Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — May 2019

Dear Members:

The electric utility industry in California is rapidly changing due to legislation and wildfire impacts. Given the last two horrific fire years, the California Legislature and the California Public Utilities Commission have been busy adding additional requirements for all electric utilities in California. Sometimes, and for some utilities, these regulations make great sense. In other cases, they add significant costs with marginal benefits, especially to utilities that have been working hard to maintain and operate a safe electrical grid.

Your board of directors and management team strives to operate the cooperative in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible, but the costs to operate the cooperative are increasing due to these changes in regulatory requirements and continued tree mortality. As a result, the board is considering a mid-year rate increase..

It has been five years since the last increase of 3.7 percent. The wet winter this year has allowed us to delay the proposed increase to the middle of 2019. However, we will not be able to count on another wet winter, and we must plan for normal years. In addition, even though we have received the benefit of increased hydropower this year, other power costs have increased, offsetting our wet-year savings. Members have indicated to us at past rate meetings they would prefer to see multiple smaller increases rather than one large cost increase.

We will host meetings May 7 and 8 to discuss the proposed rate increase and Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan. The meeting on Tuesday, May 7, is at 6 p.m. at the Milford Community Center. The meeting on Wednesday, May 8, is at 6 p.m. at the PSREC headquarters in Portola. We encourage you to attend one of these member-only meetings if you would like to learn more and provide input on PSREC’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan and the proposed rate increase.

At this time, the proposed rate increase would affect only the facilities charge and would be implemented in two parts. The first increase, if approved, would take effect July 1 and be an additional $4.32 for residential members. The second increase, if approved, would take effect January 1, 2020, and be an additional $2.67 for residential members.

As much as possible, we try to operate on a cost-of-service basis, meaning each member pays the costs associated with providing service to their property, and each rate class should have roughly the same rate of return. Our cooperative’s costs do not change much with use. Up to 70 percent of our costs are fixed, including the cost of operating the utility and the fixed portion of our power plants. We are collecting only a portion of our fixed costs through facilities charges. We also try to get the cost of service as close as possible to actual costs when looking at all electric homes  versus homes that use primarily propane, or seasonal  versus full-time residents. For these reasons, the proposed rate increase will be to the facilities charge so we can collect more of our fixed costs through the fixed fees.

We will have more information on residential, small commercial and irrigation rates at the meetings. Please join us May 7 or May 8 to learn more and provide your input.

Director Elections

This year, Districts 2 and 5 are up for election. District 2 (Graeagle-Mohawk areas) is served by Dick Short. District 5 (Lake Davis-Long Valley-Washoe County areas) is served by David Hansen. The boundaries of each district are on the PSREC website if you would like to check on which one you live in.

See page 28 of this month’s Ruralite for qualifications and nomination information for the board of directors.

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 the fourth Wednesday. Directors must attend significant training to stay current on issues and become certificated as a director.

Look Up and Live

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 moving any long objects, make sure you look up for power lines.

Telecommunications

We continue to upgrade our broadband network across the region. If you have not contacted us to be put on the interest list, call us today at 800-221-3474, or visit our website at www.pst.coop. We are upgrading the system in sections and will contact those on our interest lists first to offer services.

With plans offering download speeds of 20Mbps or more, depending on location, multiple-device households finally can stop fighting over bandwidth.

To sign up, give us a call at 800-221-3474 or visit our website at www.pst.coop. If you have any questions, please contact me at 800-555-2207 ext. 6076, or email me at bmarshall@psrec.coop.

Sincerely,

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — April 2019

Dear Members:

Lineworker Appreciation Day is April 8. National studies consistently rank power line installers and repairers among the most dangerous jobs in the country, and for good reason. Laboring high in the air wearing heavy equipment and working directly with high voltage creates the perfect storm of a dangerous and unforgiving profession. But electric lineworkers are up to the task. These brave men and women are committed to safety, as well as the challenges of the job.

Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative’s lineworkers are responsible for keeping power flowing day and night, regardless of national 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 fact, this service-oriented mentality is a hallmark characteristic of lineworkers. The job requires lineworkers to set aside their personal priorities to better serve their local community.

To perform their jobs successfully, lineworkers depend on their years of training, experience and each other to get the job done safely.

Equally important is their reliance on a strong support system at home. A lineworker’s family understands and supports their loved one’s commitment to the greater community during severe storms and power outages. This means in times of prolonged outages, the family and their lineworker may have minimal communication and not see each other for several days. Without strong family support and understanding, this challenging job would be all the more difficult.

In PSREC service territory and across the country, electric co-op lineworkers’ mission-focused mentality of helping others often extends beyond their commitment to their work at the co-op. Lineworkers are often familiar figures in the community. They can be found coaching youth sports teams, volunteering for local charities and serving on local advisory boards.

Monday, April 8 is Lineworker Appreciation Day. Given the dedication of PSREC’s lineworkers, both on and off the job, I encourage you to take a moment and acknowledge the many contributions they make to our local community. If you see their family members in the grocery store or out and about in town, please offer them a thank you as well.

Communications

Have you visited PSREC and PST’s Facebook pages lately? If you are curious and want the most up-to-date information about your cooperative and its subsidiary, please find us on Facebook under Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative and Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications. Please also take a moment to review us on Google, Yelp and Facebook.

We post systemwide power outage notifications and other useful information, such as updates and tips. If you are not on Facebook, no worries! Check out www.psrec.coop and www.pst.coop to stay informed. You can also receive major, systemwide outage updates via text message. To sign up for text notifications, text PSREC to 95577.

Another method of member communication is through your smartphone with our SmartHub app, available for Apple and Android devices. You can pay your bill, view your energy-use history and contact us from the convenience of your smartphone, tablet or other devices.

Telecommunications

PST’s coax and wireless broadband services offer download speeds of up to 20Mbps. Our fiber optic services offer speeds up to 1Gbps. With these speeds, you can stream videos on multiple devices at the same time without slowing down. You could even eliminate your TV bill with streaming services.

PST has successfully completed an upgrade in part of Graeagle from old coax to fiber optic. The coax in this area was sending feedback and noise into the entire area, reducing speeds for a large portion of Graeagle. With this upgrade, service for the existing coax will be improved. PST is currently working to replace poor-condition coax with fiber optics in portions of West Quincy, and will then be doing the same for Chandler Road, American Way and Hillside. We are expanding as quickly as we can. Letting us know that you want service and what your existing service is will help us plan our expansion.

We are also pleased to announce we have a new wireless access point in Doyle and another serving the Herlong Flats area. We expect new access points in the Cowboy Joe Road and Ward Lake areas later this spring.

For more information and to sign up for service, call us at 800-221-3474 or visit www.pst.coop.

PST has submitted applications for grant funding from the California Public Utilities Commission Advanced Services Fund for parts of the Highway 70 corridor between Quincy and Graeagle, including part of Greenhorn Ranch. We are also applying for service to Johnsville, Lake Davis, parts of southern Sierra Valley, Elysian Valley and Gold Run, parts of C-Road, Mohawk Vista, and Maybe. The grants are limited to areas where the CPUC—not the homeowner— has decided that there isn’t adequate service. People outside of the grant areas will also benefit by the fiber optic being brought closer to more neighborhoods, which will improve wireless service as well as coax service. We will find out in October if we are awarded funding to proceed with these projects.

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please call me at (800) 555-2207 ext. 6076, or email me at bmarshall@psrec.coop. 

Sincerely,

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — March 2019

Dear Members:

It has been a fairly wild winter so far, and I would like to thank the hard work of Jason Harston, manager of engineering and operations; Scott Welch, district manager for the northern portion of our system and our entire operations team for the great work they have done in maintaining and upgrading our system.

I write these updates about two weeks before you receive the magazine, and there is always the worry of a significant outage having occurred by the time it gets to you, but we are pleased with the reliability of our system through mid-February.

Your board of directors has supported a continued commitment to reliable and safe electric service through the years and it shows.

Pacific Gas and Electric has declared bankruptcy and we are evaluating the impact on Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative. We are also reviewing the costs of new and proposed regulations in the aftermath of the significant fires in California across the last two years.

It has been five years since we had a rate increase, and we are looking at a potential increase in the fixed charges in the not-to-distant future. PSREC’s staff will be discussing this with the board of directors and with the membership when, and if, such an increase is needed.

Energy Savings

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

Through our secure SmartHub app, we have 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 while there are several other variables, the heating portion of most residential electric bills increases 3 percent for every degree the average daily temperature drops below 50 F.

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 one, create an online profile to access this helpful information. To get started, click the “Register for Online Access” link in the green login box at www.psrec.coop.

You need your account number and other identifying information for the primary account holder. If you have any difficulty, please give us a call. We are happy to assist you.

Telecommunications

Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications is working to replace the coax system in portions of west Quincy with fiber optics to provide broadband services with download speeds up to 1 Gbps and unlimited data use. If you aren’t already on our interest list, please visit www.pst.coop or call 800-221-3474 to sign up for service.

We are also working on fiber optic for Chandler Road, American Way, and Hillside in parallel with parts of west Quincy. If you are in these areas and interested in service, please let us know as soon as possible, if you haven’t already.

Other key projects include the replacement of an irreparable part of the coax system with fiber optic. We expect to start cutting out parts of the coax system in part of Graeagle, which will also improve the overall service in Graeagle.

In Portola, we are about to double the capacity of the northern part of town.

Scholarships

Attending a college or university next fall? PSREC and PST offer two $1,000 scholarships. Full details and an application can be found on our website at www.psrec.coop. The application deadline is Friday, March 15.

Get Ready for Spring Safely

Spring is just around the corner and we are starting to make plans 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 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 locate and mark the location of underground lines where you plan to dig.

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

Be aware of any overhead power lines in your area as well. 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, please call me at (800) 555-2207 ext. 6076, or email me at bmarshall@psrec.coop.

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — February 2019

Dear Members:

We had an interesting storm in early January. The big storm, with wet, heavy snow, shortly after the New Year is just the type of storm that has wreaked havoc on the region in the past, but we are delighted to share that we did not have a single outage.This is attributable to a great deal of hard work, both in strengthening our system and in tree trimming and hazard tree removal. PG&E has also been improving its right-of-way clearance on the transmission lines that serve us from the west.

We also had a good deal of luck. Three winters ago we were prepared, but a windstorm cut both power supplies and knocked down transmission poles. So far, so good, at the time I write this.

There is still the possibility for more major storms. It is important to be prepared and conserve power, when possible, during storms. The lower the load on the system, the easier it is to restore power. During rotating blackouts, we try to give everyone time to cook, bathe and do laundry. If everyone keeps their use to a minimum, we can supply more members with power.

We provide updates via text messages for systemwide outages. To sign up for these updates, text PSREC to 95577.

Community Solar

As you may have seen in the December issue, the PSREC Community Solar Program is now offering 100 kilowatt-hours-a-month blocks to members. PSREC offers members the choice of a monthly adder to their existing rate or a onetime upfront fee to participate in the Community Solar Program.

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

For more information, or to sign up for the PSREC Community Solar Program, please call us at 800-555-2207 or visit www.psrec.coop.

Telecommunications

We continue to expand our broadband services throughout the region, offering unlimited data, net neutrality and speeds of up to 20 Mbps download.

If you haven’t already, please call us to sign up or get on our interest list. We are implementing our plan to provide services to most of the cooperative’s territory that does not have broadband, as well as improve existing services. We also are working to improve service to the cities and towns in our region that do not have reliable, unlimited, high-speed internet.

We previously informed members that we acquired an abandoned cable TV system and have been refurbishing it to provide broadband as quickly as possible to members. This has been a two-steps forward, one-step back process as years of neglect slow the rollout to everyone. We replaced parts of the system in Graeagle with fiber optics, which will improve service to a key affected area, and will improve service to the customers on the coax system, which is a nice win-win.

PST will continue to improve this system, and our other broadband networks over time. We are not here to extract money from the community and ship it out to other regions. As with our electric system, we will steadily improve all our systems and expand our coverage.

For more information, or to sign up for service, please call us at 800-221-3474 or visit www.pst.coop.

Scholarship Deadline Approaches

It is not too late to turn in an application to win one of two $1,000 scholarships. These scholarships are open to high school seniors and older students, with no upper age limit. Details are on page 5 and at www.psrec.coop. The deadline is Friday, March 15.

If you have any questions, please call me at (800) 555-2207 ext. 6076, or email me at bmarshall@psrec.coop.

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — January 2019

Dear Members:

Happy new year! 2018 was a full, productive year for PSREC and PST. PSREC continued to improve system reliability and response times through our Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system. The operations department worked hard to upgrade and automate control of key switches, which will accelerate power restoration in outage situations.

We also increased our vegetation management and removal of hazard trees on our system for reliability and fire safety. State law now requires landowners to allow us on private property to remove trees that are hazardous to our power lines, even when outside of the right-of-way. We appreciate the increased cooperation we have had from our members on this key reliability and safety issue.

The Camp Fire was a horrific event for our neighbors in Butte County. Our cooperative, and the region, was affected as the main feed from PG&E between the central valley and Plumas County was cut a few minutes after 8 a.m. on November 8. PSREC switched to our backup power supply within a few minutes, and stayed partially or wholly on backup power for a few hours short of three weeks.

PSREC has invested in a connection to the Nevada grid and our own cogeneration facility between the state prisons near Susanville. Because we invested in improvements to our system controls, we were able to quickly switch our system in discrete pieces that greatly increased the speed of restoring power. In addition, our brand new solar plant came on line in time to help cover our morning peaks.

After several days, we worked with PG&E and shifted some of our western substations onto PG&E’s islanded system that was keeping Plumas County customers on line. PSREC serves two state prisons and one federal prison. We are grateful they ran their generators day and night, allowing us to carry the rest of the membership until we were able to switch load back to PG&E.

Your board of directors has invested in a reliable grid year after year. We have a far-flung electric system with only six customers per mile of line. These investments have paid off. If it wasn’t for our sustained efforts over time, we would have been faced with rolling blackouts for three weeks.

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, www.psrec.coop, for information on outage preparedness and electrical safety.

You can receive updates on major, systemwide outages via text. To sign up, text “PSREC” to 95577. Please report all outages to us, day or night, at 800-555-2207.

Thanks to our backup transmission feed from NV Energy, our High Sierra Cogeneration Plant, the prisons running their onsite generators and member conservation, we were able to keep the lights on for 20 days during the PG&E outage caused by the Camp Fire. We appreciate everyone pitching in to conserve and prevent rolling blackouts.

Our Operations staff did a great job through all this, working in shifts that covered our SCADA system 24 hours a day during the holidays. Thanks so much to Jason Harston, Scott Welch, and their staff and crews for going above and beyond.

Telecommunications

PST completed upgrades to the old cable TV system to begin offering broadband services via coax in Graeagle and portions of West Quincy. PST also upgraded and installed new wireless access points across our region to improve broadband service availability.

We continue to upgrade the remainder of the system in West Quincy to provide broadband via coax, and will proceed with Chandler Road, Plumas Pines, Loyalton and Sierra Brooks expansion during 2019.

Please call us at (800) 221-3474 or visit our website at www.pst.coop for more information and to sign up for service.

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 and Washoe counties. An application can be found on page 28. There is no upper age limit to apply for scholarships. The deadline is March 15. More information can also be found on our website at www.psrec.coop.

If you have any questions, please call me at (800) 555-2207 ext. 6076, or email me at bmarshall@psrec.coop.

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — December 2018

Dear Members:

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! We hope you have a happy and safe holiday season. If you or your family are decorating for the holidays, please remember to not overload outlets and circuits, and always look up for overhead lines before you install any tall features or exhibits.

Camp Fire and Back Up Power

On Thursday, November 8, Pacific Gas & Electric cut electric service to Plumas County just after 8 a.m., shortly after the Camp Fire started. According to PG&E, due to the fire there was some damage to their lines that prevented the normal stable connections between PG&E’s Feather River Canyon facilities and its sub-transmission system that serves our communities and PSREC’s main feed.

Plumas-Sierra switched from our primary power supply to our backup within half an hour. PG&E was able to restore power to Quincy shortly after 10 p.m. PG&E was operating in “island” mode, using the Caribou powerhouse to carry their Plumas County customers. They did not have the capacity and stability to carry PSREC’s system.

The PSREC backup system is a limited capacity line, enhanced by 6 megawatts of our generation at the High Sierra Cogeneration Plant. In addition, all three of the prisons on our system used their internal generation to carry their own loads.

PSREC recently completed a solar project in partnership with Sierra Army Depot.

As of this writing, the generation, in combination with our members conserving power, meant we were on backup power for 150 hours straight.

Thanks to everyone who conserved power! It made a real difference. The PSREC Board of Directors has invested considerable time and money into making our system resilient. This would have been a disaster without our past efforts. Thanks to Jason Harston, our manager of engineering and operations, and his team, which has manned the control room at all hours, making sure we kept the lights on.

The member services department did a good job of making sure everyone understood what was happening. If you would like updates on major outages via text, please text PSREC to 95577.

Capital Credits

One of the ways electric cooperatives are different 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 the net profits of PSREC to each member based upon the amount of electricity they 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 2018.

Members in good standing will receive capital credit refunds on their December bills, received in January. If less than $100, the refund will appear as a credit on your bill. If your refund is $100 or more, you will be mailed a check in January.

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

Telecommunications News

PST now hosts its own speed test site, which will allow you to get a more accurate speed test directly from PST’s servers, instead of a server in another state. The speed test site is speedtest.pst.coop, and can be linked to from any page at www.pst.coop.

Progress on expanding broadband services in Quincy on the coax system is going well. We recently opened a new area behind Safeway and are working on repairs for the rest of West Quincy and Chandler Road. When the Quincy and Chandler Road areas are complete, we will then be working in Plumas Pines, Loyalton and Sierra Brooks.

PST’s internet services are unlimited, so you don’t have to worry about data caps, and speeds go up to 20 Mbps download.

If you have any questions, please call me at (800) 555-2207 ext. 6076, or email me at bmarshall@psrec.coop.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — November 2018

Dear Members:

PSREC’s crews work year-round to prevent outages, and have been preparing for winter’s arrival. Being prepared for an emergency and knowing what to do during an outage are vital for personal safety and quick restoration of power.

If your lights start to flicker, turn off and unplug sensitive electronic equipment immediately, and reduce any unnecessary load. Visit our website at www.psrec.coop for more information on outage preparedness and safety. To receive updates on major, systemwide outages via text message, text “PSREC” to 95577.

Telecommunications

PST continues to repair and upgrade the coax system in Quincy to provide broadband services. The coax system has needed more repairs and upgrades than expected in some areas, especially Graeagle, causing delays in our deployment schedule. Once we have completed system repairs in west Quincy, we will move to additional areas, including Chandler Road, Loyalton/Sierra Brooks, and Plumas Pines.

For more information about PST broadband services or to get on our interest list, please visit www.pst.coop, or call (530) 832-4126.

Winter Rate Assistance Program

We are accepting applications for the Winter Rate Assistance Program, which offers a discounted rate for November through April use 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 an application, visit www.psrec.coop, or call (530) 832-4261.

New California Laws

Gov. Jerry Brown just signed into law two bills that affect PSREC and the entire utility business. The first is SB 100, which requires all utilities to have 100 percent clean power by 2045. This can include large hydropower facilities. This is ambitious and will probably require advances in technology and/or modifications over time.

The second one of note is AB 2911, which allows electric utilities to remove hazard trees along electric utility right-of-ways. This includes hazard trees outside of the right-of-way, but that could hit the power lines. There are notification provisions, which PSREC will follow, but we will work diligently over time to remove hazard trees as we find them. We appreciate your cooperation in our wildfire prevention and reliability efforts.

Youth Opportunities

Plumas-Sierra and its subsidiary offer many life-changing opportunities to local young people, including scholarships and the Washington Youth Tour.

These programs provide enriching experiences to help young people discover themselves and their roles as citizens. They also introduce them to the cooperative way, teaching the value of involvement and commitment to their communities.

Application deadlines are fast approaching. Don’t let your children miss out on these opportunities. Please see story “Win an All-Expenses-Paid Trip to Washington, D.C.” for more information about the Washington Youth Tour.

Applications and information on our youth programs are available on our website at www.psrec.coop, or by calling the Member Services Department at (530) 832-4261.

If you have any questions, please call me at (800) 555-2207 ext. 6076, or email me at bmarshall@psrec.coop.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – October 2018

Dear Members:

The 2018 PSREC Annual Member Meeting was a great event. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the day. Eastern Plumas Health Care held another excellent health fair. We would like to thank them for participating in our annual meeting and offering free and significantly discounted services to members. The Las Plumas 4-H Club served an excellent lunch of tri-tip sandwiches, pulled-pork sandwiches and veggie burgers. The Calpine Elks called several games of bingo, and members took home great prizes, including the grand prize of a 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan.

During the event, Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications highlighted its plans for broadband expansion in the region. If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can get information on our broadband services by visiting www.pst.coop.

Sonja Anderson of the Western Area Power Administration, Randy Howard of the Northern California Power Agency and Jackie Coombs of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems provided updates on the electric industry during the business meeting.

All the speakers discussed key issues facing your cooperative and the electric utility industry as a whole. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed SB100, an ambitious law that mandates 100 percent clean power by 2045. As the speakers shared at the meeting, this law will impact how utilities operate in the years to come. A key takeaway from the meeting was the need for the cooperative to stay active politically to protect the interests of our member-owners.

We had a lively question-and-answer session, covering both broadband expansion and the impact of new fire prevention regulations. As we go to press, there are bills on the governor’s desk that may impact our operations, both positively and somewhat negatively.

The board of directors is the governing body for Plumas-Sierra REC and Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications. They set policy, strategic direction, rates, and budgets. They attend classes and work hard to understand the complexities of the electrical utility industry and the telecommunications business. We thank them all for their hard work and commitment to PSREC.

In a contested election, the members elected Larry Price to District 1. We would like to thank Sean Harris and Rick Whitsell for running for the board. It’s great to see strong interest in our cooperative. We had two uncontested elections—Fred Nelson was re-elected to District 3 and Dave Roberti was re-elected to District 4.

After the annual meeting, the directors elected board officers: Fred Nelson as president, Dick Short as vice president and David Hansen as secretary/treasurer.

If you have any questions, please call me at (800) 555-2207 ext. 6076, or email me at bmarshall@psrec.coop.

Sincerely,

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – September 2018

Dear Members:

The cooperative’s 2018 annual meeting is Saturday, September 8. We hope you will join us for a fun, informative day at the co-op. This year’s meeting will feature broadband information, a health fair by Eastern Plumas Health Care and great prizes, including $500 off your electric bill and a 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport.

We also have the election for the board of directors. Three strong candidates are vying for the District 1 seat. If you do not vote by mail, you can vote at the meeting.

This is always a lively event, with great opportunities to ask questions about your electric cooperative and its telecommunications business.

Wildfires

Our thoughts are with all those affected by the devastating wildfires. PSREC sent line crews and equipment to Redding to assist in rebuilding Redding Electric Utility’s infrastructure after the Carr Fire destroyed a large portion of its system.

PSREC does all it can to prevent wildfires from starting in our service area. We extensively trim and remove hazard trees and vegetation from our rights-of-way and put our system on single-shot, which means that if a fault is detected, the line is shut down. This will prevent our equipment from trying to reclose, or re-energize, helping to decrease 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 have been working with Pacific Gas and Electric to see the impact of its Community Wildfire Safety Program. One worrisome component is a plan by PG&E to turn off power if there is an extremely high risk of their lines causing a fire. We are concerned that a lack of power will lead to many more issues and dangers, including a lack of water and lack of communications for our region.

We will be working hard to keep our backup power in place and we will be working with PG&E to minimize the impact of their programs on our members.

WRAP Program

We are again offering a discounted rate for qualifying members through our Winter Rate Assistance Program. The discounted rate is available for November through April electricity use to income-qualified members.

For more information and an application, visit www.psrec.coop, or call (530) 832-4261.

Youth Opportunities

As part of our commitment to the communities we serve, PSREC and its subsidiary offer life-changing opportunities to local youth, including scholarships and the Washington Youth Tour.

These programs provide enriching experiences to help young people discover themselves and their roles as citizens.

They also introduce them to the cooperative way, teaching the value of involvement and commitment to their communities.

Please see our story Win an All-Expenses-Paid Trip
to Washington, D.C.!
for more information about the Washington Youth Tour. Visit our website at www.psrec.coop for more information on all of our youth opportunities.

Telecommunications

PST continues to expand broadband coverage in the region. We are currently focused on areas with high interest that are in relatively good repair on the old cable TV system we acquired.

Expanding in this way allows us to bring in revenue more quickly, which will let us reinvest in expanding to the harder-to- reach areas. This has been a frustrating process. In some areas, the cable TV system has needed more repairs than we had hoped. The Graeagle system, in particular, turned out to have an odd mix of cable types and sizes. Please be assured that we will continue to improve the systems until they are reliable.

We will discuss our plans for various areas at the annual meeting.

We are also working with various communities on harder-to-reach areas as well, but those projects take more planning—and sometimes even grants—to make them work. For more information about our telecommunications products, including coverage maps, please visit our website at www.pst.coop.

If you have any questions, please call me at (800) 555-2207 ext. 6076, or email me at bmarshall@psrec.coop.

Sincerely,

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Manager's Message

A Letter to the Members – August 2018

Dear Members:

Photograph of Dave Roberti standing outside in front of trees
Dave Roberti
Board President
District 4

2017 was a good year. We are proud to say there was no rate increase.

Unfortunately, 2018 has been a year of loss. Our former Chief Financial Officer, Rob Binder, passed away in April, and District 1 Director Dan Kenney passed away in May.

Rob was a knowledgeable, dedicated CFO who brought significant telecommunications experience and a great sense of humor to the cooperative. Rob’s experience lent a great calming influence in dealing with the shark pit that can be the telecommunications industry.

He was here for just under a year when he discovered that he had cancer. He spent the next year fighting while staying engaged with work as best he could.

Dan was a dedicated director for Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative and Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications.

Photo of Bob Marshall
Bob Marshall
General Manager

He joined the PSREC/PST boards in 2007. Dan immediately contributed. He worked hard to understand the complexities of both the electric and telecommunications businesses. Dan represented the cooperative at the Northern California Power Agency and he became chairman of the Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications board. He provided key leadership in implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Fiber Optic Grant received by PST and expansion of the system, including acquisition of the coax network and expansion of the wireless service.

He did this while also being active with the Long Valley Community Services District, including stints as fire chief, assistant fire chief and as a member of their board of directors.

Even when Dan became ill, he fought his illness and worked hard on behalf of the member-owners and our community to the end. He was a gracious, kind, tough and thoughtful member of the board of directors.

The board and staff of PSREC/PST deeply miss both Rob and Dan.

Electric Service

We are glad to share that we had another year without a rate increase. We are allowed to carry over some of thepower cost savings from 2017 into 2018, and we have been keeping a sharp eye on our expenses, which allowed us to keep things flat for one more year.

We are rebuilding two substations in 2018 and 2019. In the fall, we will replace Graeagle Substation. We will replace Milford Substation next year. After those capi-tal expenditures, we will be focused on paying down our long-term debt over time, while making cost-effective system improvements.

Joint Projects

One way to upgrade our facilities without burdening us with debt are joint electric-telecommunications hybrid projects. These types of hybrid projects are a key way to offer new electric and telecommunications capabilities while not impacting rates.

PSREC and PST worked together to analyze projects with mutual benefits. The board of directors approved two joint projects in 2017. The first was in Mohawk Valley, where the fiber optic system was expanded, wireless services were greatly improved and the coax system was rebuilt in Whitehawk. This also allowed us to add system control and data acquisition to a key switch in Mohawk Valley. It has already paid benefits through faster power restoration.

The second project was in the Chandler Road area. We moved an electric switch to a more accessible area, and connected that distribution switch to SCADA control, improving restoration times.

We are building to a second switch on Quincy Junction Road that will further improve service. We have begun adding fiber optic customers in that area and will rehabilitate the former cable TV system to provide broadband to our members in the area.

These types of hybrid projects are a key way to offer new electric and telecommunications capabilities without overinvesting in either system.

Telecommunications

2017 was a year for continued growth of PST. We were able to acquire the abandoned cable TV systems in Mohawk Valley, Portola and Loyalton. Crews brought broadband services up on the Portola, Graeagle and Whitehawk systems, and expanded the system in East Quincy.

Wireless broadband services were completed for Susan River Valley, Honey Lake Valley, the northern part of Sierra Valley, Sierra Brooks, Valley Ranch and portions of C Road. We are looking to expand and improve services near Doyle, Janesville and the Standish/Litchfield regions. Research is ongoing into other unserved and underserved areas of the region.

Please see our PST report on page 8 for additional information.

Community Solar

In May, we broke ground on the community solar installation in Herlong along with our major solar project for the U.S. Army. We have been taking information from interested members to sign them up when construction is complete in November.

This community solar program is designed to match that of third party vendors while giving our members surety of power output, the same benefits from using third-party providers, while still getting all the benefits of membership, including no risk and no maintenance.

Final program details will be available at the annual meeting. If you are interested in receiving solar energy from PSREC’s Community Solar Program, please call us at (800) 555-2207 to get details and be placed on the interest list.

We hope you will join us at the annual member meeting on Saturday, September 8.

Please review the enclosed nominations for the District 1 board seat. We have three good candidates. We ask that you review their qualifications and vote.

If you have any questions, please contact me at (800) 555-2207 ext. 6076 or email me at bmarshall@psrec.coop.

Sincerely,

David Roberti
Board President

Bob Marshall signature

Bob Marshall
General Manager

Your PSREC Board of Directors

Photograph of Dick Short standing outside in front of trees

Dick Short
District 2

Photograph of Fred Nelson standing outside in front of trees

Fred Nelson
Board Vice President
District 3

Photograph of Dave Roberti standing outside in front of trees

David Roberti
President
District 4

David Hansen standing outside in front of trees

David Hansen
Secretary/Treasurer
District 5

Photograph of Tom Hammond standing outside in front of trees

Tom Hammond
District 6

Photograph of Nancy Miller standing outside in front of trees

Nancy Miller
District 7

Certificate of Nomination By Nominating Committee

We, the undersigned, attest that the Nominating Committee met in accordance with the bylaws governing Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative. Members of the committee were duly appointed by the board of directors, and charged with the duties of nominating fellow members of the cooperative to run for the position of director. The Nominating Committee wishes to submit the following candidates:

District 1:

  • Sean Harris
  • Lawrence Price
  • Richard Whitsell

District 3:

  • Fred Nelson

District 4:

  • David Roberti

The committee has reviewed the qualifications and performance of the candidates listed above, and recommends these candidates without qualification.

Respectfully submitted,
Chairman, Thomas Connolly and Vice Chairwoman, Alice Parlier

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