Category Archives: Featured Post

AVECC Grants $3500 Scholarship to University of the Ozarks

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.

(from left) Philip Taylor, AVECC board member; U of O President Richard Dunsworth; Sam Davis, AVECC board member; and Brandon Fisher, technology and communications manager for AVECC.

Be Aware of Scam Artists Who are Demanding Money

Attorney General Rutledge is urging Arkansans to be aware of scam artists who are demanding money while posing as utility companies. Please rest assured, Arkansas Valley Electric will never call you threatening to shut off your electricity.

In fact, Attorney General Rutledge recommends the following tips to ensure payment is safely sent to your utility company:

  • Contact the utility company directly by calling the listed number and verifying the amount owed.
  • Drop off the payment at the utility office or an authorized payment location.
  • Pay online on the utility company’s website with a credit card or call the company directly.
  • Consider participating in an automated bank account draft system, if it is offered.
  • Mail the payment to the company directly.

 

For more information on Attorney General Rutledge’s statement, please visit https://arkansasag.gov/media-center/consumer-alerts/attorney-general-alert-dont-get-snowed-by-utility-bill-scams/

COVID-19 Disconnect Moratorium Updates

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM ARKANSAS VALLEY ELECTRIC

ORDER NO. 15 – RELATING TO THE COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY

The Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) has announced a target date of May 3, 2021, to lift the moratorium on disconnections for electric services. Arkansas Valley Electric always strives to keep the membership as informed as possible. We understand some of our members have been negatively affected by Covid-19. We also know many members may not be familiar with the Arkansas Public Service Commission order for Covid-19 and need time to seek financial assistance. Members can contact our offices at 800-468-2176 for more information on payment options such as PrePay and deferred payment arrangements.

AVECC and Wave Rural Connect Partner with Franklin County on Grant Proposal to Bring High-Speed Internet to Area Residents

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation (AVECC) and its subsidiary Wave Rural Connect, LLC, recently partnered with Franklin County officials to submit an application for the Arkansas Rural Connect program. The Arkansas Rural Connect program provides grant funding to qualifying communities and internet service providers bringing high-speed internet to underserved areas of the State. If awarded, the grant would assist in reaching 926 households in Franklin County.

AVECC has been a staple in the Ozark community for more than 80 years. AVECC serves approximately 90% of the county and is dedicated to ensuring rural areas in Franklin County prosper. AVECC is in the process of implementing a 6-year, system-wide fiber deployment project, which will bring about positive change in the rural communities it serves by providing high-speed internet to its member-owners via its wholly-owned subsidiary, Wave Rural Connect.

 

AVECC to Select High School Juniors to Participate in Virtual Youth Tour

Each spring, AVECC selects two high school juniors to attend Washington Youth Tour. The winners are chosen through an interview process. Applicants must be high school juniors whose parents or guardians are AVECC members.

Through the Youth Tour, Arkansas’ youth learn more about the workings of their nation’s government and electric cooperatives while simultaneously developing leadership skills.

The Washington Youth Tour will not take place in Washington D.C. this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s participants will participate in an Arkansas statewide virtual program that will allow them to connect and learn this June 18th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, and 25th.

This virtual experience will consist of:

  • Learning about electric cooperatives and the cooperative business model;
  • Hearing from Arkansas lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the Arkansas State Capitol;
  • Hearing from Arkansas business, education, and faith leaders on the pandemic and related processes in Arkansas;
  • Electing a Youth Leadership Council (YLC) representative to NRECA’s YLC program;
  • Interacting with each other virtually; and
  • Students will learn how to earn a $5,000 college scholarship by planning and executing a public service project in the local community.
  • Youth Tour will offer gift cards each day to students who successfully answer trivia questions regarding the content covered to keep students engaged.

Applications are due March 31, 2021, and winners announced the last week of April.

For more information regarding the AVECC scholarship and Washington Youth Tour, please visit www.avecc.com.

APPLY NOW: https://www.avecc.com/my-community/washington-youth-tour/

Wave Rural Connect secures over $45 million expand gigabit-capable broadband service

WAVE Rural Connect, the wholly-owned fiber subsidiary of Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation, has secured more than $45 million through the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction to expand its gigabit speed-capable broadband service throughout the co-op’s rural Arkansas territory and surrounding communities.

WAVE, which launched in 2018, currently offers fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) access to more than 45,000 homes in Arkansas Valley Electric’s territory and adjacent areas. The fiber provider will ultimately reach 100% of the co-op’s members.

The RDOF funds will enable WAVE to more quickly build out the network and provide residents with the educational, economic, community and lifestyle benefits of reliable and affordable fiber internet service.  WAVE’s deployment will eventually encompass 6,600 miles of fiber.

WAVE’s 100% fiber network offers ultra-fast speeds for both downloading and uploading. This symmetrical speed and the power of fiber allows multiple users and devices at the same time without loss of service quality.  This has become a necessity during the pandemic where the needs for reliable broadband – remote learning, working from home, staying connected with loved ones and virtual doctor visits – have become so critical.

“We have seen people leaving rural areas because of the lack of internet service, and that was before the pandemic,” Arkansas Valley Electric CEO Al Simpson said. “The need for reliable broadband is now a widespread critical issue. Without access to high-speed internet, professionals are unable to effectively work from home, children fall behind in remote learning and many are cut off from friends and family. Through WAVE, we are determined to change that one connection at a time.  We’re extremely grateful for the RDOF funding as it will have tremendous impact in the lives of rural Arkansas residents.”

Arkansas Valley Electric was a member of the Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium, a bidding entity of over 90 cooperatives coordinated and led by rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader Conexon to secure RDOF funds. Overall, Conexon’s RECC was awarded over $1.1 billion, enabling electric cooperatives across 22 states to deliver world-class FTTH service to over two million rural Americans. The co-op also participated in the Conexon RECC’s previous generation in 2018’s Connect America Fund (CAF) II auction where it was awarded $4.7 million in broadband funding.

“Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative is a long-time Conexon client and we’re exceptionally pleased with its great success in the RDOF auction,” Conexon Partner Randy Klindt, said. “We’re excited to see the progress the co-op will continue to make in closing the digital divide in Arkansas.”

 

About Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation is a not-for-profit Corporation headquartered in Ozark, AR. District offices are located in Waldron, Van Buren, AR, and Pocola, OK.

AVECC  currently has more than 6,600 miles of distribution lines, 36 electrical substations, and more than 60,000 electric services.

The Cooperative was organized in 1937 by a group of farmers and businessmen from Crawford, Logan and Johnson Counties in west-central Arkansas. It has since expanded to eleven counties in Arkansas and three in Oklahoma.

About WAVE Rural Connect

Wave Rural Connect was created by AVECC in its ongoing efforts to provide sustainable development of the communities it serves. The AVECC fiber infrastructure will allow Wave Rural Connect to provide game-changing broadband internet at lightning-fast speed to every member.

Let us BROADEN your horizons.

AVECC’s Members Limit Use of Non-Essential Electricity to Avoid Blackouts

At AVECC, we strive to always be there for our members. It is amazing to see our members do the same and help one another when it matters most. We appreciate each and every member who is helping keep the lights on in the River Valley. We want all of our members to stay safe and warm while encouraging everyone to limit the use of non-essential electric items.
At this time, we have only been asked to make preliminary preparations in case we need to preserve power. Because of the arctic conditions in most of the US, power producers or companies that we buy power from are asking us to be ready to strategically plan outages if the need arises. We have not been asked to suspend any power at this time, but we must be ready if asked. We will be updating our Facebook page and website with any new information that becomes available.

AVECC Urges Members to Reduce Use of Non-Essential Electricity

Arkansas Valley Electric in partnership with the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas asks members to voluntarily limit the use of electric service immediately and through midnight Tuesday in order to ensure that electric service is not interrupted.
AVECC and AECC members are urged to reduce the use of electrical requirements by limiting the use of non-essential electricity and appliances, especially electric water heaters, clothes dryers, and dishwashers, and to turn heating thermostats to lower settings.
Due to the extremely cold weather and the unusually high requirement for electricity, electric cooperatives and other electric utilities across Arkansas and surrounding states have reached a point where electricity demand has nearly exceeded the capacity.
The cooperative emphasizes that voluntary cooperation is essential. If voluntary reductions are not sufficient to maintain continuity of service, it may be necessary to begin interruption of electric service to specific areas for limited time periods. It is not presently anticipated that this type of rotating curtailments will be necessary.
Cooperative representatives are also directly contacting large and commercial users asking for their cooperation as well.
The interconnections of electric systems frequently make it possible for one system to secure additional electricity from neighboring systems. However, the present extreme cold weather is widespread in the Arkansas region, making the strain on the electric grid much higher than normal. Thus, conservation of energy is important to help ensure continuous electric service.
Your local electric cooperative will continue to keep the public advised of further developments concerning voluntary reductions of electric power.

10 Ways to Prep Your House for Cold Weather

10 quick ways to prepare your home for cold weather with Energy Efficiency Expert, Wendy Kozeny

Colder weather is coming into the River Valley area next week. We want all of our members to remain safe and warm during these harsh temperatures. Here are 10 quick ways to prepare your home for cold weather, all of which can be done over the weekend!

  1. For any pipe exposed to outside elements, or is not in a heated space, use pipe wrap to insulate. Or when temperatures are below freezing, allow a steady trickle of water to flow through pipes to avoid freezing.
  2. Use expanding foam to seal up gaps under the sinks where your drains and water lines come through the cabinet or wall.
  3. Inspect the Weather Strip on the door. Make sure it isn’t worn or chewed and looks like new. If you see light around the door, then cold air is seeping into your house. Replacing Weather Strip is a quick and inexpensive replacement. YouTube or google for examples. Check with your local hardware store or chain store for supplies.
  4. Windows are an easy place for air to get in your house. Consider using inside window plastic. This is available at Wal-Mart and Lowes. It stops the drafts as well as condensation that may form on windows.
  5. If your attic can be accessed from within the house, use a weatherstrip around the rim where the attic panel rests to stop air leaks from the attic. Use two to three inches of foam board to stop the heat from moving through the board and into the attic, (and vice versa in the summer.) Glue the foam board to the back of the panel.
  6. If you have a heat pump, make sure the thermostat is set to Heat and not Emergency Heat.
  7. The best winter temperature setting for your wallet is 68’F. Balance comfort with cost.
  8. If you have a unit that requires air filters, make sure you change your filters monthly. This can reduce your bill by as much as $25.
  9. Insulate wall outlets with foam pads. Be sure to occupy both plugs with either an electric appliance plug or the baby safe plugs to realize the full air sealing potential.
  10. Be sure the return Air grills are not blocked by furniture or bookcases.

Oark General Store: A Story of Love and Perfect Timing

Each year, countless families and individuals wind their way up the curvy roads traveling North to one destination—the Oark General Store.

The General Store’s official beginnings originated in 1890 when F. M. Nelson signed the paperwork to legitimize the store.

Over one hundred years later, Brian and Reagan Eisele are keeping the General Store tradition alive, while simultaneously blending technology and world experience into the business. But before they owned a small-town store, Brian and Reagen’s life was vastly different. Their journey began with big dreams, love, and a little dash of luck.

Reagan Eisele, a 5th generation Arkansan from Hartman, experienced Washington D.C.  for the first time when she participated in Arkansas Valley Electric’s Youth Tour.  She decided to pursue International Studies at Arkansas Tech University, which ultimately landed her a job opportunity to aid Senator John Boozman.

While serving her state, she met fellow small-town Senator’s Aid, Brian Eisele from South Carolina, on a work trip.

“We struck up a friendship. It’s funny to me how small-town kids have a way of finding each other and buddying up in situations like that. Brian claims he knew then he’d pursue a relationship at some point (in his words, “the chase was on”). We didn’t start dating for another six months or so because Brian, in his words, “had to play it just right,” Reagan reminisced.

Romance among friends lead to marriage and the decision on where to live. Brian and Reagan had visited the other’s homeplaces, but there was something special about Arkansas.

The couple knew that their educational and work background would be near impossible to replicate in Johnson County. (Brian had worked on “the Hill” handing defense and energy issues and holds a degree in Economics and Business from the University of South Carolina). So, they decided to pursue another route.

Reagan’s family suggested they “buy a job.” They also mentioned the perfect timing of the “FOR SALE” sign on the steps at the Oark General Store.  Reagan mentioned it as a joke, but Brian “jumped all over it.” Three weeks later, they put in an offer, drove straight to the Mulberry River to float, and by the time they arrived home, they were the proud new owners of the Oark General Store.

“I never even worked in a restaurant he had for a very short time in college. So, we had no idea we were getting ourselves into,” Reagan laughingly admitted.

Despite the duo being newbies in the entrepreneurial world, they found their footing and have run a successful business for almost nine years.

As for living the small-town life after experiencing the world-at-large, Reagan and Brian are happy.

“I think D.C. was a great lesson in just getting along with people, even people that aren’t necessarily like you and don’t share your beliefs. While it appears on T.V. that everyone in D.C. hates everyone that’s different, that was not our experience at all. Some of my nearest and dearest are on the absolute opposite end of the political spectrum,” Reagan shared.

They carry those feelings with them while owning and operating the store. “The old saying about how no one remembers what you do, but they remember how you made them feel comes to mind. We want people to come to Oark and feel welcome. There are not many places left in the world with charm like the Oark General Store, so we want to preserve it as best we can, but also share it with as many people as we can.”

The couple, who are now raising three children, ages six, four, and two, are happy in Oark. “It’s a wonderful place to raise our kids (6,4, almost 2), and the store has been such a blessing. We have no plans to leave anytime soon.”