All posts by Barbara Jenkins

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative (AVECC) Suspending Service Disconnections until June 12 in Response to COVID-19

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative (AVECC) will be continuing to suspend service disconnections for residential and business customers until June 12, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

AVECC’s efforts to encourage social distancing will continue until further notice by closing office lobbies. On-site payments will be taken via drive-thru options at the Ozark, Waldron, and Van Buren locations. The dropbox option will be available at the Pocola location. These services will continue to be available during regular business hours from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday-Friday. Customers may also pay online.

AVECC leaders are continuing to monitor the unprecedented public health emergency closely. They will continue to evaluate AVECC’s response to the rapidly evolving situation weekly.

Ben Shaffer, COO, stated, “Business continuity plans developed by electric cooperatives are designed to maintain the health and safety of the people working for them and to ensure that business-critical operations continue without interruption. These measures help ensure that your electric co-op continues to provide reliable electricity during a business continuity event. Our number one priority is to serve our membership and keep our employees safe. We will continue to keep the lights on in our communities.”

Planning for a health emergency, such as a pandemic, is unique from other business continuity planning. It requires businesses to prepare to operate with a significantly smaller workforce, a threatened supply chain, and limited support services for an extended period.

Al Simpson, CEO, stated, “AVECC is continuing to be prepared in the event there is a significant impact from the coronavirus in our communities. We are focused on maintaining a healthy workforce and keeping key personnel such as line workers and member service representatives available so we can continue to provide excellent service.”

In addition, AVECC encourages customers to be on the lookout for suspicious emails, phone calls, or persons impersonating business employees or charitable organizations. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of opportunities such as this when households are otherwise preoccupied. If you get a call from someone claiming to represent AVECC, and they make threats or demand immediate payment, hang up and immediately call AVECC at 479-667-2176.

AVECC encourages customers to contact customer service departments with any questions or concerns and can assist customers with any necessary payment arrangements.

 

 

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative (AVECC) Suspending Service Disconnections until June 1 in Response to COVID-19

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative (AVECC) will be continuing to suspend service disconnections for residential and business customers until June 1, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

 

AVECC’s efforts to encourage social distancing will continue until further notice by closing office lobbies. On-site payments will be taken via drive-thru options at the Ozark, Waldron, and Van Buren locations. The drop box option will be available at the Pocola location. These services will continue to be available during regular business hours from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday-Friday. Customers may also pay online.

 

AVECC leaders are continuing to monitor the unprecedented public health emergency closely. They will continue to evaluate AVECC’s response to the rapidly evolving situation weekly.

 

Ben Shaffer, COO, stated, “Business continuity plans developed by electric cooperatives are designed to maintain the health and safety of the people working for them and to ensure that business-critical operations continue without interruption. These measures help ensure that your electric co-op continues to provide reliable electricity during a business continuity event. Our number one priority is to serve our membership and keep our employees safe. We will continue to keep the lights on in our communities.”

 

Planning for a health emergency, such as a pandemic, is unique from other business continuity planning. It requires businesses to prepare to operate with a significantly smaller workforce, a threatened supply chain, and limited support services for an extended period.

 

Al Simpson, CEO, stated, “AVECC is continuing to be prepared in the event there is a significant impact from the coronavirus in our communities. We are focused on maintaining a healthy workforce and keeping key personnel such as line workers and member service representatives available so we can continue to provide excellent service.”

 

In addition, AVECC encourages customers to be on the lookout for suspicious emails, phone calls, or persons impersonating business employees or charitable organizations. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of opportunities such as this when households are otherwise preoccupied. If you get a call from someone claiming to represent AVECC, and they make threats or demand immediate payment, hang up and immediately call AVECC at 479-667-2176.

 

AVECC encourages customers to contact customer service departments with any questions or concerns and can assist customers with any necessary payment arrangements.

 

Lumens, not Watts

One hundred years ago, our soldiers were shipped “over there” during World War I. Back home in Arkansas, “country folks” who lived outside the larger cities managed life and work without electricity. Many would wait another 20 years, until after the end of World War II, to enjoy the marvel of electric power. At sunset, wax candles and oil lanterns extended the day by emitting low levels of light. Each candle or lantern wick would emit 13 to 37 lumens per fixture. That’s not much light by today’s standards.

Speaking of standards, when it comes to lighting our homes, many of us are accustomed to thinking about wattage, which is the unit measurement for power. We’ve had this mindset since Thomas Edison created the first practical incandescent lightbulb. Until recently, most homes included 60-, 75- and 100-watt bulbs. When we wanted more light in an area, we installed a higher-wattage bulb. But, higher-wattage bulbs use more power, emit more heat and chalk up more kilowatt-hours.

Lighting as we know it is transforming. Incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are phasing out, while energy-efficient light emitting diode (LED) bulbs are becoming the new norm. LED retail prices have dropped significantly, and supplies are abundant. Most large retail and big box stores have huge displays of various LEDs, including general purpose, recessed, floods and even candelabras for ceiling fans.

What makes the LED a bright idea is that is has a high-lumen output while consuming 85 percent less power. For instance, a general purpose incandescent bulb consumes approximately 100 watts of power while emitting 1,600 lumens of light. An energy-efficient LED counterpart consumes 15 watts of power while emitting the same 1,600 lumens of light. Simply put, a lumen is the measure for light’s brightness. The higher the lumen output, the brighter the bulb.

You may have noticed [different] labeling on lightbulb packaging [than years past]. This is because the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), under direction from Congress, has issued standards to move America away from focusing on wattage when shopping for lightbulbs. For instance, the front of a lightbulb package must include the brightness, or lumens, and the estimated energy cost per year of the bulb. The back of the package must include the brightness, annual energy cost, life expectancy, light appearance, and, lastly, the wattage.

Light appearance, also called “color temperature,” is measured by the Kelvin (K) scale. If you enjoy a cozy, warmer light, shop for LEDs that range between 2,700 and 3,100 K. The whiter, vibrant light colors range between 3,200 and 4,500 K. Daylight and invigorating colors range between 4,600 and 6,500 K.

The wattage was once the determining factor for bulb selection. Today, we look to the brightness, or lumens, of the bulb. Think of it this way: we fuel up our cars with gallons of gasoline, enjoy electricity by the kilowatt, purchase apples by the pound, and replace bulbs by the lumens.

Originally published in Arkansas Living in May 2017 by Bret Curry.

Food Faves “Carley’s Fluff Cookies”

This week’s recipe is by AVECC GIS Analyst and UAV Coordinator, Seth Sikes of Greenwood.

“My wife Carley makes the strawberry fluff and lemon fluff cookies for every special occasion. They are definitely a family favorite any time of the year.” -Seth Sikes

Strawberry Fluff Cookies

  • 1 stick of butter (8 Tbl.)
  • 8 0z cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbl. Of Strawberry jam/preserves
  • 1 box Strawberry cake mix (15.25 oz)
  • 1 bag of premium white chocolate chips
  • ½-1 cup of powdered sugar

Lemon Fluff Cookies

  • 1 stick of butter (8 Tbl.)
  • 8 0z cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbl. Of Lemon extract
  • 1 box Lemon cake mix (15.25 oz)
  • 1 bag of premium white chocolate chips
  • ½-1 cup of powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Cream together room temp. butter and cream cheese
  • Add one egg, vanilla, and extract/jam
  • Mix in dry cake mix
  • Stir in white chocolate chips
  • Put in refrigerator for 2-3 hours or freezer for 1 hour
  • Heat oven to 350*
  • Create large rounds of cookie dough (a litter bigger than a golf ball)
  • Roll in powdered sugar
  • Bake for 20-25 mins. Depending on the size of cookie
  • Let cool

AVECC Frequently Asked Questions: Annual Herbicide Treatment

It’s that time of year again when AVECC is treating right-of-ways with herbicide treatment. Here is a list of the most commonly asked questions about our herbicide treatment!

       1. Where will the herbicide treatment happen this year?   

A. This year, Scott and Sebastian counties will be treated.

        2. How often does the herbicide treatment happen?

A. Our system is broken down into four areas. We spray one area each year.

       3. Who will be supervising this year’s herbicide treatment?

A. The treatment will be in the Waldron and Pocola districts. All treatment will be under the direction of AVECC’s right-of-way (ROW) department.

      4. Will there be big machinery involved with the herbicide treatment?

A. All spraying is completed using low volume backpack sprayers. No mechanical equipment will be used.

      5. Who does the treatment?

A. AVECC uses licensed contractors that follow all EPA and Arkansas regulations. AVECC also keeps one employee with the contract crews at all times.

     6. Why does AVECC apply an herbicide treatment to ROW?

A. AVECC uses this to control the underbrush in our ROWs to protect powerlines, which cuts down on the likelihood of outages.

    7. Will the herbicide treatment kill trees and flowers too?

A. We target only woody brush, no fruit trees, flowers, etc.

    8. How is the environment affected by the herbicide treatment?

A. Herbicides can enhance native plant communities by removing undesirable species and increasing native species. AVECC’s herbicide treatments also help create a good environment for the Monarch butterflies.

 9. What if we don’t want our property sprayed?

A. We have a list of “No Spray” requests. The properties that are marked No Spray” will be skipped over.

10. I don’t want my property sprayed but haven’t requested a “No Spray.” What do I do?

A. You may call AVECC and request a “No Spray” area for your property.

Food Faves “Rachel’s Frito Chili Cheese Fiesta Corn Salad”

This week’s recipe is by AVECC IT/Communications Manager Brandon Fisher of Charleston.

Rachel’s Frito Chili Cheese

Fiesta Corn Salad

“My wife Rachel makes an awesome corn dip made with my favorite, Fritos Chili Cheese Chips. It is easy and delicious. You can’t get much better than that!” -Brandon Fisher

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 ounces) can of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans of fiesta corn, drained
  • 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup of mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup of sour creme
  • ½ cup chopped onion of choice
  • 1 (10 ½ ounce) bag of Frito’s Chili Cheese corn chips

Instructions:

  • Drain corn and dice up the onion
  • Mix all of the ingredients except for chips
  • Refrigerate for 3 hours
  • Mix in Frito’s Chili Cheese Chips before serving

Our Installation Process for Fiber Internet

WWW.WAVERURALCONNECT.COM

Why It Takes 60-90 Days To Install

When it comes to Internet and television services, you may be used to having your internet service installed a couple of weeks after your order. So why do Wave Rural Connect fiber internet services take so long?

Infrastructure. (A big word for lots of work.) We are running brand new fiber mainline, hardware, huts, and network electronics to bring fiber to our rural and urban members. Additionally, we can rarely use existing communications paths as we are installing on poles we own and along our right-of-way.

Wait, there’s fiber on a pole right by my house! So I can get it next week…right?

Many times what you are seeing is mainline fiber strung as we progress through a territory. This fiber is currently “dark,” meaning no signal, or light, is being transmitted at this time. Just like you build a car by starting with the frame, mainline fiber comes first. The wait can seem like eons when you see fiber strung so close, but it can be weeks or months before your area is ready to order — much less be installed.

The main point of this article is to explain what happens in the AFTER you order and a bit about the fiber installation process. Once the service terms are contracted, the fiber installation process begins. This process happens over 3 Steps.

Step 1: Locating the Best Fiber Path to your Home
Step 2: Running the Fiber to your Home
Step 3: In-Home Install and Activation

Step 1: Locating The Best Fiber Path To Your Home

Once fiber internet services are contracted, the order is sent to our fiber-drop team. A 3rd party 811 utility location company will visit your property to locate and mark public utilities, such as water and gas lines. The best part is, you don’t have to call 811 as it is included in our installation process.

This marking process may include painting marks on your lawn or curb edge. These paint marks will wash away over time, especially quickly on the lawn.

Step 1 Considerations:

  • Private utilities will not be marked or located by 811.
    • These are utilities, such as lighting, security, sprinkler, propane, and septic systems to name a few.
    • You must identify and mark private lines or notify us of their location.
  • The 3rd party locates team will not know what path the Fiber Drop crew will take on your property.
    • The path is chosen by the Drop Team in Step 2 and is determined based on current utility lines, private line locations, and property features.

Step 2: Running Fiber To Your Home

Our fiber Drop Team will then need to run the fiber from the splice point to the building. There a Network Interface Device (NID) enclosure is placed on the side of your home. Depending on the path the fiber has to take, the team will run the fiber overhead from a pole or underground from an access point in your yard or alley.

Step 2 Considerations:

  • The fiber drop time table is dependent on the Drop Team’s schedule. 
  • It is not required to have anyone home for this installation.
    • Please contact Wave Rural Connect at 1.833.4WAVERC if you wish to be home for this exterior install.
  • Other issues that may require your attention are aggressive outdoor pets or an area you do not want to be disturbed.
  • A Member Service Representative or the drop crew may contact the property owner if any complexities occur that would impact the timeline or your fiber install cost.
    • Additional costs on fiber-drop installations are very rare.
  • Depending on the method chosen to run fiber to your home, there may be slight disruptions to your lawn (such as a narrow trench to bury fiber). 
    • The disruption will be closed before the Drop Team leaves. In most cases, lawn disruptions will be gone in a few days. 
    • Depending on the weather and the soil condition, we may need to come back and finalize the restoration. 
    • Sometimes, you may notice a tire impression on your lawn. If it is evident that the impression is unlikely to resolve naturally in a reasonable timeline, the Drop Team will come back and take reasonable action to repair the lawn once the soil and weather have stabilized.
  • After the NID enclosure is mounted it cannot be relocated without an additional charge.

Step 3: In-Home Install And Activation

Fiber Service Technicians will recommend the best location for indoor network terminal and devices based on the layout of your building. The customer has the opportunity to give final input before signing off on the installation. During this part of the fiber installation process, an entrance hole may need to be drilled from the NID enclosure through the wall into your home. A fiber jumper cable is then connected to an Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which is a specific type of modem for fiber-optic networks. There are two types of internet installations in the home.

Managed Connection Installation:

  • A fiber-optic jumper cable
  • An upgraded WiFi-capable ONT
    • Advanced device management
    • Advanced support  and troubleshooting
  • Any TV or other network equipment will connect to the ONT device or via WiFi
  • Phone equipment will connect directly to the ONT device

Unmanaged Installation:

  • A fiber-optic jumper cable
  • An ONT with ethernet ports.
  • Any other TV, network or phone equipment will connect directly to the ONT device

Step 3 Considerations

  • A power outlet will be required nearby to power the ONT or any personal router.
  • An authorized user 18 years of age or older must be home for this installation.
  • While you can use your own router, you must use our ONT modem for the system to work.
  • Once your internet service is activated the phone porting (transfer) process will begin.
  • We will let you know when to expect the change to occur.
  • Porting of an old number usually takes 8-15 days for the previous carrier to release the number.
  • A phone cable will need to be run from the Phone 1 or Phone 2 port on the ONT to your telephone.

Regarding Phone-Only Install Fee: A $199 install fee is required on phone-only installations. A portion of the cost to install fiber service is carried in our Internet service packages during the 12-month Internet contract. This phone-install fee is to recover those costs.

Note: Installation Process Can Take 60-90 Days From The Date It Is Ordered To The Date Installed. However, Most Installations Occur Under This Limit.

Breakfast and Lunch: A School’s Commitment to Feed Children During the Pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic plaguing the country, Charleston School District (CSD) followed the guidance of Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson, by closing school doors on March 16, 2020. The hallways are dark, and classrooms are empty, but Charleston School District, (among other area schools), is committed not to let their students go hungry at home.

Charleston teachers, administration, and volunteers joined together to provide area children two meals a day—a breakfast and lunch meal delivered to their doors.

Superintendent, Melissa Moore spoke about the meal delivery program.

“We have 873 students at CSD. We currently deliver meals to over 380 students, and the numbers grow each day. That’s 44% of our student body.”

CSD does not discriminate when it comes to giving lunches to students 18 and under.

According to Moore, students do not need to be enrolled at CSD to receive a meal if they are living in the district.

“Some children are living with extended family at this time. We understand that. Any child under the age of 18 can get breakfast and lunch from us. We can feed any child that might benefit from getting a breakfast item, juice, milk, and lunch entrée,” she stated.

Moore wanted the meal request process to be seamless for parents and students.

“We created a Google document for parents and students to fill out, so we know where to deliver and how many meals they need for each home,” Moore explained.

“I also contacted each household by using an all-call system and advertised the program on social media,” she added.

Moore expressed gratitude to all of the selfless volunteers who are on the frontlines of this program.

“Our food service employees are doing amazing work to get the requested meals prepared before the volunteer teachers and coaches deliver at 11:00 a.m. each day.”

Delivery services consist of cars that deliver in the Charleston city limits, and buses travel to rural communities. Approximately 260 meals are provided to rural homes.

(AVECC serves electricity to approximately 700 households in the CSD district)

The meal delivery program began March 23 and will continue until CSD officially ends the school year on May 22.

At Arkansas Valley Electric, we believe in changing the communities we serve. Learning about stories like CSD helps us remember that during times of trial, our communities come together and help make a difference in our lives.

AVECC sincerely thanks all of the area schools, organizations, and individuals for going above and beyond to serve their students and communities.

For more like this, follow AVECC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and visit www.avecc.com.

 

 

Fiber Internet is Ideal for Cord-Cutters

“Cutting the cord” is certainly a popular notion right now. However, when it comes to making the decision there can be lots of confusion and pitfalls with the move. It might feel like you are saying goodbye to all your old TV friends, or overwhelmed with a sea of options, or sounds like a way to save money. What to do?

Our goal at Wave Rural Connect is to help you decide whether to stick with traditional subscription TV or jump into the “stream”. We know we have the right service to support you no matter your call.

Making The Connection
The first step to “cutting the cord” is to have the right internet service. The three most important factors in video streaming are speed, latency (signal lag that causes freezing and pixelation), and data limits.

Fiber-optic connections do not have the distance and interference issues of traditional copper lines or satellite feeds.

Fiber-optic connections do not have the distance and interference issues of traditional copper lines or satellite feeds. Fiber is amazingly-fast and has extremely low latency. Last, fiber is the future of hard-line communications and will soon be the standard for the home or office.

Wave Rural Connect internet packages run over our all-fiber network. We offer services up to 1 Gigabit. So we have knocked out two concerns, speed and latency. But what about data limits and overages? Simple. We do not cap data or throttle bandwidth.

100 Mbps Fiber Internet: Great for small families who do general browsing, HD streaming, and light gaming.

1 Gigabit Fiber Internet: Excellent for large families who do heavy or 4k streaming, UHD gaming, and video uploads.

Want to know more about:

  • MAKING THE CONNECTION
  • GET A TV ANTENNA
  • STREAMING SERVICES
  • STREAMING DEVICES
  • STREAMING SAVES MONEY
  • MAKING THE FINAL DECISION

 

Read more at  Wave Rural Connect. 

AVECC Donates to the Wallace Milton Scholarship Fund

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative is committed to supporting education in the Arkansas River Valley. For more than 40 years, AVECC has been providing scholarships to the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas.

Earlier this year, AVECC donated $3,500, as part of the University of the Ozarks’ Wallace M. Milton scholarship fund.

Milton served as AVECC’s superintendent in 1937 and later served as General Manager, and Manager Emeritus upon his retirement in 1968.

The Wallace M. Milton scholarship fund was established in memory of Milton following his death in 1976.

Pictured (L-R) Kevin Baskin, Member Service Representative AVECC, Rebecca Lester, Director of Major Grants University of the Ozarks, Sam Davis AVECC Board of Directors(Vice President