SECO Energy is an advocate for members who choose to reduce their utility-supplied power by purchasing their own systems. In fact, as of mid-January, 1,050 SECO members have interconnected with SECO’s facilities by installing a member-owned solar array.
SECO members considering a solar investment are often frustrated by the confusion about return on investment, less-than-reputable contractors and dishonest business practices. To help inform and protect our members, SECO has completed an enhancement and redesign of the Solar Power section of our website. Valuable information from a trusted source is now just a click away.
Our new online tools like the Solar Estimator can help you determine the reduction in utility-supplied power for a specific system size/orientation. The 10-step process and timeline to interconnect with SECO’s system is outlined. We provide answers to frequently asked questions, an explanation of net metering, a sample bill and other resources. We’ve published a comprehensive checklist and list of resources for vetting and selecting a contractor.
When visiting the website, carefully read through “Selecting Your System.” This section explains how to determine system size and the math behind member generation. You’ll find advantages and disadvantages of different panel and inverter types keep reading to find insurance requirements (Florida Administrative Code requires insurance for systems over 10kW).
Most important, the interconnection process and agreement is enhanced with an online application. Members and contractors will now establish login credentials and register to begin the process online. Contractors can register and help manage the interconnection process and agreement on behalf of their client.
At every step of the process toward interconnection with SECO’s facilities, members and contractors will be notified via email to provide updates. We’re leaping into 21st Century technology by incorporating electronic signatures and communications into our new system.
But wait! Before you take another step toward solar, contact SECO for a free solar audit. Our Energy Services Specialists will visit your home and use the Solar Pathfinder to determine the amount of sun your home receives. Our expert will assess your roof, note home orientation and measure obstructions that may block solar power production.
Before signing a contract with an installer, do your homework. Let SECO help you research any potential return on investment. The calculation must include the system investment, maintenance and the cost of utility-supplied power used at night, chilly early mornings or cloudy days.
Attend SECO’s 81st Annual Meeting of the Membership on Saturday, March 23 for a live demonstration at our Solar Square. Gates open at 8 a.m. – join us for breakfast, snacks, live entertainment, gifts, the potential to win door prizes and top-notch hospitality of our local employees.
Meet SECO Champion Tony Shaw – an example of our 400+ SECO Champion employees. Tony is dedicated to providing exceptional service to members, co-workers and communities.
TONY SHAW – ENERGY SERVICES SPECIALIST
LENGTH OF SERVICE – 19 YEARS
“I make a difference.”
SECO Champion Tony Shaw is an Energy Services Specialist who is a subject matter expert on member-owned solar systems and energy-efficiency measures. As a Citrus County resident, he is often the SECO contact stationed in the Citrus County Emergency Operations Center during emergencies such as Hurricanes Irma and Matthew. Tony’s family has called Central Florida home for generations. He and his family enjoy fishing and golf, and he loves to spend time with his young grandson. Tony is proud that he helps members save money and reduce energy usage by conducting energy and solar audits. Tony is often out and about in the community offering energy-efficiency tips, providing money-saving ideas and sharing his knowledge of solar generation. Tony states, “People really trust and believe in SECO Energy as a company.”
FLORIDA SPECIAL NEEDS REGISTRY
The Florida Division of Emergency Management has developed the Florida Special Needs Registry to allow residents with special needs to register with their local emergency management agency to receive assistance during a disaster. The statewide registry provides first responders with valuable information to prepare for disasters or other emergencies. The Special Needs Registry may help save your life. Visit the Florida Disaster website to locate your county and register.
SECO IS TOPS!
Thank you, SECO Members, for rating your not-for-profit electric cooperative top in customer satisfaction. SECO received an outstanding ACSI score of 89 in 2018! When comparing SECO to average ACSI scores in the energy industry – SECO is a clear Florida and national frontrunner. Nationally, cooperative utilities averaged 77 in 2018. Scores for municipal and investor-owned utilities both averaged slightly lower at 75.
MOVE OVER FOR SAFETY
Did you know that Florida law requires drivers to Move Over a lane – safely – for law enforcement, emergency, sanitation, utility vehicles, tow trucks and wreckers that are stopped on the roadside? Heed the law or pay a hefty fine – $100 to $500 (dependent on the county where cited) – and three points on your driving record.
If you can’t safely move over a lane – Slow Down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit.
In 2017, over 17,000 Move Over citations were issued in Florida– this includes 1,756 logged in SECO’s service area. There were 212 Move Over crashes in the state and 16 Move Over crashes in our area.
The fine will lighten your wallet and the points will damage your driving record. But the law is designed to protect defenseless roadside workers including SECO‘s line technicians. Let’s all Move Over and allow these folks to return home safely to their loved ones after a hard day’s work.
RIGHT TREE – RIGHT PLACE
Spring is just around the corner and many of us are looking forward to planting a new landscape. For energy efficiency and safety, plant the right tree in the right place and always call 811 Sunshine One-call (it’s free!) before you dig. 811 will arrange for the free service of locating and marking underground utilities.
Did you know the right landscape plan can greatly reduce your annual energy costs? Deciduous trees planted to the south, southwest or west side of buildings can provide shade that helps reduce cooling costs. Evergreen trees planted on the north and west sides help to block winter winds and reduce heating costs.
When planning, consider the tree’s height when fully grown. Trees growing too close to lines are a safety hazard to SECO field employees and the public. Trees touching lines can cause sparks, fires, power outages and shock hazards. Never plant tall oak, pine, sycamore or palm trees near power lines.
Planning the right landscape today can avoid problems in the future, especially where power lines are concerned.
Read the full February 2019 SECO News online.