Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – August 2022

Dear Members:

The annual meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, September 8 at our Portola office. We will broadcast the meeting via our YouTube channel. To join the meeting, visit our website and click the link in the banner at the top of the page or watch the meeting via YouTube live. To join by phone, call (817) 900-9005 and enter access code 874 467 9739.

We encourage members to send questions in advance by email to marketing@psrec.coop or with the form included in your voting packet. We will also take questions through the chat function during the meeting.

The year 2021 was a challenging but productive year for Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative and Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications.

The dominant events of last year were the two mega-fires. The Beckwourth Complex burned parts of the town of Doyle, a good portion of our distribution system in that area and nine miles of our fiberoptic line. The Dixie Fire caused significant damage further north from Herlong to Milford, Janesville, and Gold Run. It also burned both of PG&E’s feeds to our region, and due to the delays in PG&E rebuilding, the fire also led to our power supply being unavailable for 150 days.

PSREC built a 6-Megawatt cogeneration facility that came online in 2010 and went through a significant rebuild in early 2021. It came back online just in time to support our system during the fires. We also rented two 2-Megawatt diesel engines and were able to keep the lights on for the 150 days.

The efforts of our electric and telecommunications crews was simply outstanding, and our SCADA crew was often sleeping in the SCADA room to keep the lights on. We would also like to thank NV Energy for doing a great job with our backup line. PSREC continued its increased vegetation management and removal of hazard trees on the system to improve reliability and fire safety. We appreciate the increased cooperation from members on this key reliability and safety issue.

We have run our system on single-shot during high fire seasons for years now. Single shot means if a fault is detected, the line is shut down. This prevents our equipment from trying to reclose or re-energize, decreasing the risk of a limb or debris in the lines igniting. Single-shot settings during the fire season do mean longer outage times so crews can fully investigate and patrol the lines before re-energizing. We appreciate your patience, but we need to do this to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

PSREC has continued to improve system reliability and response times through its supervisory control and data acquisition system. We are also working hard to develop alternative power supplies from the east for our entire system to help mitigate the impacts of public safety power shutoffs by PG&E and NV Energy. Due to the recent fires, we expect NV Energy to disconnect power more often in the next several years, including the 2021 fire season.

If PG&E has also disconnected their power to prevent fires, we will be out of power until one of our sources is back online. Members should be prepared for outages, some of which could be several days.

PSREC sends outage notifications via email and text messages. To sign up for these notices, log into SmartHub on our website and visit the Manage Notifications section to select the alerts you want to receive. If you need assistance, call us at (530) 832-4261.

Rates

Transmission costs from the California Independent System Operator and PG&E increased significantly at the first of the year. We will be talking about our efforts to get away from the PG&E system in the months and years to come, but for now, we are stuck with PG&E passing on increasing transmission costs.

Another factor is that for several years we have been carrying over savings from the previous year’s power costs to offset higher rates. We carried more than $1.15 million from 2020 to 2021, but in 2021, we were hit with the impact of the Dixie fire and much higher power costs, and there were no savings to carry over. If there hadn’t been a carry-over from 2020 to 2021, there would have been a rate increase in 2021.

Another significant event is the proposed closure of the State of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation California Conservation Center (CCC). The loss of CCC is a blow to our local economy in general and to the cooperative. Large electric loads like the state prisons help spread the cooperative’s fixed costs over a wider base. Losing these loads means the rest of the membership must absorb the fixed costs CCC has been paying.

These events alone will
combine to increase our costs by $2.25 million per year alone. In addition, general inflation has hit the cooperative’s construction and operating costs, raising the price of fuel and all basic materials.

Lastly, we also have the ongoing impact of the drought. We get most of our hydropower from the Western Area Power Administration, who sells power from the main four federal hydro-projects that are part of the Central Valley Project. Of the four reservoirs, only Folsom, the smallest, has above average water levels. The largest, Shasta, has half of its normal water. PSREC pays the same for federal hydropower no matter
how much is delivered. We are paying for the power that isn’t there, and we then need to shop in the market for replacement power. And this year, energy costs in general have risen dramatically in price. This is approximately an additional $1.5 million for this year.

We are seeking recovery for the damages from the Dixie Fire from PG&E, as well as FEMA. Recovery of these funds won’t change the need for a rate increase.

Information on the rate meeting with the members will be inside your annual meeting package. The date of the rate meeting will be Tuesday, August 30. Details about the rate meeting will be included in the Annual Meeting information.

In the face of these issues, your staff and board have been quite active. Some of you are aware we are working to build a new interconnection with NV Energy in the Nevada desert that should give us some relief from the California power markets and transmission rate increases, but that project is several years from completion. The costs of construction should be nicely offset by transmission and generation savings. We strongly believe building to the east will keep rates lower than they would be otherwise and will minimize power shutoffs.

We are also partnering with our subsidiary, PST, on joint or hybrid projects where PSREC automates more of its system while PST rents capacity from PSREC, bringing broadband to the members and reducing the cost of automating the electric grid. PST’s grants from the CPUC also support better control of our electric grid. Last year, we were able to expand to more than 900 households.

We have also been pleased with the financial performance of our subsidiary. PST shares expenses with PSREC and saved more than $500,000 in 2021 and will again in 2022. In addition, PST was profitable in 2021, cash-flow positive last year, and should be profitable and cash flow positive for 2022. PST has received grants from the California Public Utilities Commission, as well as an earmark in the federal budget thanks to Congressman Doug LaMalfa.

COVID-19/Physical Security Audit

We have partially reopened our office in Portola. Appointments are available, and when you make an appointment, we will inform you of any masking requirements applicable at that time. We are also open for drop-in appointments through our window by the front door. The cooperative has recently had a physical security audit from the CPUC and will be doing a minor remodel for its lobby to stay on top of the latest requirements, and it will be using the windows and the vestibule to serve customers for now.

Despite all the challenges, PSREC continues to be financially strong and remains committed to providing excellent and reliable service to our members.

We hope you will join us at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, September 9 for the annual membership meeting.

Sincerely,

Fred Nelson
PSREC Board President

Bob Marshall
General Manager 

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – July 2022

Dear Members:

The 2022 annual meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 8. The August issue of Ruralite will have all the meeting details and your voting materials for the director election. Please be sure to look for that information. You can watch the meeting live on YouTube.

Up for election are District 2 (Greaeagle-Mohawk areas) served by Richard Short and District 5 (Doyle, Lake Davis, Long Valley, Washoe County areas) served by David Hansen.

If you are interested in running for the Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (PSREC) Board of Directors and live in one of those districts, please contact me as soon as possible. The deadline for nominations by petition is July 25.

If you are unsure of your district, please visit the PSREC website to view the map or call the office at (530) 832-4261.

A copy of the PSREC Director Qualifications and Nomination Procedures is available on our website.

Proposed Rate Increase

Cooperative staff will be proposing a rate increase later this year and a second increase in early 2023.

Staff has not presented final numbers to the board, but the increase proposed for this year looks to be between 6% and 7% more than current rates.

There are multiple factors requiring a rate increase. Transmission costs from the California Independent System Operator and PG&E increased significantly at the first of the year.

We will be talking about our efforts to get away from the PG&E system in the months and years to come, but for now, we are stuck with this.

A significant event is closure of the State of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation California Conservation Center. Loss of the CCC is a blow to our economy in general and to the cooperative in particular. Large electric loads such as the state prisons help spread the cooperative’s fixed costs across a wider base. Losing these loads means the rest of the membership must absorb the net costs the CCC used to pay.

Another factor is that for several years we have been carrying over savings from the previous year’s power costs to offset higher rates. In 2021, we were hit by the impact of the Dixie fire and much higher power costs. With no savings to carry over in 2021, our rates were offset by a $1.15 million carry over. These events alone combine to increase our costs by $2.25 million per year.

We also have the ongoing impact of the drought. PSREC gets most of its hydropower from the Western Area Power Administration, which sells power from four federal hydro projects that are part of the Central Valley Project.

Of the four reservoirs, only Folsom—the smallest—has above-average water levels. The largest, Shasta, has half of its normal water.

PSREC pays the same for federal hydropower no matter how much is delivered. That means we are paying for power that isn’t there, and we then need to shop in the market for power. This year, the price of energy has risen dramatically.

Lastly, general inflation has hit the cooperative’s construction and operating costs.

We use the following process for a rate increase: staff recommends the increase; the board meets to determine if an increase is needed; if the board deems it is, PSREC shares the proposed rates with the members; after the board receives feedback from the members, it decides what to do; finally, PSREC notifies members of the increase. Please see the latest information on rates on our website.

Public Safety Power Shutoffs

PSREC’s primary power connection is through PG&E, and our backup is through NV Energy via our Marble Substation in Sierra Valley. Both have stated Public Safety Power Shutoffs are likely this summer due to the extreme drought and dry vegetation.

If both of our power feeds are simultaneously disconnected for PSPS events, our entire system will be without power until PG&E or NV Energy comes back online.

If someone in your home depends on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, make a plan for backup power and contact the PSREC office to ensure you are on our lifeline list. Members on the lifeline list are contacted if any planned outages on the system may affect their service.

PSREC offers a $500 rebate for the purchase of a generator to members on its medical necessity list. To receive a generator rebate form, please call (530) 832-4261 ext. 6032.

We highly recommend all members subscribe to outage notifications to receive the latest information. To sign up for text message and email notifications, log in to the SmartHub app from your mobile device or on our website to set your notification preferences. If you need assistance, please contact us at (530) 832-4261.

Telecommunications

Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications participates in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers a monthly service discount of up to $30 for qualified households. To find out if you are eligible, visit www.fcc.gov/acp. PST is working to expand broadband coverage of fiber optic service with speeds of up to 1 gigabyte per second through grant applications to the California Advanced Services Fund and federal programs.

Last month, crews began to build out PST’s fiber network in the city of Loyalton. Please contact us at (530) 832-4126 to be added to our interest list.

We are waiting for permission to start on several grants as this edition goes to press. Please check our website for updates. PST’s service offers unlimited data use so your family can stop fighting over bandwidth. If you haven’t already contacted us to sign up for service or to be added to our interest list, call us at (530) 832-4261 or visit our website.

Office is Partially Open

A reminder that PSREC’s office is partially open. PSREC and PST business can be conducted at our offices through a walk-up window. Walk-ups are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Additionally, appointments are available for specialized issues.

If you have any questions, please contact me at (530) 832-4261 ext. 6076 or email me.

Sincerely,
Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – June 2022

Dear Members:

As wildfire season rapidly approaches, we all need to be prepared. Learn how to protect your home and family on the Prevent Wildfire CA website. Part of being prepared includes being ready for Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) plans to turn off portions of its grid during extreme fire danger, high-wind events and other critical situations. PG&E has notified us it intends to disconnect lines in medium- to high-risk areas in the Sierras. This could affect our primary power supply that comes through Feather River Canyon.

When PG&E notifies us it intends to shut off our transmission feed, we will provide as much notice as possible to members. Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (PSREC) will post information to our website, Facebook and Twitter, our SmartHub app, and via email and text message. To sign up for text message and email notifications, log in to the SmartHub app from your mobile device or from our website and set your notification preferences. If you need assistance, please call us at (530) 832-4261.

During PG&E shutoff events, we will switch to our backup transmission feed from NV Energy if that connection is available. There is a limit to how much energy we can bring through that line, so members should be prepared for outages and rolling blackouts. If NV Energy also decides they must de-energize their line due to high fire danger, members of the cooperative will be in the dark.

During a power outage, please disconnect all nonessential electrical loads. Every light and appliance turned off will help PSREC re-energize more of our system. If our power transmission system is constrained, conservation helps keep our electrical system stable and enables us to serve you and your neighbors.

Preparing for power outages can help make the best of a bad situation. Equip your home with a power outage kit that includes a flashlight; battery-powered lamp or lantern and extra batteries; candles and matches; a battery-powered radio with extra batteries; easily accessible emergency phone numbers for your utility, doctor, fire and police; a telephone connected directly to the phone jack (cordless phones need electricity to operate); a one-week supply of drinking water and nonperishable food; and a cooler for storing frequently used foods. Food spoils more quickly if the refrigerator door is opened. Keep these items on hand to make an outage more tolerable: a manual can opener, an alternative cooking source, and a deck of cards, board games and books.

If someone in your home depends on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, make a plan for backup power.

If you are going to install a generator and connect to your home’s electrical system, make sure it is done to code using an automated system such as a Generac switch or a manual double-pull double-throw switch that separates your house from the grid. Failure to do so could cause injury or fire, leading to potentially massive liability on your part and disconnection from the grid, if discovered. For more information on a double-pull double throw switch, please talk to a licensed electrician. Plumas-Sierra offers a $500 rebate for the purchase of a generator to its members on its medical necessity list. To receive a generator rebate form, please call (530) 832-4261 extension 6032.

Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane or charcoal-burning device inside a home or garage. Place the unit away from doors, windows and vents to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.

Please install surge protectors on any sensitive electronics and appliances. Be sure to buy surge protectors that have a warranty for your connected load.

PSREC sends outage information via text, email and social media. Follow PSREC on Facebook and Twitter for outage notifications. To sign up for text and/or email notifications, log in to SmartHub to set your notification preferences. Through the SmartHub app, you can report outages and view the latest outage information on PSREC’s outage map.

Telecommunications

Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications (PST) continues to expand and upgrade its broadband network throughout the region. We now provide fiber optic service to areas of Portola, Quincy, Graeagle, Plumas Pines, Johnsville, Mohawk Vista, Janesville, Quincy, and many other towns and neighborhoods.

The California Public Utilities Commission has added another step in the grant process, which has added a bit of time to the start of our next set of grants. Please check our website at www.pst.coop for additional information.

PST’s fiber optic service offers speeds up to 1 gigabyte per second. Our coaxial service offers speeds up to 25 megabytes a second, and our wireless broadband service offers download speeds up to 20 Mbps. With these speeds, you can stream videos on multiple devices at the same time without slowing down. You could even replace your TV provider with streaming services.

PST sends outage information via text and social media. Follow us on Facebook for outage notifications. To sign up for text notifications, text PSTBB to (800) 555-2207.

For more information and to sign up for service, call us at (530) 832-4261 or visit our website.

Office Now Partially Open

PSREC and PST business can be conducted at our offices through a walk-up window. Walk-ups are available Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We are scheduling appointments for more specialized issues, such as new member sign-ups, payments, capital credits questions and scheduling engineering for new construction. Appointments make sure the right people are available.

If you have any questions, please contact me at (530) 832-4261 extension 6076 or email me.

Sincerely,
Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – May 2022

Dear Members:

Although our lobby remains closed, if you have business to attend to at the Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (PSREC) Portola office, we now offer meetings by appointment. Please call (530) 832-4261 to schedule a time. We also have a form available online on our website.

Director Elections

In the cooperative world, we have a truism: “Good cooperatives have great boards.”

This year, districts 2 and 5 are up for election. District 2 (Graeagle-Mohawk area) is served by Dick Short and District 5 (Doyle-Lake Davis- Long Valley-Washoe County areas) is served by David Hansen.

If you would like to check which district you live in, the boundaries are on the PSREC website. See page 28 for board of director qualifications and nomination information.

Please call me for more information if you live in one of these districts and are interested in running for the board. The board meets once a month, usually on the fourth Wednesday. Directors must complete significant training to stay current on issues and become certificated as directors.

Rates

Given the ongoing drought, and high electricity and natural gas prices in California, the cooperative’s staff is proposing rate adjustments to the board of directors. The cooperative will hold meetings as part of that. Any rate increases approved by the board would be implemented in the later part of the year.

May is Electrical Safety Month

At Plumas-Sierra, we recognize Electrical Safety Month every May, but we also know the importance of practicing safety year-round. From our co-op crews to you, the members we serve, everyone has a part to play in prioritizing safety.

Electricity is a necessity, and it powers our daily lives. But we know firsthand how dangerous electricity can be because we work with it 365 days a year. Call (530) 832-4261 or visit our page on safety tips for additional electrical safety tips.

As we enter the heart of spring, we know many members are eager to begin yard projects. Be sure to call 811 before you dig to have utility lines marked.

Tell the operator where you plan to dig and what type of work you are doing. The affected local utilities will send locators to your property, free of charge. Then you will know what’s below and be able to dig safely without causing damage.

As irrigation season approaches, it is a great time to remind members to look up and live.

Whether cutting trees, working with irrigation pipe or other long objects, look up and be sure to avoid power lines.

Telecommunications

A reminder to members: If you are looking for service or wondering if you should make a long-term commitment with another provider, please check with us first. We hear time and again that if people knew our services were about to arrive, they wouldn’t have signed a different provider’s long-term contract.

Given our fast speeds, you can stream videos on multiple devices at the same time without slowing down. We have had many customers replace their TV provider with web streaming services, ultimately lowering their monthly bills. We continue to expand broadband coverage throughout the region.

We are actively converting most of our Graeagle coaxial customers to fiber optic and are about to convert the nonfunctioning coax system in Loyalton to fiber optic.

We are also waiting for the final route blessing from the California Public Utility Commission for our four grants. We hope construction will begin soon.

If you do not have fiber optic, the best way to accelerate fiber optic deployment is to download the CalSpeed.org app for your devices or computers. Running this app through your wired internet (not a cellular connection) will help us get additional grants to speed up fiber optic deployment.

If you haven’t already, get on our interest list or sign up for service by calling us at (530) 832-4261 or visiting Plumas Sierra Telecommunications.

If you have any questions, please contact me at (530) 832-4261 ext. 6076, or email me.

Sincerely,
Bob Marshall
General Manager 

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – April 2022

Dear Members:

The cooperative board and staff are watching the power and fuel markets in California this spring. Prices are up for power and natural gas, and that impacts our wholesale power costs. Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (PSREC) gets up to 50% of our power from hydropower, and the ongoing drought is forcing us to buy replacement power while still paying for the missing hydropower.

We are reviewing the needs for rate adjustments for 2022 and 2023. As always, we will let the membership know if any rate increase is proposed.

Lineworker Appreciation Month

April is Lineworker Appreciation Month. Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative lineworkers are responsible for keeping power flowing day and night, regardless of holidays, vacations, birthdays, weddings or other important family milestones.

Beyond the years of specialized training and apprenticeships, it takes internal fortitude and a mission-oriented outlook to be a good lineworker.

In PSREC’s service territory and across the country, electric co-op lineworkers’ mindset of helping others often extends beyond their commitment to their work and into their communities.

Given the dedication of PSREC’s lineworkers both on and off the job, I encourage you to take a moment to acknowledge the many contributions they make to our local community. In the past two years, we have dealt with four massive wildfires. Even though the fires burned under our transmission lines, we were able to keep the power on with few interruptions.

Telecommunications

The outage on March 7 was caused by damage done to our main fiber line by a non-cooperative organization in the Lemon Valley area. We are working on long-term fixes to outages like this. There are several projects underway, and we will share information about them as we get confirmation that they are started.

We have received additional grants to offer fiber optic service to a variety of areas, including Elysian Valley, parts of Doyle, Johnstonville, eastern Sierra Valley, C-Road/Mohawk Vista, parts of Cromberg/Spring Garden, and Old Truckee Road in Sierraville.

If you are looking for service or wondering if you should make a long-term commitment with another provider, please check with us first. We hear again and again that if people knew our services were about to arrive, they wouldn’t have signed a different provider’s long-term contract.

Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications’ fiber optic services offer speeds up to 1 gigabyte per second. Our coax service offers speeds up to 25 megabytes a second, and our wireless broadband service offers download speeds of up to 20 Mbps. With these speeds, you can stream videos on multiple devices at the same time without slowing down. You could even replace your TV provider with streaming services.

We continue to expand broadband coverage throughout the region. If you haven’t already done so, get on our interest list or sign up for service by calling us at (530) 832-4261 or visiting Our Website.

Fire Prevention

As the weather improves, we will begin our right-of-way work, including clearing poles, trimming trees, and removing trees that threaten our rights-of-way and our communities. Your help is greatly appreciated with this crucial ongoing project.

Our members have helped identify trees that have turned color or are clearly damaged. This is a big help—sometimes trees die and turn color after we’ve inspected them for the year.

Another way to help is cooperating with us when we need to remove trees. We don’t cut trees unnecessarily because it is a big expense to the cooperative. If a tree is a hazard tree, we are legally required to remove it. When members cooperate with us on tree removal, it reduces our costs—which helps keep rates down—and keeps us all safe. Given California’s strict liability standard, PSREC must remove all identified hazard trees off our lines.

Retirements

We had a few key retirements recently. Paul Erwin, our longest serving lineman, and Corby Erwin, our member and energy services manager, have retired. Also retiring is Teri Ward, one of our customer service representatives, and Charlie Sculio, our co-generation plant manager. We wish all of them well and we appreciate all their hard work through the years!

Between our grants and retirements, we have been hiring. If you know someone interested in working for PSREC and PST, the best way is to watch the website on our Employment page.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please call me at (530) 832-4261 ext. 6076, or email Me.

Sincerely,
Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — March 2022

Dear Members:

We are pleased to announce we received additional grants to offer fiber-optic service to a variety of areas, including Elysian Valley, parts of Doyle, Johnstonville, eastern Sierra Valley, C-Road/Mohawk Vista, parts of Cromberg/ Spring Garden/Greenhorn Ranch, and Old Truckee Road in Sierraville.

When we build the awarded projects—and other projects of our own—we can serve homes along the route.

Grant projects take a lot of work with short timelines. We try to ensure we serve as many of you as possible while keeping our existing services up and running. Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (PSREC) continues to improve on its other services. We have been upgrading our wireless system so the entire system can carry more data, improving customer experiences. We are working to replace coaxial service in parts of Graeagle with fiber-optic service, allowing download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second with unlimited data use.

Be assured we are building fiber as fast as we can while upgrading other services where we can. Please email me if you have questions about our plans. If you aren’t already on our interest list, visit Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications or call (530) 832-4126 to sign up for service.

SmartHub

At PSREC, we work hard to empower our members to take charge of their energy consumption.

Our secure SmartHub app has tools you can use to access your historical energy use. This data can be graphically compared to temperature data for your area. We have observed that despite several other variables, the heating portion of most residential electric bills increases 3% for every degree the average daily temperature drops below 50 Fahrenheit.

Increased awareness of energy consumption habits allows you to choose when and how to save energy and, in turn, lower your bill. If you don’t already have an online profile, create one in SmartHub to access this helpful information. To start visit our website and click the “Register for Online Access” link in the green login box.

To create your SmartHub profile, you need your account number and other identifying information for the primary account holder. If you have any difficulty, please give us a call at (530) 832-4261. We are happy to assist you. This is also a good time to ensure we have your current and complete contact information.

This allows us to continue to provide the high level of service you expect and deserve. Accurate information enables us to improve customer service and enhance communications for reporting and repairing outages.

While we always do our best to maintain service, we occasionally plan outages to update, repair or replace equipment. In these instances, we provide advance notification to affected members through automated phone messages, text messages, or email if we have updated contact information and communication preferences.

Rest assured, when you provide your contact information to the co-op, we will never share it with any third parties. PSREC only uses it to send important information to you. Please take a moment to confirm or update your contact information by signing into your account on our website, through the SmartHub app, or by calling us at (530) 832-4261.

Scholarships

Attending a college or university next fall? PSREC and Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications offer two $1,000 scholarships. Full details and an application can be found on our Scholarships page. The application deadline is April 25.

Get Ready for Spring Safely

Spring is just around the corner, and we are starting to plan for outdoor projects.

While you are eager to get an early start, please don’t ignore safety. Check your surroundings, both high and low. Be aware of overhead power lines when trimming trees or shrubs. If you are digging holes for new fence posts or planting trees or shrubs, please first call 811.

The process is quick and easy. The 811 call center will take your information and notify PSREC and other utilities of your request. A professional is dispatched from the co-op and other utility services to identify and mark the location of underground lines where you plan to dig.

Please call a few days before you plan to work to allow for processing.

Be aware of any overhead power lines in your area. Look up before moving irrigation pipes, using a ladder, installing a new antenna or flagpole, or moving large trucks, trailers, or heavy equipment.

For indoor projects that involve wiring and electrical fixtures, make sure you turn the power off at the breaker panel to avoid being shocked. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It just might save your life.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please call me at (530) 832-4261 ext. 6076 or email me.

Sincerely,
Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — February 2022

Dear Members:

As many of you know, PSREC was without our main power supply from July 13 to December 10, when we were able to reconnect to the PG&E grid to the west. We took a short outage December 20 to repair a problem deep in the woods by Massack that would have been a significant problem when the storms hit. Our crews were scouring the main line when they found the problem and were able to quickly repair it.

I would like to thank our line crews who have worked tirelessly at all hours of the day and night in terrible weather during the recent storms to restore power as quickly as possible to our members.

As this gets to you in the heart of winter, there is still the possibility for more majorstorms. PSREC provides outage notifications via email, text, social media, and our website. To get notices, sign in to SmartHub and visit the Manage Notifications section to select the alerts you would like to receive. If you need assistance, please call us at (530) 832-4261.

For more information on outage preparedness, visit our Outage Tips Page. You can also view areas affected by outages on the outage map page.

Community Solar

The PSREC Community Solar Program is still offering blocks of 100 kilowatt-hours a month to members who want to use solar. PSREC offers members the choice of a monthly adder to their existing rate or a one-time upfront fee to participate in community solar.

PSREC’s Community Solar Program is a great option for members who may not want to make a large upfront investment in a solar power system, or rent or live in an area where a solar power system would not produce optimal energy output. Community solar is a maintenance-free way to participate in renewable power without solar panels on your roof.

PSREC is working with the California Energy Commission to allow our community solar program to satisfy Title 24 solar requirements for new construction. If you are getting ready to build, contact us for more information.

To sign up for PSREC’s Community Solar Program, please call (530) 832-4261 or visit our Community Solar page.

Telecommunications

It has been an exciting time for Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications. We have completed construction of the California Advanced Services Fund grant projects to bring service to some of the hardest-to-reach areas of our system, including Keddie, Johnsville, Plumas Eureka, Mohawk Vista, areas of Portola, Lake Davis, Johnstonville, areas of Gold Run, and Elysian Valley.

Our fiber-optic service offers speeds of up to 1 gigabyte per second with unlimited data. We are delighted to begin construction on the most recent grants we just received from the California PUC.

As we build out, we will ensure we can serve as many people as possible along the way. Once we have our routes finalized, we will post them on our website. One area we are building through is Greenhorn Ranch. We have to finish the grants that go to the designated recipients first due to tight deadlines, but we will then work on neighborhoods along the way. We will be applying for more grants for future years.

For more information, or to sign up for service, please call us at (530) 832-4126 or visit Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications.

Scholarships

Two $1,000 scholarships are available. The deadline is Monday, April 25. For more information, please call me at (530) 832-4261 ext. 6076 or email me.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — January 2022

Dear Members:

Happy New Year! 2021 was another trying year for everyone, and we are pleased to begin 2022 with some good news. Plumas- Sierra Telecommunications was awarded four additional California Advanced Services Fund grants totaling more than $22 million to continue expanding broadband services to some of the hardest-to-reach areas of our region. These grants will help PST cover Greenhorn, Spring Garden, parts of Mohawk Valley, parts of Sierra Valley, including Old Truckee Road, and parts of Lassen County. Construction will begin in spring. If you have not yet contacted us to get on our interest list for service, please call us at 530-832-4261 or visit www.pst.coop.

We are also pleased to report that we are back on our normal transmission feed from PG&E. We had been without our primary feed since July 13, 2021. Keeping the lights on has been onerous work for many months. We would really like to thank the Northern California Power Agency for their help in driving PG&E to restore power in a timely manner. We were frustrated by the length of time it took to complete the work, but it is done at last.

Again, thanks so much to the three prisons on our system that were key in keeping your lights on when they ran their own generators. And thanks to Sierra Army Depot for running individual generators for many months.

I can’t thank the hardworking System Control and Data Acquisition team that has staffed the control room for more than four months. If you know them or see them, please thank Jason Harston, Matt Brubaker, Katie Willis, and Tim Retallack for their hard work and dedication that allowed us to keep the lights on for all this time. And please thank the board and any past board members for their support and efforts to make our system reliable. Without the Marble Intertie and our High Sierra Cogeneration plant, we would have had a very difficult time.

Lastly, thanks to every member who conserved power when we needed it!

Continue To Be Prepared for Outages

Even though your cooperative has invested in system improvements, removed hazard trees, and kept up its ongoing maintenance, outages can and will happen. Being prepared can help make the best of a bad situation. Please visit our website for information on outage preparedness and electrical safety. We also would like to encourage everyone to put high-quality surge protection on your home electronics. Manufacturers are supposed to build modern electronics to code, which means they can withstand a surge, but this doesn’t always happen. Between risks posed by lightning, trees, and power surges from the grid, investing in high-quality surge protection will pay for itself over time.

PSREC’s outage notification system provides localized outage information to members via text and email. To view the most up-to-date outage information or to report an outage, please log in to the PSREC SmartHub app on your Apple or Android device, or log in at our website. Please report all outages to us, day or night, at (530) 832-4261 or through the app.

Scholarships

PSREC and PST are again offering scholarships to students who receive either electric or internet services from PSREC or PST at their primary residence in Plumas, Sierra, Lassen, or Washoe counties.

An application is posted on our website. The deadline is April 25. For more information, visit our Scholarships page.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please call me at (530) 832-4261 ext. 6076 or email me.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — December 2021

Dear Members,

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! We hope you have a happy and safe holiday season.

The California Public Utilities Commission will vote on California Advanced Services Fund grant resolutions at its December 16, meeting. Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications submitted four applications to the program. If funded, they will bring broadband services to some of the hardest-to-reach areas of our region including Spring Garden, Greenhorn, Old Truckee Road in Sierraville, and several areas of Lassen County.

Expansion of broadband services funded by the previous CASF awards is nearly complete. Areas of Mohawk Vista, C Road, Johnsville, and parts of Gold Run are open for installations. In addition, Plumas Eureka Estates is open for installations. You can check availability for your location at www.pst.coop or by calling (530) 832-4261.

PST’s internet services are unlimited, so you don’t have to worry about data caps. We offer speeds up to 1 gigabyte per second on our fiber-optic service.

To learn more about our services or get on our interest list, please visit www.pst.coop or call us at (530) 832-4261.

Return to Normal From PG&E

As I write this in mid-November, we have been informed that PG&E has a tentative date of December 17, for the completion of its power line that will allow us to have our primary transmission feedback in service. When we put out conservation notices, we greatly appreciate your help in reducing usage to avoid rolling blackouts. As most of you may know, our primary feed from PG&E burned down July 13. We have been on our backup system and generators ever since.

Getting our primary feedback in service will be a great relief to our hardworking System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) operators who have been staffing the SCADA center 24/7 for more than four months to keep the lights on. If you know them or see them, please thank Jason Harston, Matt Brubaker, Katie Willis, and Tim Retallack for their hard work and dedication.

Eyes & Ears

We spend a tremendous amount of time and money grooming our rights-of-way and maintaining our equipment, but it is a neverending job, and we can always use your help. Our members often let us know when there are problems with our system.

We have a remote, rural power grid with only six customers per mile of power line. When you let us know you think there may be an equipment malfunction or something looks out of place on the line, you help us prevent fires and outages.

Thank you, and please continue to call us if you think something isn’t right. We have operators available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at (530) 832-4261.

Capital Credits

One way electric cooperatives differ from investor-owned utilities is each cooperative depends on its members to provide the necessary funding, or equity, for operation.

Inspired by the idea that people can pool their resources to get things done—a fact that hasn’t changed since PSREC was formed in 1937 by a group of people who banded together to bring electricity to the countryside—your membership ensures access to reliable resources and services – a cornerstone of economic opportunity.

The mechanism by which members contribute equity is known as capital credits, which are determined at the close of each business year by allocating PSREC’s net profits to each member based on the amount of electricity the member purchased.

Capital credit returns are evaluated annually by PSREC’s board of directors. The board has determined PSREC will distribute a refund to members in 2021.

Members in good standing will receive capital credit refunds on their November bills, which are received in December. If less than $50, the refund will appear as a credit on your bill. If your refund is $50 or more, a check will be mailed later in December.

Thank you for your support of PSREC and the common needs of our community!

If you have any questions, please contact me at (530) 832-4261 ext. 6076, or email me.

Sincerely,

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — November 2021

Dear Members,

Power Update

When you receive this, we hopefully will be close to getting our connection back from PG&E. They have given us a rough timeframe of early November for our main transmission feed to be restored. I would like to thank everyone for their patience, support, and continued conservation efforts. It’s been quite a struggle. Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperartive (PSREC) serves three prisons and they all deserve thanks for running their generators as much as possible to reduce load. I would also like to thank Sierra Army Depot for reducing use and running generators to help keep the lights on for everyone.

Past measures implemented by the cooperative lessened the impact of the loss of our main transmission feed. Your board of directors had the foresight to approve the construction of the Marble Intertie back in the 1990s, as well as construction of the High Sierra Cogeneration Power Plant and the solar project on the Sierra Army Depot property. All these projects, along with timely conservation by all the members,have gotten us through this extreme summer, though it hasn’t been perfect. In early October, we had two different outages on the NV Energy backup line—one caused by lightning, and the second by a fire near a transmission pole.

As we head into winter with limited power supply, being prepared for an emergency and knowing what to do during an outage are vital for personal safety and quick restoration of power. Equip your home with a power outage kit. If someone in your home depends on electric-powered life-sustaining equipment, make a plan for backup power. Please install surge protectors on sensitive electronics and appliances. Buy surge protectors that have a warranty for your connected load.

Once we get to winter and the storms hit, if your lights start to flicker, turn off and unplug sensitive electronic equipment immediately and reduce any unnecessary load.

For more information on outage preparedness and safety, visit our website. To receive outage updates via text message, log in to SmartHub and set your notification preferences. If you need assistance signing up for outage communications, please call us at (530) 832-4261.

Questions From Annual Meeting

As discussed last month, we wanted to answer some of the questions we received during the annual meeting.

The first question was: Do we use the same power lines as PG&E and where do we buy our power? Plumas-Sierra buys power from the power markets in California and Nevada, and generates some of its own power. We buy from the Western Area Power Administration and we generate our own power off our system through the Northern California Power Agency. Our High Sierra Cogeneration Plant generates about 20% of our peak needs and our solar installation at the Sierra Army Depot generates additional power. We also buy power through the Utah Association of Municipal Power System. We don’t buy power from PG&E, but they wheel power from the west to our system through some of the same lines that serve their customers.

The second question was: Are your lines overhead or underground? Most of our lines are overhead. Underground service is mostly in newer subdivisions.

Third: How do you pick where to expand fiber-optic? The largest driver of that is grant availability. The grants are very specific on which areas are eligible, as determined by the CPUC.

When we build a grant-funded project, we also use our own funds to expand service into nearby non-grant areas. For non-grant areas not adjacent to grant projects, we analyze factors such as project cost, need for service, and member interest to prioritize areas for expansion.

Winter Rate Assistance Program

We are accepting applications for the Winter Rate Assistance Program, which offers a discounted rate for November through April to income-qualified members.

WRAP provides information to help members conserve energy and offers a discounted electric rate during the heating season.

For more information and a WRAP application, visit our website or call (530) 832-4261.

Telecommunications

Crews have completed repairs to the fiber-optic cable damaged by wildfire and have returned to normal construction and installation schedules. If you have not already contacted us to schedule your service installation, please call (530) 832-4261 or visit Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications (PST).

PST is still waiting to find out from the California Public Utilities Commission if it will be awarded additional grant funds from the California Advanced Services Fund to continue expansion of broadband coverage to the hardest-to-reach parts of our service area. We expect to find out by the end of the year.

Are you on our waiting list? If you would like to check on how soon service is coming to your area, please email our Fiber department. If you would like to sign up for the waiting list or make sure you are still on the list, please email our Fiber department or call us at (530) 832-6021.

If you have any questions, please call me at (530) 832-6076 or email me.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!

Sincerely,

Bob Marshall
General Manager