190 Electric Co-ops Among Qualified Bidders
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released the list of qualifying bidders and a map of available territories for the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction. This $16 billion auction opens up the opportunity to extend broadband to these rural areas of electric and telephone cooperatives, consortiums, and other local community-based entities. The auction is expected to lead to the expansion of high-speed internet service to more than 5 million unserved homes and businesses across the country, including more than 250,000 locations in Michigan. Only Texas and California have more locations available in the auction.
Six Michigan cooperatives participated in the auction including Cloverland, Great Lakes Energy (Truestream), HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op and Thumb Electric Cooperative. Nationwide, 190 electric cooperatives are among the 396 qualified bidders, although most electric co-ops are bidding as part of a consortium.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction “our biggest and boldest step yet” to bring broadband to unserved rural areas.
Winning bidders will receive funds over a 10-year period to deploy broadband to the unserved census blocks. The auction requires providers to deliver minimum speeds of 25 megabits per second for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. It will use a weighted tier system and rules advocated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to determine who is awarded each area.
Once the auction concludes, the commission will release the auction results, including identifying which bidders won support and which areas were awarded. Areas awarded other government broadband grants, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service ReConnect awards, are not eligible to receive funding in this auction.
For the map of available areas, click here.
For the list of qualified bidders, click here.
For more on state-by-state eligibility, click here.
Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association has completed the Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program (RESAP) sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Electric Association (NRECA) in Alexandria, Virginia.
RESAP is a national safety program in partnership with utility safety leaders and utilizes a framework for continuous improvement to improve safety performance and culture. The program is designed to recognize electric cooperatives for above-average safety performance.
Alger Delta submitted to a two-part process that took place over several months. One part consisted of an on-site evaluation by a team of trained and certified safety professionals from other utilities and the insurance industry. The observation team spent two days examining and evaluating Alger Delta’s facilities, vehicles and equipment, safety and security procedures, operational procedures, and interviewing employees regarding their knowledge and understanding of safety-related work practices.
Another part of the process involves submitting an application that examines and evaluates the documentation of our safety-related work practices, reporting procedures, safety and health policies, accident investigations, corrective measures, training, and other safety-related functions. The application portion evaluates the cooperatives’ documentation and records maintained over the past three years.
“The safety achievement program is notable because it requires teamwork from the board room to the custodian’s closet,” said Tom Harrell, Alger Delta’s CEO. “This program reviews our processes and procedures, but also the culture of safety we’re trying to foster. In this business, whether working on high voltage lines or stacking material in the warehouse, working safely must be a part of what we do, every day, all day,” Harrell added.
Harrell praised the total team effort and all the staff at Alger Delta for doing their part toward supporting the achievement process and evaluation; including Operations Manager Troy Tiernan and Technical Services Manager Shannon Priebe.
According to the NRECA, there are 547 electric cooperatives that have been recognized by the safety achievement program. Alger Delta is one of seven electric cooperatives in Michigan to complete the safety achievement program.
Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association in Gladstone, MI is seeking a Journey Lineworker. Alger Delta is a non-profit, member-owned electric utility serving about 10,000 consumers in the central Upper Peninsula. We are an employer of choice offering competitive compensation and benefits, good vehicles and equipment and up-to-date technology for a modern and mobile work force. Our culture is focused on leadership, safety, service to our members and commitment to the people and communities we serve.
Lineworkers are responsible for maintenance, operations, outage response, new services and related activities on the cooperative’s distribution system and all must be done safely and efficiently. This position involves climbing poles, working from an aerial lift, operating a digger derrick, driving considerable distances, exposure to all kinds of weather including sometimes extreme weather conditions, and working at any time of the day or night.
To qualify, you must document that you have successfully completed a Department of Labor approved apprenticeship training program; have a good work history; hold a Class A CDL and medical card, and have a clean driving record. If hired, you must live within 10 miles or 30 minutes of the cooperative headquarters, be on call on a regular basis and respond to system outages after normal work hours. Also, you must be proficient with a computer / iPad; must be a good decision maker of the highest integrity; and be dependable, patient and have very good interpersonal / customer relations skills.
To be considered, send a resume and cover letter to Alger Delta. By email: firstname.lastname@example.org – write “Lineworker App” in the Subject line. By mail: Lineworker App c/o Alger Delta – 426 N. 9th St. – Gladstone, MI 49837.
Energy Optimization Program Participants Selected as Finalists for Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards
Lansing, Mich. (June 28, 2017) – Four Michigan businesses that completed large-scale energy efficiency improvements with the help of the Energy Optimization program are finalists for the coveted 2017 Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards.
The four finalists include: Ewen-Trout Creek School District (Ewen), Friske Orchards (Charlevoix), Don Earl Heating & A/C (Sault Ste. Marie), and Sklarczyk Seed Farm (Johannesburg).
Now in its third year, the Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards honors Michigan organizations and individuals for outstanding achievement in reducing energy waste. Nominations were spread across eight different categories to showcase exceptional commitment to responsible energy production and consumption across a variety of project types.
Ewen-Trout Creek School District
Constructed 20 years ago, the outdated K-12 Ewen-Trout Creek School building boasted unreliable heating and cooling equipment, a leaky and poorly-insulated roof, and an array of other failing systems—all of which began to negatively impact the student learning experience. In 2016, the District worked with the Energy Optimization program to install new, energy-efficient boilers, water heaters, and fan coil units; an entirely new roof; and energy-saving indoor and outdoor LED fixtures. The upgrades are projected to save the district more than $27,000 per year in utility costs. The Ewen-Trout Creek School District, served by Ontonagon County REA, was named a finalist in the “Best Project—Public” category.
Friske Orchards, a family farm founded in 1962 in Charlevoix, grows a variety of fruits and vegetables—but is particularly known for the fresh apple cider they produce throughout the winter months. Friske Orchards invested in the construction of a highly-efficient and low-maintenance labor housing building in 2016, which features a sizeable solar photovoltaic system which generates renewable energy for the housing unit. A combination of mini-split air-source heat pumps, LED fixtures, ENERGY STAR® appliances, and more in the new labor housing unit is expected to save the Friskes nearly $4,000 per year in electricity costs. Friske Orchards, served by Great Lake Energy Cooperative, was named a finalist in the “Best Project—Agriculture” category.
Don Earl Heating & A/C
Don Earl Heating & A/C of Sault St. Marie, which operates in the Cloverland Electric Cooperative service territory, earned a finalist nomination in the “Contractor of the Year” category. Don Earl Heating & A/C contributes valuable savings to Cloverland members in the eastern Upper Peninsula by installing high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment. The business is committed to increasing awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency, and was the Energy Optimization program’s second-largest submitter of electric energy savings in 2016. Additionally, Don Earl Heating & A/C helped its customers save a combined $14,737 on their utility bills last year.
Sklarczyk Seed Farm
Sklarczyk Seed Farm, a family farm in Johannesburg, is a national leader in the seed potato industry. Manager Don Sklarczyk has invested heavily in making farm operations as energy efficient as possible. In 2016, Mr. Sklarczyk installed 90 LED grow lights, resulting in annual electricity savings of $21,000. The installation of the LEDs allowed the farm to meet growing demand without the need for costly new facilities. In 2016, Sklarczyk Seed Farm harvested over six million high-quality, disease-free seed potatoes. Sklarczyk Seed Farm, served by Great Lakes Energy Cooperative, was named a finalist in the “Best Project – Agriculture” category.
“We are incredibly proud of the energy-saving projects completed by these four participating businesses and institutions,” said Art Thayer, Director of Energy Efficiency Programs for the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA). “The Energy Optimization program exists to improve Michigan homes, farms, and businesses by providing cash incentives toward the purchase of energy-efficient products and equipment. We’re happy to see these businesses reap the rewards of these smart investments now and into the future.”
For more information about the Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards, visit mienergyexcellence.org.