Whether you’re a new member or a longtime member, SECOEnergy.com offers interactive tools for a variety of needs from reliability/expansion project maps to energy-efficiency and solar calculators to the bill payment assistance map and more.
I’m proud to announce the launch of our newest interactive tool that displays when SECO crews and/or contractors are working in your area to improve existing electric facilities and to build new infrastructure to support growth in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors of our service territory. The System Improvement Map displays both Reliability Projects and Expansion Projects built on a platform that allows members to enter their service address and view events occurring in their area that improve reliability and expand the growing electric system. The map also provides a broad view of planned work underway across SECO Energy’s service territory. You’ll find these brand new tools at SECOEnergy.com > Contact Us > System Improvement Map.
RELIABILITY PROJECTS MAP
The first tab on the map is Reliability Projects which includes vegetation management assessments and trimming, facilities inspections, pole replacements, voltage conversions, substation maintenance, area light and underground equipment maintenance and many more projects that improve the quality of electric service. Each reliability project type is represented by an icon. Click on the icon for an explanation of the work, status and project duration dates. The “Additional Info” hyperlink provides more details including possible associated planned outages for crews to work safely.
But it’s more than just an online, interactive map. It is complemented by a communications system that generates emails, text and/or voice notifications to members proactively letting them know about the work scheduled to occur in their vicinity.
The Reliability Map is searchable by clicking the icons to display greater detail about a particular project. Or input your service address in the search bar in the top left corner of the map. Click on your address when it appears and the map zooms to your location. Zoom out using the minus button on the map to view project work boundaries in or near your service address.
EXPANSION PROJECTS MAP
At yearend 2021, SECO’s investment in electric facilities topped $1 billion. Currently, we are investing more than $6 million per month to maintain our current facilities and build new infrastructure to support growth. The Expansion Projects tab on the map displays where these dollars are spent on building new infrastructure. Work types include new substations, new towers for radio communications, substation upgrades and tower/radio upgrades.
You will notice on the Expansion Projects map that five SECO substations are currently undergoing significant upgrades: Astatula (Lake County), Dallas (Sumter/Marion Counties), Gospel Island (Citrus County), Lake Ella (Sumter/Lake County) and Timberwood (Marion County). You can search using your address on this map also or filter by county.
If you have questions about Reliability or Expansion Projects, click the FAQ tab or use the Contact Us tab to drop us a line. We typically respond within two business days. You can also reach out to us using the links to SECO’s Facebook and Twitter platforms. Follow us on social media for cooperative events, promotions, prize drawings and news releases.
SERVICE TERRITORY MAP
As a returning Florida resident, I’ve been shopping for a home in SECO’s service area. Another online, interactive SECO tool that has been a tremendous help to me personally is our Service Territory Map. It helped me determine if a home I was interested in was within the service territory. I’ve even shared the link with my realtor. If you’re relocating and want to live in our service area, visit our Service Territory Map to verify SECO serves the property you’re considering.
FIND BILL PAYMENT ASSISTANCE
Members who need a little help paying their bill will quickly find local social service agencies that have funding specifically allocated for SECO members. Visit SECOEnergy.com > Contact Us > Find Bill Payment Help to locate the map and resources. You’ll find local agencies across the counties we serve that receive funds from our Pennies from Heaven charitable program, along with funding from other resources such as LIHEAP, EHEAP and more. You can search for an agency by county, service address or scroll through the list on the left-hand side of the map. Agency phone numbers, locations and website addresses are listed for easy access to bill payment assistance contacts.
We’re proud of our beginning as a small rural electric cooperative. Over the last 84 years, SECO Energy has become one of the largest and fastest-growing cooperatives in the nation. We’re also an innovative not-for-profit cooperative that is preparing for a challenging future. I hope you give our new interactive tools a try. Read next month’s SECO News to learn more about online energy efficiency tools like the Home Energy Assessment and the Energy Estimator.
Exciting things are happening at SECO Energy, and it is our privilege to provide reliable, affordable, and innovative energy services to our members and communities.
CEO Curtis Wynn
Contractors TRC, Charter and Lumens/CenturyLink Completing Broadband Projects in SECO’s Service Area
You will likely see three new broadband contractors out and about in your neighborhoods. This is not a SECO Energy project. The three contractors TRC, Charter and Lumens/CenturyLink are using SECO’s existing utility poles to attach broadband communication lines to expand broadband in Central Florida. We collect a rental fee from them and other utilities for attaching to our utility poles.
This work is funded by the $20 billion Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) intended to spread and increase broadband speeds to underserved areas. This massive broadband project will be ongoing for three years.
TRC is working in conjunction with SECO to obtain and process permits for the pole attachments so that Charter and Lumens/CenturyLink can begin the work of adding broadband fiber and cable.
All contractor vehicles display a SECO Authorized Contractor logo and carry company identification. We have a list of authorized SECO contractors online at SECOEnergy.com >Your Co-op > Contractors. If you have questions about RDOF, visit www.RDOF.com.
Power Cost Adjustment
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (eia.gov) Henry Hub Natural Gas Spot tracker, the price for natural gas has risen from $2.71/MM per BTU in January 2021 to $4.38/MM per BTU in January 2022. This is an almost 62% increase. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the price for natural gas will reduce anytime soon.
The natural gas price peak was $5.51/MM BTU in October 2021 and SECO Energy held its Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) factor stable. With the current volatility of the natural gas market, it is time to make a change. The EIA estimates that the wholesale spot price of natural gas in 2022 will reach an eight-year high. Market unpredictability will affect the cost of power we purchase from our wholesale power producer, Seminole Electric Cooperative and ultimately will reflect on member bills.
As of April 1, 2022, the PCA credit will decrease raising the cost for 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) to $128.05. This is a total increase of 5.8%. We will keep you informed of future pricing changes.
Thank a Lineman License Plate
Members can show their support for the thousands of Florida lineworkers and utility personnel who restore power to millions of Floridians after devastating natural disasters by ordering a “Thank a Lineman” license plate. The 2020 Florida Legislature approved the plate after Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1135 into law.
This cause is local and benefits a key SECO Energy employee recruitment partner. For every “Thank a Lineman” plate sold, $25 goes to Lake-Sumter State College (LSSC) to support their Electric Utility programs. According to LSSC’s website (www.lssc.edu), the college is ranked in the top 150 Community Colleges nationally. Their student job placement or continuing education rate is 97%. The scholarship boost is an exciting opportunity for LSSC, utility personnel across the state and cooperative members.
Reserve your plate today by purchasing a pre-sale voucher. Purchase avenues vary from county to county. Contact your local county tax collector’s office for guidance or visit myfloridaspecialtyplate.com/lineman-order.html, where you can pay for the pre-sale voucher and process your order online. Learn more at www.thankalineworker.com.
The actual “Thank a Lineman” license plates will be available once the pre-sale threshold is met.
Read the full April 2022 SECO News online.