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What does into planning upgrades to an electrical system? For York Electric Cooperative, the main answer is growth. Over the last decade, communities served by York Electric have been some of the fastest-growing in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Craig Spencer, the cooperative’s vice president of engineering, says he has seen YEC’s membership — now more than 60,000 and counting — triple during his 28-year tenure. Spencer and the engineering and operations teams at York Electric have taken on numerous new projects over the last few years.
York Electric's Craig Spencer monitors readings at the new Van Wyck Substation, which serves one of the cooperative's fastest growing areas.[/caption]
“If we didn’t have the growth, a lot of the projects wouldn’t be necessary,” Spencer says. “You’ve got to upgrade your lines and your system to meet the growth.”
Determining where those upgrades are needed is a sophisticated formula that factors not only population projections but also energy load data. Engineers and advisors create a three- to four-year work plan based on increasing — and decreasing — usage across York Electric’s system.
“By looking at how past loads have grown over time with new members, new subdivisions and new commercial projects, we kind of know what’s coming,” Spencer explains. “We know that areas like Lake Wylie, Fort Mill and Lancaster County are growing at a faster rate than the western part of our service territory.”
As loads increase and change, so must the delivery system. The substations and circuits that reliably provided electricity 20 years ago might now be overburdened, compromising reliability for members on those lines.
“We try to see what areas are stressed or are going to be stressed,” says Spencer. “You want to have a conductor there that will carry more than what is needed, even during extreme temperatures.”
Plans also must factor where the load centers are located. York Electric wants its substations, the facilities that connect distribution lines to transmission sources, to be near where power is being used. As areas grow and the existing substations serving those areas become loaded, new substations are built to serve the increased loads and provide capacity for new growth, resulting in better reliability for everyone.
“You are shortening the amount of line between the member and the source, which reduces the likelihood of having power interruptions because of trees falling or a car hitting a pole,” Spencer says. “If there is an outage, it still may take the same amount of time to fix the problem, but you can find it faster and you don’t have as many members affected.”
Spencer says that improving circuits — the network of lines through which electricity flows — has a similar effect. Adding circuits to existing substations splits the load so that not as many people lose service in an outage. Technological advances also make the system more reliable. In many cases, the cooperative can communicate with its equipment. Trouble areas are located quicker, sometimes before an outage occurs.
Fortunately, York Electric has been able to make these investments without raising rates.
“The growth helps spread the costs among more members and more energy sales,” Spencer says. “Under the leadership of our board of directors and management team, we try to make wise decisions to maintain and modify the electrical system to handle the growth and provide reliable service to our members. That helps minimize what has to be recovered from the membership.”
And helps the cooperative get ready for more members to come online.
YEC's system upgrade breakdown
York Electric has made major upgrades to our system in the last few years, keeping pace with growth occurring in our communities and assuring reliability for all our membership. The following is a breakdown of those upgrades and the areas that benefit.
Serves: Fort Mill area between I-77 and Lancaster Co. line.
Upgrade: Added second power transformer, doubling capacity. Added circuits, allowing for the ability to split electrical loads and increase reliability.
India Hook Substation
Serves: Southern side of Lake Wylie between Highway 274 and India Hook Rd.
Upgrade: Rebuilt one of the original cooperative substations, replacing old equipment with more state-of-the art technology and increasing capacity.
Van Wyck Substation
Serves: Catawba Reservation area and portions of Lancaster Co. to the state line.
Upgrade: Another original substation rebuilt, increasing station capacity and the physical size of the station to allow for future additional circuits. Expanded and upgraded circuits from Indian Land High School, across Highway 521 along Collins Rd.
Banks Street Substation, circuits 1 and 2
Serves: Waterside and Mason’s Bend communities, Catawba Ridge High School and Nation Ford Chemical.
Upgrade: Increased capacity in this area by taking a delivery from an existing Duke station. This arrangement was more cost effective than building our own substation in this area. Constructed a double circuit to serve the growing membership and increase reliability to one of our large industrial members— Nation Ford Chemical.
Seven Oaks Substation
Serves: North of the Five Points area around the Lake Wylie community.
Upgrade: Addition of circuit 5 allows the co-op to accommodate for high growth in the area around Crowders Creek Elementary School and reduce load on its Catawba substation. The addition of circuit 1 will split the load along Highway 274 northwest of Pole Branch Rd. to increase capacity and increase reliability.
Haney Road line conversion
Serves: Haney Rd. and portions of the Hands Mill subdivision.
Upgrade: Converted a single-phase line to a three-phase line, increasing the conductor size to increase capacity, split the load and increase reliability.
Jim McCarter Rd. Recloser
Serves: Between Clover and York along Jim McCarter, Tom Joye and Burrell Roads.
Upgrade: Installed an electronic recloser which requires less maintenance and incorporates smart controls that can identify and isolate outages downline.
Aycock School Substation
Serves: Southwestern York County around the McConnells area.
Upgrade: A new substation is underway along with a new transmission line. The addition of this substation will greatly increase reliability to members in this area. Construction should be complete by summer 2021.
Gray Rock Road conversion
Serves: Portion of Baxter and Lake Ridge communities.
Upgrade: Increased the conductor size to allow for more capacity, more efficient operation and increased operational flexibility.
Hwy. 49 conversion
Serves: Members along Charlotte Highway Shiloh Farms and Hunter Park communities.
Upgrade: Increased the conductor size for more capacity and more efficient operation.
Online applications are now being accepted for the second annual Bright Ideas Grant Program for teachers in York, Clover, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, and Lancaster schools. Each district will have one winner, receiving up to $1,000 to accomplish an innovative classroom program or project that improves the learning experience for students. All grade levels are eligible to apply.
Submit your idea by midnight on September 14, 2020. We will celebrate and announce winners during October as part of National Co-op Month!
Visit us our Bright Ideas grant page for more information.
YEC invests in the future of your co-op through system upgrades. This month, I’m going to reach back to my engineering roots to discuss many state-of-the-art improvements your co-op has made to our distribution system. In this issue, you will find detailed information about upgrades and their benefits to you.
As you know, we are always looking out for you, which means we want to make sure your lights come on and stay on. We strive to provide excellent service day to day, but it is imperative for your co-op to plan ahead in order to carry this mission into the future. From 2018 through the rest of this year, an investment of more than $19.5 million will be spent improving our distribution system and another $5.9 million will be put towards maintenance. While some of these updates were necessary because of growth, others were to improve technology, increase reliability, and to make our grid smarter, enabling us to identify and isolate outages as they occur.
We realize this is a large amount of money. While this includes dollars we spend yearly in right of way maintenance, it does not include our large ongoing project to bury overhead lines that are hard to reach in outage situations. As your co-op, our job is to power your life. This price tag sets us up for success to continue providing reliable, safe, affordable energy for years to come. Thank you for trusting us to serve you. We aim to continue improving while staying true to our mission of always putting our members first.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Routine inspections will occur for all members in Hickory Grove and other surrounding Western York County areas sometime between this month and the end of the year. Please expect the inspector to come onto your property to check your metering equipment, transformers, security lights, and all other cooperative-owned materials and to make sure they are all in good working order. Your power should not be interrupted, and the contractors will do their best not to disturb you. The contractors will also have proper identification showing that they are there on behalf of your co-op.
Thank you for your cooperation with this important process as we do our best to keep your service up-to-date. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our member services team at 803-684-4248.
YEC introduces a new podcast, Co-op Talk—The voices of your community, to continue our commitment to informing, educating, and connecting with our members. Life is busy, leaving little time for reading and research on topics that might benefit your life. We knew we could help by bringing you short 10- to 15-minute informational discussions on things you care about.
Let us help you save money on your power bill, and teach you about new technologies and programs available through your co-op that might make life easier, inform you about community outreach initiatives and share the latest in local economic development. Our goal is to deliver you fresh, local, and helpful information in an efficient, easy-to-use platform.
Sometimes you will hear me discuss these topics, but we will also call on co-op and community leaders to share information and their stories. We want to be your source of power and information because you are more than just a customer to us. You are a valued member, friend and neighbor and we want to help improve the quality of your life. Take a listen and learn more about this area and how your co-op is looking out for you.
President and Chief Executive Officer
In this episode: "Welcome to Co-op Talk!"— A brief history of YEC and who we are, featuring Vice President of Community Development Marc Howie.
- "New in town"—A discussion on the growth in our area, featuring Vice President of Community Development Marc Howie and Key Account Representative Markeus Farrand.
New to Podcasts?
When you open your desired podcast service or app, use the search bar to find Co-op Talk.
When you've found us, you'll see a listing of our available episodes. Click on subscribe to make sure you never miss the latest.
How to Listen
You can listen to Co-op Talk episodes right here from YEC's website and you can subscribe to Co-op Talk using standard podcast apps like Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple podcasts or Sound Cloud.
York Electric Cooperative Cancels Annual Meeting
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause harm to many in our area, the York Electric Cooperative Board of Directors and management team decided it was best to officially cancel the 2020 Annual Meeting of Members. Recommendations by the CDC, state, and local health officials include adequate social distancing, face coverings, and to avoid large crowds.
To remain in compliance with this information and to keep our members and employees safe from the virus, we feel canceling the meeting is best at this time. Please save the date for our 2021 Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 8. We look forward to seeing you all when it is safe to be together again!
Coronavirus Update From Your Co-op
As we continue dealing with new realities each day due to the COVID-19 pandemic, know that York Electric Co-op is looking out for you. We've been through some crisis situations before, and we're prepared to provide the reliable service you have come to expect from us during this time of uncertainty and difficulty. Our number one job right now is to keep the power flowing to your home. York Electric Co-op is taking every measure to ensure our employees stay healthy and here for you. Required face coverings, daily sanitizing of office spaces, social distancing, and staggered employee schedules to limit building capacity are just a few steps your co-op is taking to stop the spread and serve you safely.
For now, our lobbies will remain closed. When we feel it is safe to reopen them for members, we will be communicating safety precautions and plans to conduct cooperative business at a safe distance. Please remember there are several online and electronic options to take care of your account, make a payment, make an arrangement, and more!
During this crisis, we realize that some people may be facing hardships, and we're prepared to help out in those situations. We hope that each of you will stay safe and follow the precautions that are being provided by our health officials. Whether it's through a storm or a pandemic, you can always count on your co-op.
YEC's lobbies still remain closed for the health and wellness of our community and employees. Although most transactions can be completed either online, by phone, or in our mobile app, our drive-thru remains open to serve members at both our York and Fort Mill office locations.
June 8, 2020
York Electric Cooperative resumes service disconnections for nonpayment following the COVID-19 crisis. If you are having difficulty paying your bill, please contact our member services team. We are here to help.
These community resources may be able to help members who are experiencing hardship.
April 4, 2020
In an effort to help limit exposure to COVID-19, these community agencies have changed or suspended normal operating procedures:
- PATH – York - Suspended assistance with utilities until further notice
- CAA – Clover - Closed until 4/19/20
- FMCC – Fort Mill - Suspended assistance with utilities as no one is disconnecting currently
- CCA – Rock Hill - Must schedule an appointment with limited staff and funding
April 3, 2020
YEC's online bill pay systems will be unavailable Saturday, April 4th from 7:30 am until approximately 10 am so that our Accounting team can issue Capital Credit checks as soon as possible. During that time, Member Portal, smart app, and remote pay station payment processing will be down. To get money to our members sooner during this crisis, YEC will be returning Capital Credits to members a month early.
For more information concerning Capital Credits, call our Member Services Department at 803-684-4248.
Capital Credits FAQ (9)
Not necessarily. The board of trustees must authorize a refund before you receive a check. When considering a refund, the board analyzes the financial status of the cooperative and will not authorize a refund if it is not in the best interest of the membership.
The representative of the estate can have the balance of Capital Credits transferred into the heir’s name and the balance will be paid out as the board of trustees approves refunds.
Your Capital Credits remain in your name and member number until they are retired. You just need to ensure that York Electric has your current mailing address.
Capital Credits are calculated by York Electric for every member who purchased electricity during a year in which the utility earned margins. No special action is required to start a Capital Credit account. Your membership with York Electric activates your Capital Credit account.
York Electric is a cooperative. A cooperative is owned by its members and does not technically earn profits. Instead, any revenues over the cost of doing business are considered “margins.” These margins represent an interest-free loan of operating capital by the membership of the cooperative. This capital allows York Electric to finance operations and, to a certain extent, construction. The utility then returns this capital to the members in later years.
You should receive an allocation notice each year after a financial audit of York Electric has been completed. During the month of May, members receive Capital Credit checks in the mail unless the amount due to them is less than $15. If the member’s refund is less than $15, the amount will be distributed and printed on their utility billing statement as a line item credit.
The amount of Capital Credits you earn in a given year is based upon the amount of electricity purchased. Each member receives a credit based on a percentage for each dollar of electricity purchased.
No. Allocated Capital Credits may not be used to pay current bills. While your electric bill is due monthly, you will not be entitled to your Capital Credits until the board of trustees authorizes a refund. This will take place over many years, since York Electric needs the funds to grow.
Capital Credits are a benefit of membership in a member-owned utility. Each year, YEC uses the revenues that exceed operating costs as equity. These funds and borrowed capital allow YEC to serve a growing number of members while implementing the latest technology to provide the best possible service. As a not-for-profit utility, YEC later returns these revenues to the members who originally paid them in their electric bills.
Each year, our members receive Capital Credit checks. Members will receive Capital Credit checks in the mail unless the amount due to them is less than $15. If the member’s refund is less than $15, the amount will be distributed and printed on their utility billing statement as a line item credit. The amount of Capital Credits returned is determined by total revenues received over expenses for the cooperative and your total energy billings for the year. They are paid periodically with board approval after review of YEC’s financial status.
If you leave YEC’s service area, your Capital Credits remain in your name and member number until they are retired. Therefore, you need to make sure YEC has your current mailing address.
March 31, 2020
We understand the anxiety you may be experiencing around this evolving situation, so we have created this dedicated area to address your many coronavirus cooperative-related questions and provide resources for assistance and information well beyond our own backyard. As the crisis develops or new information needs to be disseminated, we will update this section; feel free to bookmark this page and visit often.
March 27, 2020
Like you, YEC is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation. We appreciate your patience as we continue to serve you and look out for your best interests during this crisis.
We want to reassure you that our office procedures will not affect your electric service. Lineworkers are available to respond to outages, work will continue with service orders, bills will still be processed and mailed, and our members may speak to a YEC employee regarding any questions or concerns about their bill or service.
We also understand some members are experiencing unexpected financial circumstances right now. Can't make a payment? Please give us a call so that we can help: 803-684-4248.
From late March until further notice, penalties for delinquent accounts will be waived. No penalties will be assessed and disconnections for nonpayment on all accounts have been suspended.
Although YEC will not be disconnecting any accounts during this crisis, we would like to remind our members to stay on top of their bills. Since you are still responsible to pay for the electricity you consume, remember to keep your balance manageable and communicate with us to create payment arrangements.
York Electric is giving money back to members again this year – early!
To get money to our members sooner during this crisis, YEC will be returning Capital Credits to members a month early. In April, we will return $2 million to members who received service in 1997, 1998 & 2018. Members will receive Capital Credit checks in the mail. If the member's refund is less than $15, the amount will be printed as a line item credit on the electric bill. The amount of Capital Credits returned is determined by margins and a percentage of your total energy billings for the years listed above. Questions? Call 803-684-4248.
79th Annual Meeting suspended
Although unprecedented, the decision by your board of trustees to suspend our Annual Meeting is consistent with York Electric always putting safety first. The trustee election, bylaw changes, and cooperative business that should be done on May 9th will be handled when it's safer for us to be together again. Stay in touch with YEC online and through social media to track updates and learn how our team is working to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.
Burrell Foundation pancake breakfast postponed
Please stay tuned for further details.
Activities for kids at home
Spark interest in electric safety with #LearnwithYEC! We have some fun games and activities for young people that will help them learn about energy and energy efficiency.
We're here for you
We are still able to serve our members in our drive through locations at both our York and Fort Mill offices, but we also urge you to use other methods to conduct your cooperative business. Please visit www.yorkelectric.net, try our YEC Mobile App, or call our member services team at 803-684-4248.
Our commitment to members runs deep. Your service matters to us because we work in the same community you do, and a lot of us get our power from the same place you do. The men and women who respond during an outage experience the same outages at their homes, too. We are real people, who value the same things as you do, answering the call to provide you with the safe, reliable and affordable energy you deserve. Enriching lives means helping our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends and family – you.
March 23, 2020
The lobby of the remote pay station in Rock Hill – at the Comporium office on Cherry Road – is closed, as well as our Fort Mill branch lobby; both are still accepting payments through the drive-thru.
March 20, 2020
York Electric Cooperative is happy to serve our membership. We are always looking out for you and our community, especially during a time of emergency and need.
Like other utilities in our area, YEC is postponing account disconnections for nonpayment until further notice to help our members. However, we urge our members to stay on top of their electricity use and their monthly bill. Please remember you will still be responsible to pay for the electricity you consume. Be sure to use our online arrangement system to manage your payments or reach out to our member services team for help if you are in a financial crisis.
As the threat of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, continues, York Electric Cooperative plans to close all outside member and public traffic to our office locations beginning Monday, March 23.
We will still be able to serve our members in our drive through locations at both York and Fort Mill offices but urge our members to use other methods to conduct their cooperative business. Try our free YEC Mobile App, use the Member Services Portal, or call our member services team at 803-684-4248.
We would like to reassure our members that our office procedures will not affect your electric service. Linemen will still be available to respond to outages, work will continue with service orders, member bills will still be processed and mailed, and our members will still be able to talk to a YEC employee regarding any questions or concerns about their bill.
Although no one at YEC has tested positive, we are following preventative measures to decrease the risk of spreading the virus. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are here to help and appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we navigate the effects of #COVID-19.
Scams related to the COVID-19 outbreak are on the rise. York Electric Cooperative members should be on the lookout for suspicious email, phone calls, or persons impersonating business employees or charitable organizations.
By keeping your contact information up to date, you can take full advantage of the services York Electric Cooperative offers. If we don’t have the correct phone number and email address linked to your home address, it makes it much more difficult for you to report an outage.
If you are not sure we have your current phone number, mailing, and email addresses, please log on to our Member Services Portal to check your account and make any necessary updates, use this update form, or call our member services department at (803) 684-4248.
March 14, 2020
Please know your health and safety is always a priority here at your co-op, and we are closely watching the national and local responses to the current pandemic and following guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as our own common-sense measures.
To that end, we strongly suggest conducting your cooperative business here at yorkelectric.net, by texting 352667, or through our free YEC Mobile App. Social distancing is the top recommendation for individual virus prevention, so please take advantage of the ability to do as much of your routine business via the internet as possible.
When bearing in mind limited contact, remember we’re here for you by phone at 803-684-4248, there are payment drop boxes at all our locations, and you have the option to pay your bill by mail
If you prefer to visit our offices, be aware that all transactions will be handled through the glass to keep our members and employees safe. We’ve also encouraged our staff to practice healthy hygiene and have taken extra precautions to keep our common areas clean. YEC employees have been advised to stay home if they exhibit any signs of illness and to see a doctor; we hope our members will follow the same advice.
We understand the anxiety you may be experiencing around this evolving situation. Please know we're committed to being responsive and flexible to your needs and are available to you at any time as we navigate and adapt to the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19.
Live Smart. Save More.
Take advantage of our Smart Thermostat Program to easily save on heating and cooling costs.
Interested in installing panels on your home? Let YEC be your source of information.
Beat the Peak
The Beat the Peak program is a free and voluntary effort to help control energy costs for all cooperative members.