service facility on Hancock Road.

There are undoubtedly other activities that come up during the year, but we wanted to list a few items to look forward to in 2022!

From all of us at MEC, we wish you health and happiness in the new year.

MEC Finishes Out Year by Engaging with Members

2021 Community Risk Reduction Safety Event

Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC) always enjoys participating in the Bullhead City Fire Department’s safety day. MEC shared numerous tips with members on electrical safety. The “Hazard Hamlet” simulation demonstrates several situations avoidable to promote electrical safety.

National Night Out

Mohave Electric Co-op has partnered with Bullhead City Police Department for 20+ years to co-host National Night Out, and 2021 was another great success. MEC sponsored face painting, door prizes, event tables, and chairs, refreshments, and handed out educational materials on energy efficiency tips and outage safety. If you didn’t attend this year, please join the fun next year.

Member Appreciation Month

October was Member Appreciation Month, and MEC used this opportunity to celebrate our members every week. All members were welcome on Thursdays at our Member Service office to chat with staff and visit tables with door prizes, cookies, coffee, and fresh popcorn. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to visit.

Veterans Day Parade

Mohave Electric thanks all active-duty military and veterans who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. On November 6, MEC will be honoring veterans by riding in the Veterans Day Parade. Look for Old No. 1 and wave.

Look for MEC at this year’s Veterans Day Parade. PHOTO BY MEC

News From Your Cooperative

MEC members, the Barela’s, are the 1,000th MEC residential solar rebate project standing with their contractors Streamline Solar and MEC board directors. From left, Streamline Solar Contractors Chris Hansen and David Harmon, MEC Energy Management Specialist Steve Bouman, Members Carmelita and Henry Barela, and MEC Board Directors Michael Bartelt and Rich Tempelman.

Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC) is having an awesome 75th anniversary year. Some very exciting times here as we wrap up summer and move towards the end of the year.

I am pleased to announce that we have our first member connections for fiber-optic broadband service with TWN. This is a huge milestone, first-of-its-kind for an Arizona cooperative utility! Enjoy reading the article, and remember to pre-register.

Later this month Mohave Electric will be holding its annual meeting, and we are looking forward to celebrating our 75th anniversary with our members. As we announced in July, Capital Credits have been distributed to members, so keep an eye out for your credit.

Another milestone for our 75th anniversary, MEC marks the 1,000th solar residential installation milestone for the SunWatts Renewable Energy Rebate Program. This also marks the 100th solar residential installation for 2021.

Stay tuned for more good news and updates from MEC in our November magazine.

Celebrate MEC’s 75th Anniversary

This month, in addition to remembering our country’s Independence Day, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate with members Mohave Electric Cooperative’s (MEC’s) 75th Anniversary!

Mohave Electric was formed on July 3, 1946. Here are a few key milestones in MEC’s history!

  • May 1, 1946—Residents in Kingman met to explore the possibility of bringing affordable electricity to Kingman, Big Sandy Valley, Wikieup and Bullhead City.
  • July 3, 1946—Frontier-spirited, hardworking folks brought as much money as they could spare and borrowed a Rural Electrification Administration loan under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. These members established a board of directors to govern the co-op.
  • January 1, 1947—The first meters were energized and within one year, there were 90 meters on 5 miles of line. The REA grant expanded transmission lines to Topock.
  • 1948—Power contracts were signed to serve members in Peach Springs, Valentine and Hackberry.
  • 1954—478 meters were energized on 275 miles of line.
  • 1956—MEC had six employees housed in Kingman.
  • 1964—First capital credits checks were issued to members.
  • 1969—MEC has 4,006 members and 534 miles of line.
  • 1971—MEC members were increasing and needed more power. MEC joined Arizona Electric Power Cooperative to secure more energy for the growing area.
  • 1972—MEC’s general offices moved to Bullhead City while keeping a Kingman facility. 5,501 members, 27 employees and 609 miles of line.
  • 1974—7,136 members and 663 miles of line.
  • 1979—10,585 members and 10,675 meters.
  • 1980—General & Member Services move to Arena Drive.
  • 1984—12% increase in members served for a total of 15,035. 5,000 new meters since 1980.
  • 1989—Member Service office moves to Hancock Road.
  • 2005—30,929 members with 36,854 meters, 79 employees, and 1,391 miles of line.
  • 2015—32,498 members with 39,762 meters, 77 employees, and 1,521 miles of line.
  • 2019—MEC completes feasibility study for fiber optic broadband to improve electricity service and offer internet service to members. The board of directors voted to proceed.
  • 2020—MEC is first Arizona co-op to secure legislation, ACC approval, and $110 million private financing to bring broadband to each member. Fiber construction begins.
  • July 2021—Just in time for MEC’s 75th anniversary, the co-op has come full circle with the first members connected with broadband service!

Education Is Key to Our Future Success

Everyone has heard the expression “today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders,” which spotlights just how important it is to educate our youth and support our teachers. Here at Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC), we believe in empowering our member students to aspire for success, and believe in providing tools and resources, as best we can, to support their hard work.

Every year, MEC offers multiple programs to help teachers and students. Beginning with our $200 Classroom Grants, MEC opens the application process for teachers to submit a project description outlining the materials and costs associated with their proposed program and explaining how the $200 grant will bring the project to fruition. 2021 has been a record year with dozens of applications received. A panel reviews the applications, and MEC will announce the awards at the end of May.

Next thing you know, our juniors have matriculated all the way to Washington, D.C.! Each year, MEC awards selected member students to participate in National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Washington Youth Tour—a weeklong, all-expenses-paid trip to the U.S. capital. Students who attend have an opportunity to learn about the U.S. government that engages on policies important to cooperative utilities such as MEC and see firsthand America’s deep history. Member students submit a written application and speak before a panel that reviews their qualifications. The 2020 and 2021 trips were canceled as a precaution during the pandemic, and MEC offered a future trip or scholarship to winning students. We have high hopes the Washington, D.C., trip will return in 2022. I want to thank this year’s and past year’s panelists who have volunteered to interview our student applicants and who value investing in their lives and future success.

The cooperative utility industry is always changing. That includes advancements in technology and changes in traditional and renewable energy resources. Each year, MEC awards a school within our service territory a grant of $5,000 to support renewable energy curriculum. We appreciate our schools that can find new and creative ways to share information that is changing regularly.

Many of our member students that have graduated k-12 don’t stop there. Many continue to vocational programs, associate degrees, bachelor degrees, and beyond. This is why MEC is creating a scholarship program for members who are enrolled in classes at Mohave Community College. We want to support our members in their paths toward careers and industry professions. We look forward to developing our scholarship program and supporting you in the future. Look for details in upcoming MEC materials.

Also, various MEC staff attend school events and functions throughout the year. Whether invited to speak for career day or to present energy efficiency tips and lightbulbs, staff is always ready to support our schools, teachers, and students.

Planning for the future starts today. MEC wants to congratulate those who are graduating in 2021. We will continue to support our member teachers and students next school year. Be safe and enjoy the summer break.

A Lot to Celebrate in 75 Years

If you have not seen or heard yet, Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC) is celebrating serving our members for 75 years—refining our cooperative model, and working to save the members on their energy needs. We are proud to continue serving our members strong for many more years with continued system improvements and staff that is always here to help.

To get a jump start on the 75th year, we launched our commemorative logo, which can be found on your bill and in Currents magazine. We will use this logo for the 75th year and return to our regular logo as the year ends, when we will continue to serve our members under the trusted logo they know.

On February 1, we put our paperless billing option into motion, which is open to all members. Look for more information in our Paperless Billing article. Although this is a small enhancement to our members, we are always trying to find ways to create ease. If you decide to go paperless and set up an account with our Mohave Easy Pay Program, I’m sure you will find it to be a smooth and efficient way to stay current with your electric needs.

Here is more good news: MEC increased the Purchased Power Adjuster (PPA) credit on February 1. The PPA allows us to adjust our cost of energy, both negative and positive, directly to the member. Although it might sound strange, a negative factor increases the savings to members, whereas a positive factor adds to the price a member pays. As a cooperative, we only want to charge our members what is needed to operate. When we buy energy at a lower cost, those savings are passed directly to the residential members we serve. We went from a factor of -$0.0075 to -$0.0125, saving members an extra $4 on average per billing cycle. Read more about this saving on our Saving for Our Members article to gain a full understanding of what a PPA does for you.

One part of our cooperative that receives little highlight but deserves many thanks is our member service office. The employees in that office serve our members daily on any topic regarding membership, service, or programs the cooperative or partners have to offer. We are proud to have dedicated employees serving our residential members. Whether you need help understanding the charges on your bill, setting up service for the first time, accessing one of our programs, or are just stopping by and say hello, the employees are here to help you from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

Members often ask about the partnership between TWN and Mohave Electric, which is bringing reliable broadband service. Mohave Electric is bringing our members fiber to better enhance our electrical operations. Members will have the choice to sign up with TWN, which will use our fiber network to provide reliable internet and phone. The internet service comes with symmetrical upload and download speeds for members’ homes and businesses. I am proud to say that we have more than 100,000 feet of fiber installed, and are closer to “lighting up” our members with quality service.

Although we are proud of how far we have come in 75 years of serving our members, we will continue to take great strides in serving our current members and adapting to serve members to come. Mohave Electric plans to continue to live up to the name, brand, and services our members have come accustomed to receiving.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Celebrating 75 years Mohave logoThere is no shortage of new information from Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC) during this time of year. One of the largest updates I can provide is that fiber is in the air. Read more in our The Talk Around Town with TWN article. Crews have been working to establish the backbone of this project since December, and have placed thousands of feet of fiber to create an advanced electrical system and assist in the growth of a much-needed, more reliable fiber-optic internet service brought to our members by MEC fiber and TWN Communications.

We want to again thank our members who participated in tree purchases during Operation Cool Shade. This year differed from past years in many ways. We added 300 more trees, had a presale phone event, and had a specific eastern service area pickup location. All trees were picked up before 2 p.m. during our western service area pickup day. This program has been going on for years. We hope the changes helped our members receive the trees they wanted to not only make their home more beautiful but also create energy savings for years to come. Members received a free LED lightbulb with each tree purchase. If you have not done so yet, install those lightbulbs and kick off your energy savings today. You can find more information on this event in our Operation Cool Shade article.

MEC was proud to be a part of the Paul Walsh Memorial Veteran’s Parade. Mohave Electric staff volunteered their time to show their appreciation and respect to the veterans who serve and have served our country. I drove Old Number One in the parade, followed by employees in their Jeeps. Event structure and participation has been altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, but MEC worked together to gather as much participation as possible to show our respect to those who have served. Read more in our Mohave Electric Cooperative Honors Veterans article.

We are excited to announce that as we kick off the new year, MEC has been serving our members for 75 years. You can view our new 75th-anniversary logo at the top right corner of this page. MEC started in 1946 with a few meters and has grown to more than 42,000 meters and more than 1,500 miles of line. Just like when we started, Mohave Electric Cooperative is here to grow with you.

Some of our most recent advancements as a growing cooperative were the launch of our new website back in October, and putting together the CEO PowerPoint video recapping our years’ work that is now live on our Annual Meeting page. We continue to improve our website and deliver a much higher quality of information to our members. We know a PowerPoint video is not what our members are accustomed to. We hope our 75th-year anniversary annual meeting will be in person so we can gather with our members face to face once again. From our family to yours, stay safe and enjoy the start of a new year.

Currents and Cookbooks

Welcome to the second issue of our new Currents member magazine. We are hearing positive comments about the publication, and what’s best of all—members are reading and enjoying Currents.

MEC members are ordering cookbooks, one member ordered 10 of them. And several members have submitted calendar contest photo entries.

This publication wouldn’t be happening for MEC’s members without the help and professional efforts of the publisher, Pioneer Utility Resources. PUR is a not-for-profit cooperative like Mohave Electric, with the same values and business practices.

An MEC reader said:

“I loved getting the magazine and read it cover to cover, finding it very interesting and informative. Thank you for such a good magazine.”

Currents is part of our enhanced member communication goal. In the last few months we have gone from one social media channel to four channels—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Follow us!

A bigger project is a complete overhaul of our website. The all new mohaveelectric.com is expected later this year, something to look forward to.

In this September Currents issue, our cover story is found on pages 4 and 5. The Moss Mine power line project is providing reliable and cost-effective electricity for the mining operation and will have a significant positive impact on air quality by replacing the existing diesel generators at the mine.

I want to join Golden Vertex/Moss Mine and thank Congressman Paul Gosar for his help in clearing some hurdles for this project to move forward. Our members and community benefit by his support for a local business that is forward-thinking to improve air quality and bring more than 100 good jobs.

More MEC and Arizona generation and transmission content is found on pages 8, 25, 28 and 29.

Last month, our Board of Directors made the difficult decision to cancel our District and Annual Member Meetings for 2020.

Uncertainty and changes surrounding health concerns and risks have made it impossible for us to secure a facility for our meetings, along with difficulty in providing physical distancing at meetings.

A few other considerations affected the decision– there is no outstanding business to conduct, no proposed changes to MEC’s bylaws, and there were  no applications received for a board position.

MEC has prepared its annual report document and I have  recorded a video presentation of the year’s highlights. The annual report and presentation are available on our website—www.mohaveelectric.com, click on About Us then Annual Meeting.

We enjoy spending time with members at our meetings each year and we will miss that. On a bright note, we are planning MEC’s 75th anniversary in 2021 with a celebration at next year’s Annual Meeting and lots of gifts to make up for this year. We hope to see you next year, and maybe you’ll win a cookbook!

Communication – You Bet!

Communication – You Bet!

I’m sure you are curious about this new publication. As a member of Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC), I was curious, too, when our communications and public affairs team presented the idea to me. What I saw was a new format for Currents that fit right in with our board and management goal to improve communication with our members.

We were already moving in this direction before the COVID-19 situation, but these past few months have demonstrated that more communication, using methods to reach more members, is the right path going forward.

Welcome to our new Currents publication. In each issue of Currents, you will find MEC news, information from Arizona’s rural electric cooperatives and interesting feature stories. You will receive the new magazine six times a year. The pages specific to MEC will remain the same in each issue.

In this July issue, the cover directs you to pages 4- 5 and information about MEC’s fiber broadband project. News about capital credits returned to members and MEC’s member assistance programs with River Fund is found on pages 8 and 25.

I am also pleased to announce we have added new social media channels. You can now follow MEC on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as Facebook. This is another milestone in our communication improvement plan. Within the next few months, our website will be going through a major makeover. Stay tuned for that one.

Even with all these new things, you will still hear from us on a regular basis via bill inserts and messages, local print media and radio communication.

What matters most to us are our members and our community. During this difficult time, MEC has increased our programs to help members experiencing financial difficulty, and returned $1.3 million in capital credits to members. Involvement and investment in the community is a natural benefit of the cooperative business model. We’re locally based, live and work here, and are MEC members.

Through this pandemic, our employees have been there for you—in the field and in the office— making sure the lights stay on. I am proud of their dedication to respond day and night. We asked them to adapt to new and different ways of serving our members, and they did, while also having the same concerns for family, and dealing with the changes to daily life we all have experienced. Our employees have stepped up to make sure the power stayed on for all our members, allowing medical and first responder facilities to do their jobs, run their businesses and spend more time at home.

As we transition to businesses reopening and have fewer disruptions to our everyday lives, we remain committed to our community—as individuals and as Mohave Electric Cooperative. We’re here, keeping the lights on.