Manager’s Message — March 2021
We are pleased to announce we received a grant to offer fiber optic service to the Scott Road area and the area west of Bordertown in Sierra Valley. This comes on top of the five grants we are wrapping up.
Some of our members have asked about their locations, and we realized we hadn’t shared all the areas we have been trying to get funding for.
The California Public Utilities Commission oversees the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), which funds broadband expansion in very tightly defined areas that do not have adequate service. Across the country, there is a problem with internet providers reporting more coverage than they really have, leading to many areas not being eligible for funding. This is true in California. We are seeing changes in the process, but improvements with coverage reporting are slow to implement.
The other issue is state funding. We applied for six grants in 2020 but were only awarded one for the Scott Road area. The others were not awarded due to oversubscription of the CASF program throughout the state and the State of California budget shortfall due to COVID. We applied for a variety of areas, including Elysian Valley, parts of Doyle, Johnstonville, eastern Sierra Valley, C-Road/Mohawk Vista, parts of Cromberg/Spring Garden, and even Old Truckee Road in Sierraville.
We are rerunning the numbers and reapplying for many of these areas. When we construct the awarded projects—and other projects of our own—it also allows us to serve homes along the route, including Sunnyside Road and Wingfield Road on the way to Gold Run. Our members at the end of Chandler Road going north benefited from a grant to serve the Old Highway community by Keddie.
The grant projects take a lot of work with short timelines. We try to make sure that we serve as many of you as possible while keeping our existing services up and running.
In addition to the grant projects, PSREC and PST work together on fiber projects that benefit both entities and our members. We built to Sierraville and Calpine on a joint project. Currently, we are developing the plan to reach most of Plumas-Eureka Estates this year. PST is also working on expanding service to Loyalton.
We are continuing improvements on our other services. We just finished upgrading the wireless transmitter at SIRCO in Herlong, allowing faster speeds and less congestion. We are also working on improving service in Sierra Valley as the reliance on at-home learning and at-home entertainment have stressed our system.
Please 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, please visit Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications or call (530) 832-4126 to sign up for service.
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% 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 one, create an online profile in SmartHub to access this helpful information. To get started, go to 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 contact information. By ensuring we have your most accurate and complete contact information, we can continue to provide the high level of service that 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 can provide advance notification to affected members through automated phone messages, text messages, or email if we have your updated contact information and communication preferences.
Rest assured, when you provide your contact information to the co-op, we will never share this information 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 at our website, through the SmartHub app, or by calling us at (530) 832-4261.
Attending a college or university next fall? PSREC and PST offer two $1,000 scholarships. Full details and an application can be found at our website. The application deadline is April 26.
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 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 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.