Whether you are a researcher, YEC member or you simply want to know more about York Electric Cooperative, take this opportunity to browse our news archive.
Once again this year, your co-op is celebrating your membership in October by hosting our Annual Member Appreciation Shred Event. We are partnering with locally owned, veteran-operated Carolina Shred to safely and securely shred your sensitive documents.
- Who is invited? All York Electric Cooperative members.
- When? Saturday, Oct. 7, 9 a.m. until noon.
- Where? YEC’s main office at 1385 E. Alexander Highway, York. Carolina Shred’s office (new location) at 3356 SC-51, Fort Mill.
- What should you do? Gather any documents you need to safely dispose of and bring them to one of our two locations. Documents will be securely shredded on site. Please remove any trash and debris, especially batteries and electronics from your shredding material.
Students can become published authors through Children’s Book Challenge
Do you know any creative writers or artists in the fourth or fifth grade?
If so, encourage them to enter York Electric’s Children’s Book Challenge. They could become published authors by next summer!
Sponsored by South Carolina’s electric cooperatives, the EnlightenSC Children’s Book Challenge gives fourth and fifth grade students the opportunity to write and illustrate a book while learning about energy, their environment and community. It’s also a great opportunity for classrooms to meet multiple state education standards in art, science, language arts, and social studies.
In addition, students and their teachers can win cash prizes, have their book distributed to schools across the state and be recognized at the South Carolina Statehouse. Winners are selected and awarded prize money at the local level. All local winners are automatically entered for a chance to win the statewide prize of $500. Statewide winning books are printed and shared with elementary school libraries in South Carolina.
Getting started is simple. Go to enlightensc.org/book to learn more about the program and to register. The deadline for teachers to register their students is Nov. 1.
If you listen carefully, you can hear a quiet transformation occurring. Electric appliances and equipment are becoming more popular than ever. Perhaps the biggest difference is they create less noise. At least that was my experience when I recently drove the newest electric vehicle (EV) in the co-op fleet.
Original equipment manufacturers have announced this technology is coming. As your trusted energy advisor, it is our job to be armed with the facts and first- hand knowledge of how this life-changing technology works, so we added two EVs to our fleet.
Driving Sally, what we named the EV, I learned I suffer from range anxiety, the acceleration was mind-blowing and the ride was great. It was easy to operate and drove like a fancy sports car, without a sports car price tag or gas prices. And did I mention that it was quiet?
Tools such as ChooseEV, and a variety of apps like Optiwatt, are ways you can learn more about electric vehicles and if they are the right choice for you. They also help you get over your range anxiety, allowing you to properly plan your next charge.
EVs are just the tip of the iceberg. Nearly 83 years after bringing electricity to our rural communities, your co-op is still powering your life with tools and technologies that make things simpler and service more reliable.
You may think this is counterintuitive from the message delivered by our Vice President of Engineering Craig Spencer about the need for more electric generation. Yes, it is true that these new technologies take electricity to run. However, it is also true that these devices can help save you money, manage your time and reduce your energy use. Learn more about what Craig says in the second part of our three-month discussion on electric generation on page 20B.
Remember we’re looking out for you, no matter what you choose to drive, if you plug in your lawn tools or fill them with gas, and we are proud to continue providing affordable, safe and reliable service.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Paying your bill is easy at your co-op. We have many options to help our members save time, a trip to the office and the worry of making on-time payments each month.
Two of our most popular options are our Bank Draft and AutoPay programs. But what’s the difference? Let’s take a look, so you know which one is right for you.
- One-time member sign up
- Secure with no future hassles for monthly bill payments
- Member’s account balance must be zero
- Ensured on-time monthly payments initiated by your co-op on the same day each month
- Deducted each month right from the checking or savings account of your choosing
- Notifications and reminders can help you remember this has been paid each month
- Bonus! Earn a $1 credit each month by also signing up to Go Green and receive your statement by email
- One-time member sign up
- Members have the option to select the date of their bill payment date, as long as it is on or before their due date
- Members can set a maximum amount to be paid from their checking or savings account to ensure they do not receive any additional fees from their banking institution
- Payment is run each time by the co-op
- Members must save the profile to ensure monthly payments occur
- Members are in control and can update their profile at anytime
Log on to our secure member portal to view which payment option you currently use and to make any changes to your account.
Unsure how to set up a payment profile? Stay tuned for next month’s South Carolina Living issue for a detailed how-to guide. In the meantime, please give us a call at (803) 684-4248 for any questions about your account.
Part two of series: Working together to find a solution
Electric cooperatives pride themselves on exemplifying what it means to work as a team. This village of people banded together to electrify rural America, and changed the way we live, work, learn and play each day. This village made their own way when there wasn’t another option.
This village is my village, and one I’m proud to share with you. I grew up here and my wife and I have raised a family on co-op lines. I’ve borne witness to the impact this community has had on me and what we can accomplish when we band together.
In last month’s article, we talked about ways our members can help offset the growing need for more electric generation. Our goal was to explain how critical this is to you and to be transparent in the challenges we face. Just as we always have, working as a team can pay dividends to ensure service reliability. That is true as your co-op partners with other co-ops in South Carolina; as South Carolina cooperatives work with cooperatives across the country; and as our members stand together to make a difference.
What is your co-op doing?
We are working with other cooperatives in South Carolina to invest in future generation that is financially wise and provides less exposure to risk for our members. To do this, we have been pushed to think outside the box and diversify our energy portfolio. Next month, we will talk about our future energy mix. Our updated integrated resource plan will be available on our website for you to read about in detail by the end of this year.
Additionally, we are considering innovative ways to engage with and educate our members on energy use, demand and how your actions can influence the affordability and reliability of your service.
What can you do?
Our CEO described appliances and tools that are now electric, including his experience with an electric car. If you look around, the option to electrify your life is at nearly every turn. Reading about options to use more electricity each day right after reading about the need for more generation might be contradictory. It is possible and, really, it is all about your timing.
Programming your appliances and tools to run or charge at a time that is convenient for you— and when electricity is not in high demand-- helps your co-op keep rates affordable and offsets the need for more generation. Managing your use of electricity by updating appliances, relying on technology and becoming more efficient helps your co-op better prepare for the future and saves you money. Information shared with your co-op better equips us to keep your lights on.
Additionally, creating awareness of when and how you use energy and the impact it has on your pocketbook, the co-op’s rates and the ability for other utilities to generate enough power to supply reliable service to everyone is the first step. Our hope is that this awareness grows into action where our members are consciously using less of the product we are selling.
You might wonder why you matter in this equation. Just like it took a village to get your co-op started, it still takes a village to make a difference. Small changes, like shifting your energy use away from early mornings and evening times add up to a big difference. Especially if we’re all doing it together.
By Josh P. Crotzer
They may not be old enough to vote, but it’s never too early for high school students to learn about political advocacy and their civic duties.
Three local teens sponsored by York Electric Cooperative did just that at Cooperative Youth Summit, a four-day tour of the state capital and surrounding area.
Simon Sir-Elliot Cherry of Indian Land High School, Roman Phillips of Fort Mill High School and Heather Greenwald of Indian Land High School were among 45 South Carolina student-delegates that toured the State House, met Gov. Henry McMaster and learned about their government and their cooperatives. Cooperative Youth Summit students also heard from two state legislators—Rep. Micah Caskey and Rep. Russell Ott.
“That really opened my eyes,” says Sir- Elliott Cherry. “We can have a big impact on our future by the choices we make. We have the best form of government in the history of mankind, and we have to protect it.”
The student-delegates also participated in a mock healthcare legislation exercise. With three different proposals, each side tried to sway votes toward a two-thirds majority vote to pass the faux legislation. Cooperative Youth Summit students also teamed up to produce their own podcasts, interviewing legislators and leaders in their community on what makes South Carolina a great place to live and ways it can improve.
The students traveled to Newberry Electric Cooperative, a visit highlighted by a lift high in the air in one of the NEC’s bucket trucks, which are typically used in maintenance and restoration work on utility poles. They also saw the cooperative’s community solar farm and learned about how the cooperative has made high-speed broadband available to its entire membership.
Student-delegates also participated in the Soda Pop Co-op, which sold snacks and beverages. Some students served as the cooperative’s board members. Others were a part of the management team. All students received cash back as their share of the end of the trip margins. The exercise allowed the students to learn first-hand how the not-for-profit co-op business model works.
Check our unclaimed capital credits list
Each year, York Electric attempts to contact members who have relocated and are no longer served by the cooperative to return capital credits. Do you think you might be on the list?
Even after you move, your membership carries value.
If you know any friends or family members who might be included on the list, or you think YEC might owe you money, please search for their names or your name online. After all, the money is yours and we want to get it to you! If you see your name, please contact our member services team at (803) 684-4248 so that we can process your account.
What are capital credits?
The York Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees elects to return a portion of our margins to our members each year. Margins are defined as the money left after covering all operating costs. Returning this money to members is a process called capital credit retirement. Not only does this show the value of your membership, but it also reflects the financial health of your cooperative.
Each year has a total patronage capital we must return to members over time. This is the money you invest in your cooperative when you pay your energy charges each month. Your board of trustees elects how much of these margins we reinvest into our system to continue providing affordable, reliable energy, and how much we return to members through capital credits. As a not-for profit business, we are required to operate on an at-cost basis. Returning these funds to our members allows us to remain in compliance with our bylaws as a cooperative organization.
Looking to make a difference in your community and for your local electric cooperative? Then join VCP!
VCP is a network of electric co-op members working together to influence public policy decisions that impact our co-ops and our way of life.
Scan the code to learn more and join.
Or learn more online:
YEC has two programs you can join that will help you learn more about high energy demand times and how you can actively conserve or offset your energy use at times like we described last month. Scan the codes below to learn more, sign up and be a part of the co-op team.
Beat The Peak
YEC members can sign up for alerts by phone, text or email when your co-op predicts a period of high energy demand. All you have to do is consider shifting energy use to a time when less people are consuming electricity. Putting off laundry and going out to eat never sounded better!
Scan the code to sign up and learn more about ways you can save during periods of peak energy demand.
Purchase a smart thermostat from YEC or bring your own device to register and receive the benefits of up to 23% in energy savings!
Enjoy the convenience and control of adjusting your home’s temperature from anywhere, anytime by participating in our smart thermostat program. Schedule the thermostat to change automatically to accommodate your daily schedule. Your co-op may also adjust the thermostat up to 4 degrees during peak periods to help hold down power costs for all members. However, you retain control of the temperature. Plus, we’ll give you a bill credit for participating!
Scan the code to learn more.
Growing young minds is something York Electric takes great pride in. By providing educational materials and hosting art contests for students of all ages, to awarding over $12,000 in scholarships to local seniors each year to nominating student delegates to attend free trips to both our state and nation’s capitals, YEC is committed to enriching and supporting the lives of our future leaders.
One student that we have had the great opportunity to empower through education and to watch his success unfold is Jordan Brown of Fort Mill. In the summer of 2022, YEC sent Brown, along with two other local high school juniors, on an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. where he had the opportunity to tour monuments, memorials, museums and the U.S. Capitol.
The most impactful part of Brown’s Washington Youth Tour experience, though, was the chance to speak with U.S. Senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, as well as his congressman, U.S. Representative Ralph Norman. Brown recalls, “I thoroughly enjoyed being able to ask my legislators questions and see that they were real people just like me. It made me want to become more politically active.”
Brown used his experience to become more politically involved, indeed. After turning 18 this year and gaining the ability to vote, Brown rallied some of his fellow classmates to host a voter registration drive at his high school. As a result, Brown was able to register over 54 students to vote and to plant the seed of political involvement.
“This drive was a great way for me to share the importance of using your voice to enact change,” Brown says. “I look forward to doing more like this in the future.”
York Electric certainly looks forward to watching Brown do just that and is excited to see where his successes take him.
This phrase is defined as, “The use of electricity to power things that would otherwise be run by fossil fuels, like natural gas, diesel, propane, fuel oil or gasoline, where doing so reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves consumers money.” More simply put, it means switching the fuel that powers something you use every day to meet one of the following conditions, without adversely affecting the others:
1) Saves you money over time.
2) Benefits the environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
3) Improves product quality or your quality of life.
4) Foster a more robust, resilient or reliable power grid.
Your co-op is here to support you and how you choose to power your life. Whether you prefer gas-powered lawn tools or a new battery pack, we’re here to look out for you.
Not only is education one of the seven cooperative principles, but it is one of the primary ways your co-op supports and invests in our community. Growing young minds, supporting teachers and creating a space that sparks innovation are all renewable, sustainable ways we engage with our members.
These ideals are exemplified through the programs and opportunities you will find highlighted throughout our local pages of this month’s issue of South Carolina Living. To name a few, we are excited to share the winners of our Touchstone Energy Scholarships and Learning through Art contests and to announce the opening of our Bright Ideas Grant program for this year.
Education is also the cornerstone of what we do each day at your co-op. As the electric industry continues to evolve with changing demands, challenges and technologies, it is important that our employees are learning, too. For example, we just added two electric vehicles to our fleet. Owning and operating an electric vehicle will help us provide firsthand knowledge to members who are interested in this technology. Look for more information in the coming months about our experience. As a reminder, our ChooseEV tool will provide you with the facts if you are in the market.
Lastly, our commitment to education comes full circle as we own the responsibility of teaching our members about their co-op, safety and the energy they use to power their lives. Being a trusted source of power and information isn’t something we take lightly. Instead, we aim to provide resources and facts to our members so that you are informed, can make the best decisions for you and your family and know where your co-op stands on important issues.
In fact, one important issue that York Electric Cooperative is facing is the need for new power generation. We share this concern with the other 19 South Carolina electric cooperatives and other utilities across the Southeast. On page 12D, you will find the first of three consecutive articles explaining this concern. Next month, we will discuss what we are doing about this issue. The following month will discuss how we are planning to move forward.
We’re always looking out for you and embracing the fact that knowledge and transparency are the keys to power for our members.
President and Chief Executive Officer
The lights went out for many South Carolinians and other consumers across the Southeast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 2022. As many families prepared for their holiday traditions, leaders in the electric industry were working diligently to address the likelihood of implementing planned power outages, known as rolling blackouts, as our power grid was pushed to the brink. Let’s talk about why this happened.
This incident was caused by a combination of extreme, low temperatures and a growing power supply crisis. This meant, for some, there wasn’t enough electric supply to go around.
The increasing concern and reality of generation shortfalls to support the reliability we have promised and provided our members is on the minds of your co-op’s leadership, the cooperative leadership throughout our state and cooperative leadership throughout our country. Environmental regulations regarding fossil fuel generation are creating new roadblocks and challenges as the utility industry works to plan for future electricity needs and mitigate future emergencies like we saw last Christmas.
York Electric Cooperative’s members did not experience rolling blackouts, but millions of others were not as fortunate. Our leadership team closely monitored the situation and prepared for the worst—to communicate the need for service interruption during Christmas. This conversation started before this incident and didn’t stop after we got through the near miss.
Rest assured that our generation and transmission cooperative, Central Electric Power Cooperative (CEPCI), is working to coordinate the best solution for reliable, low-cost power for members by aggregating the best prices and solutions for a diversified portfolio of power generation.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a not-for-profit international regulatory authority that focuses on effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the power grid, reports in their 2022-2023 Winter Reliability Assessment that our area has a narrow margin of reserve electric generation supply in the event of a significant winter weather event. This could result in acquiring non-firm assets, or excess generation that may or may not be available, to make up for the lack of electric supply in the market.
Additionally, NERC reports of supply shortages in two thirds of North America if temperatures spike this summer. Although our area is at a lower risk for supply shortages, these assessments, coupled with our scare this past Christmas, show we must find a solution for the growing need for more electric generation and supply.
In response to these reports, Jim Matheson, president and chief executive officer for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), summarizes and supports the necessity for action—“America’s ability to keep the lights on has been jeopardized.”
York Electric Cooperative is a distribution cooperative, supplying power to over 68,000 homes and businesses within our service territories of York, Chester, Cherokee and Lancaster counties. Although we don’t generate power, we are connected and reliant on other utilities to provide power to us so that we can distribute it to our members.
Speaking of our members, you have the power and the ability to help reduce the demand for electricity. Look for more details next month about what we are doing and what you can do to address these concerns.
We’re in this together—here at home, throughout our state and as a country—as we work to find solutions to the growing need for electricity to power our lives.
Your cooperative knows the importance of planning ahead. That’s why we perform vegetation maintenance across our service territory all year long. Trimming our right-of-way helps prevent service interruptions, ensures we can safely do our jobs and allows us to provide the best possible service for our members. This year, we plan to trim over 342 miles of line. Here’s where we are working next:
- Hickory Grove—Hwy. 97, Hopewell Rd. and Irene Bridge Hwy. areas
- Blairsville—Hwy. 321, Turkey Creek Ridge Rd. and Old Pinkney Rd. areas
- Aycock School—Brattonsville Rd. and McConnells Hwy. areas
Applications now open for YEC’s Bright Ideas Grant for local teachers
For the fifth year, York Electric Cooperative and Operation Round Up Trust will fund grants for local teachers. Applicants can win up to $1,000 to help pay for innovative learning methods and materials to support students in their classrooms. Partial funding will also be available for grants so that we can make a larger impact on the young minds and hearts that will be shaping the future of our community.
Additionally, we’d like to invite you— our members—to get involved! For the first time, we will also be filling the Amazon wishlists for local teachers. Nominate someone who has been impactful to you, your student or your family and tell us why they deserve some extra love to fill their needs and classroom supplies. Perhaps they teach at a low-income school, were asked to switch grade levels or are just starting out as a new teacher. Either way, your co-op needs your help to locate those who are remarkable and who need our help.
Both applications for our Bright Ideas Grant and our Wishlist Nominations are due by Wednesday, Sept. 13. Learn more and apply online.