Tag Archives: Touchstone Energy

June edition of South Carolina Living is available online; due in mailboxes soon

The June 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine will be delivered to the mailboxes of members and subscribers mid-month, but it’s available online NOW!june2015horrycover

Horry Electric local highlights include:

  • CEO Column: In case you missed it: quorum met; successful event
  • Horry News: Horry Electric guys rocked at Lineworker Rodeo; HEC Youth Tour delegation 2015; Making additions to your home? Include us in your plans!
  •  WIRE, Horry knitters help displaced seniors get cozy again
  • A fresh crop of Young Farmers
  • Co-op Connections: Skip on over to Skip’s Grill and chill out!


Other highlights from the magazine include: 

Historic Cold Temperatures May Create Record Demand

911557_10151464718889480_884162178_nSouth Carolina’s electric cooperatives and other utilities are warning that all-time low temperatures forecast for Thursday and Friday mornings may result in a record demand for electricity.

Predicted temperatures in the pre-dawn hours Thursday range from single digits in the Upstate to the low teens in the Midlands and Pee Dee. Below freezing temperatures are also forecast for the Lowcountry. All South Carolina counties are under a wind chill advisory from 7 p.m. Wednesday until 1 p.m. Thursday. Wind chill values in the Upstate could dip below zero both mornings.

Historically, cold weather creates the highest residential electricity use in South Carolina. The most critical hours for utilities supplying power are the hours from 6-9 a.m. when demand is at its peak.

“We have enough (power) capacity to meet our demand,” said David Logeman, director of power supply at Central Electric Power Cooperative in Columbia, which provides wholesale electricity to all 20 of the South Carolina’s member-owned cooperatives. “However, weather events like this mean our system will probably operate at maximum capacity over an extended period.”

Consumers are urged to be mindful of their energy use during the hours of peak demand.

“If each household follows a few simple steps to conserve electricity, those reductions will have a meaningful impact,” said Mike Couick, president and CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “Using less power means less stress on our systems and increased reliability of service.”

Members can use less power by following these steps in their homes:

  •  Turn off all but essential internal and external lights
  • Unplug non-essential appliances and devices
  • Set thermostats on 68 degrees or lower
  • Minimize or postpone hot water use
  • Ensure heating and air conditioning vents are open and unobstructed
  • Limit use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers, and dryers from 6-9 a.m.

Members can learn more ways to save energy in their homes by visiting togetherwesave.com.

South Carolina Living for February 2015 packed with news and information

febsclcoverThe February 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine will  be delivered to the mailboxes of members and subscribers mid-month,  but you can view it online NOW!

HEC local highlights include:

  • CEO Column  Always call before you dig: Projects big or small; make sure you call
  • Operation Round Up Report: HEC members generously helped 208 neighbors in need with $54,000 in aid during 2014
  • WIRE Jenny Ballard Opportunity Scholarship deadline is June 1
  • In Burgess, memories of another time – Mules and oxen helped bring co-op power to the Freewoods, member says
  • She ‘loved everything on the farm’ – except for one thing – Annie Plowden remembers growing up on her family’s farm in Burgess’ Freewoods
  • Right back where he started He followed opportunity up North, then followed his instincts back to Burgess – and farming – featuring Cad Holmes. 

January 2015 edition of South Carolina Living packed with news and information

januarycoverscl2015The January 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine will soon be delivered to the mailboxes of members and subscribers,  but you can view it online NOW!

Horry Electric Cooperative local content includes :

  • CEO Column  – Resolve to modify energy use
  • Two opportunities for high school students! Juniors may apply for Youth Tour 2015 (deadline 2/27) and Seniors may apply for the $1500 WIRE scholarship (deadline 3/1)!
  • Co-op Connections® Feature: Heating and air and savings to spare, just for co-op members!
  • Hooray for Hollywood! A touch of Tinseltown in Tabor City helped their teen romance take root in Green Sea
  • Authors share an easy-flowing tale of two rivers –

Other January 2015 highlights available online:

Join the Co-op Month celebration

ICoopMonth-280n October, members from more than 29,000 cooperatives nationwide will join to celebrate the advantages of cooperative membership and recognize the benefits and values co-ops bring to their members and communities.

Unlike other businesses, cooperatives are not-for-profit, democratically controlled, volunteer-run, member-owned organizations. They exist to serve their members, and that level of service remains high even during even the toughest times. Instead of issuing stock or paying dividends to outside shareholders, cooperatives provide value to their members through their level of customer services and membership checks at the end of each year.

As a cooperative, we are guided by seven principles. Originally drawn up by Charles Howarth, one of 28 weavers and other artisans who founded the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in Rochdale, England, on December 21, 1844, these principles governing cooperative operations were introduced into the United States in 1874 by the National Grange, and formally written down by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1937.

  1. Open and Voluntary MembershipCo-op_Month_Logo_f280x119_1380725114
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Members’ Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training and Information
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
  7. Concern For Community

These principles are underpinned by six ideals—the d cooperative values of Self-Help, Self-Responsibility, Democracy, Equality, Equity, and Solidarity. In addition, the International Cooperative Alliance lists cooperative “ethical values” of Honesty, Openness, Social Responsibility, and Caring for Others.

Putting safety first

75by75for75Mike Couick, President and CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, focused his contribution to the June 2014 edition of South Carolina Living magazine on the safety success of co-ops in South Carolina.

The lineworkers who keep your electric cooperative humming 24 hours a day, seven days a week are special breed.

On good days, they face the risk of serious injury and even death from energized power lines, heavy equipment and careless motorists. On bad days, such as those following major storms, they also battle the elements and the fatigue of extended shifts as crews work round-the-clock to restore electric service to co-op members.

Keeping lineworkers safe has been a priority for South Carolina’s electric co-ops since the first crews began stringing lines across rural South Carolina some 75 years ago. After all, your employees have never been a nameless, faceless workforce—they have always been your friends, neighbors and relatives. They are, in every sense of the word, family.

A little more than a year ago, we issued a challenge to our co-ops: To mark the 75th anniversary of cooperatives in South Carolina, could they reduce loss-time accidents among employees by 75 percent at 75 percent of our co-ops.

To say this goal was ambitious would be an understatement, but our co-ops all embraced this renewed emphasis on safety. One year later, I am pleased to report that as of May 1, 2014, we achieved our goal, reducing the number of loss-time accidents from 28 the previous year to just seven.

This unprecedented safety drive was spearheaded by Todd Carter, vice president of loss control and training at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, but the credit for the results goes to every co-op employee who went the extra mile to ensure safer working conditions.

“Reducing the number of accidents by this magnitude tells us something important: Co-op employees committed themselves to this program 100 percent,” Carter says. “There’s no way we would have reached this goal unless every co-op made safety its top priority. This was a total team effort across the state.”

Prospects for a successful “75 by 75 for 75” campaign faced a serious obstacle in the immediate aftermath of February’s devastating winter storm. Some service areas endured historic damage, more than the destruction caused by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and South Carolina co-op crews logged more than 500,000 work-hours in extremely dangerous conditions. Another 300,000 work-hours were logged by out‑of-state crews.

“To maintain the safety goal after one of the most destructive storms in a generation is amazing to me,” Carter says. “So many things can go wrong in those situations. The fact that the safety goal survived the storm is a testament to the dedication of our employees.”

While the year-long challenge period is up, the heightened culture of safety it inspired will continue among cooperatives as we work to maintain and improve 70,000 miles of distribution line running through all 46 counties of the state. Our mission has always been to provide affordable, reliable electricity to members, but as we’ve reminded ourselves during this campaign, the most important way we serve our communities is making sure our employees get home safe at the end of every workday.


Mike Couick, President and CEO, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina

Dialogue – Mike Couick, President and CEO, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina/Published June 2014/South Carolina Living magazine.

Co-op Closet emergency bags packed with compassion in no time flat

Among the WIRE volunteers for the 2014 Co-op Closet project were Kelli McDowell (left) Jessie Hendrick (right) of HEC’s WIRE chapter and Denette Rimer (center) of Lexington-based Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative. (PHOTO CREDIT: WALTER ALLREAD)

Among the WIRE volunteers for the 2014 Co-op Closet project were Kelli McDowell (left) Jessie Hendrick (right) of HEC’s WIRE chapter and Denette Rimer (center) of Lexington-based Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative. (PHOTO CREDIT: WALTER ALLREAD)

In 28 whirlwind minutes, 18 volunteers from electric cooperatives across South Carolina packed a trailer load of Co-op Closet bags filled of emergency supplies for displaced elderly citizens.

Crammed full of toiletries, towels, pillows, Bibles and more, the bags will be distributed to the elderly when group or nursing homes are ordered closed for safety or health violations. The volunteers are members of WIRE (Women Involved in Rural Electrification), a community outreach association affiliated with electric co-ops around the state. They gathered March 13 at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina Inc.(ECSC) in Cayce to make short work of this huge act of kindness.

It was the third Co-op Closet project undertaken by WIRE and ECSC, a service association for Palmetto State co-ops. The similar project was done last winter, in response to a request from S.C. Lieutenant Governor Glenn F. McConnell and the state Office on Aging. The lieutenant governor reached out to the co-ops after the Office of Aging determined that elderly citizens too often are forgotten — almost left destitute — when homes are closed. Their group or nursing home is often the only home they’ve known for years, notes ECSC’s Peggy Dantzler, Co-op Closet coordinator.

The WIRE ladies have the process of packing the bags down to a science.

The WIRE ladies have the process of packing the bags down to a science. PHOTO CREDIT – WALTER ALLREAD

“Our WIRE ladies put the Co-op Principle of community commitment into action today,” Dantzler said. “They personify teamwork and cooperation and, as always with WIRE, it’s all for a good cause.”

The emergency relocation bags will be kept at the Office on Aging, which determines who need assistance around the state. WIRE members sometimes help distribute the bags and, as Dantzler notes, “To the elderly home residents, the supplies come just when they need an act of compassion.”

Lynn Elvis, an HEC WIRE member waits for items to be checked off the list for the back she's packing.

Lynn Elvis, an HEC WIRE member, waits for the items to be checked off on the list before putting the finishing touches on the bag she’s packing. PHOTO CREDIT – WALTER ALLREAD

As the lieutenant governor has said, “The ‘Co-op Closet’ … gives hope to many South Carolinians — some of whom may have lived next door or down the street from you or me.”