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Monday, 31 March 2014 08:14

With the federal government moving toward greater regulation of greenhouse gas—regulation that threatens to shutter critical power generation sources—the Missouri House has taken action to protect our state’s interests.

In 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to combat the effects of global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050. Toward this goal, he directed the EPA to promulgate rules regulating emissions for new and existing coal-fired power plants.

The rules for new power plant construction were released in January. They effectively prohibit the construction of new coal power plants until technology is developed to capture and store emissions underground. Such technology is years, or perhaps decades, from being ready for mainstream power generation — if ever.

Expectations are that the new regulations for existing power plants will be released in June. If these restrictions follow the path of the restrictions on new power plants, Missouri’s energy supply could be in danger.

Nearly 85 percent of Missouri’s electrical energy needs are supplied by coal. The new regulations might force many of Missouri’s existing coal plants into retirement, leaving the state with nothing to fill the energy void.

The result will be a dramatic increase in energy costs across the board. Missouri consumers can expect direct increases of at least 25 – 35 percent for energy usage, and even more from non-direct economic impacts. The price of goods and services will soar dramatically as consumers absorb the increased costs of production and distribution that result from a forced reduction in energy output.

To help protect against this, the Missouri House has passed House Bill 1631. This bill would allow Missouri to exert the full force of its authority under the Clean Air Act to make regulatory decisions locally that are in the best interest of our state. It charges the state’s Air Conservation Commission to develop emissions standards and compliance schedules—rather than wait for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to specify these for Missouri.

“At the end of the day, we think Missouri is in a better position to determine that rather than bureaucrats in Washington,” said bill sponsor Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff.

The House passed the bill by a wide margin.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports this legislation and is closely watching how the EPA chooses to issue future regulations.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:30

Effective immediately, WCE has a new TOLL FREE payment-only phone number: 1-855-874-5349.

In order to provide our members with the safest, most secure form of payment processing, we have changed our system to an automated pay-by-phone system. Automated pay-by-phone will enhance your security against credit card fraud and will put West Central Electric in compliance with federally-mandated laws.

Remember, you may also pay online through the SmartHub.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 10:14

New app lets members manage accounts online or with mobile device

WCE members can nowmanage their electric accounts right from their smart phones, tablets or computers with the launch of SmartHub.

This app allows members to make payments, notify the cooperative of account and service issues, check usage and communicate directly with the cooperative with just the touch of a button.

The two-way communication with SmartHub allows members to make payments in a secure environment right from their mobile device or PC. SmartHub provides a safe and secure environment for bill payments and transactions between the cooperative and members’ financial institutions.

Through SmartHub, members can also see detailed usage information from all of their accounts. It allows members to ask questions regarding their account and electric service, as well as providing another way for the cooperative to let members know about special offiers, programs, events and more.

Creating a SmartHub account takes less than three minutes. Members enter their profile information, choose their provider, and they’re ready to begin. Create an account on this website by clicking on "Online Bill Pay," or download the free app by scanning the QR codes on the front of the February newsletter to access the SmartHub in the Apple iTunes App Store or the Android Market.

Once set up, members will see a screen with windows allowing them to view and manage usage, make payments or view communications and alerts from the cooperative. Members can also click on “My Usage” at the top for detailed information on usage by the month, day or hour.

“This information can be very valuable to a member who is questioning a bill to see exactly when and what time of day their usage spiked or receded, for example during holiday company or when away for a family vacation,” General Manager Mike Gray said.

If you need help using SmartHub, you can click on the “Help” button within the application on the upper, right-hand corner of the page on the screen.

Wednesday, 08 January 2014 11:57

Recently a number of utility customers (none in the WCE area at this time, but we want you to be aware) have been targeted by scammers claiming to be a collections agent. The caller impersonates the utility company claiming the bill is overdue and needs to be paid immediately or face disconnection. If you receive a call of which you are suspicious, hang up and call WCE yourself to inquire about the situation.

Monday, 02 December 2013 14:55

Members are asked to join us in letting EPA know we need diverse fuels to keep electricity affordable.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued new proposed rules limiting the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of new coal and natural gas based power plants. Because of this, the Administration has abandoned its “all-of-the-above” energy strategy and embraced an “all-but-one” approach that effectively prevents construction of new coal-based generation. The Administration has now moved on to formulating new regulations for existing plants which could drastically affect your electric rates.

Electric cooperatives strongly oppose this shift and believe the proposed rule should be withdrawn. Co-ops support using a diverse fuel mix including renewables, natural gas, nuclear, and coal to generate electricity. Please join our effort and tell the EPA to reconsider; to work with the electric cooperatives to find a common sense solution that balances energy needs and environmental concerns.
Your coooperative and its representtives will fight to keep your electric bill affordable, as policy changes would result in significant increases in electric rates.  all but one

“As we enter yet another challenging time in the electric industry, West Central Electric pledges to keep our members informed on issues that will affect the price you pay for electricity,” General Manager Mike Gray said.  “You will be receiving a stuffer in your January electric bill with more information and a card to fill out letting the EPA know you value an ‘All-of-the-Above’ approach to affordable energy. Please fill out the card, and in the name section, please write in the name of every adult in your household because every voice counts.”

You may also log onto www.action.coop and sign up that way.

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