- HELP PAYS® results are in
- Ouachita Electric Cooperative to build second solar array with Today’s Power, Inc.
- Attention Juniors - You could win a trip of a lifetime!
- HELP PAYS program operator Eetility has two job openings available!
- From the Managers Desk - “A huge difference in comfort and costs”
- Customer Service Portal and SmartAPP
- CEO Mark Cayce presents update on HELP PAYS at SEEA's Momentum conference
- Gigabit Internet Access Coming to South Arkansas
- State’s Largest Operational Solar Plant Switched On
- Arkansas PSC votes unanimously to approve PAYS tariff
- Georgetown University Energy Prize - News Release
- Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden to add Today’s Power, Inc. solar array
- New Payment Kiosk Available
- Calhoun County Advances in $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize
- From the Managers Desk - Don’t miss out on a chance to visit our nation’s capital
- Having issues with our customer service portal?
- NEW FEATURE - Text report your outage
- Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas linemen electrify two Guatemalan villages
- Together We Save
- Talk to the Manager
March 7, 2017
HELP PAYS® results are in
Release of Preliminary Investment Activity for the HELP PAYS® program
Eight months ago, the Arkansas Public Service Commission voted unanimously to approve Ouachita Electric’s filing of an opt-in tariff for cost effective energy efficiency investments.
Once approved, Ouachita Electric Cooperative replaced its existing on-bill loan program, called HELP, which had been recognized as a best practice model at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Summit. Ouachita implemented its program using the Pay As You Save® (PAYS®) system, and named the program HELP PAYS®.
In the first four months of program operations, Ouachita Electric worked with its program operator, EEtility, to field interest in program participation from 149 customers, all of whom are member-owners of the cooperative. By making the switch to a tariffed on-bill investment program, Ouachita Electric was able to serve renters, which accounted for approximately half of the initial participants.
All of the program performance figures for initial investment activity substantially exceeded similar metrics for the HELP loan program during the same period for the prior year. Including investments made at a local college and a municipal building, the total investment exceeded $1.5 million in the first four months of the program.
Ouachita Electric is releasing these preliminary results due to interest in the field. Using smart meter data, monthly performance will be monitored to provide feedback for continuous improvement in systems and processes for implementation of the program. Ouachita Electric will undertake a retrospective evaluation after a one year of data has been collected.
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March 2, 2017
Ouachita Electric Cooperative to build second solar array with Today’s Power, Inc.
OECC builds 1 MW solar system in Holly Springs, AR
Ouachita Electric Cooperative based in Camden Arkansas recently reached an agreement with Today’s Power Inc. to provide a one-megawatt solar array for the cooperative. OECC provides electric service to approximately 9,400 meters across Ouachita, Calhoun, Dallas, Bradley, and Nevada counties in South Arkansas
The Holly Springs-based facility, which is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2017, will involve an array of about 4,080 panels on a 10-acre site near Holly Springs, Arkansas. The output of the energy produced by the array could provide for the power needs of up to 250 homes for the next 25 years.
This project will be built as a community solar facility that will give members of the cooperative the opportunity to purchase solar power generated from the site near Holly Springs and receive a credit on their individual electric bills without having to install panels on their own homes.
"We are proud to be a part of OECC's commitment to be the leader in offering low cost, safe and responsible energy to its members in south Arkansas. Among the many benefits, adding this solar array as another energy resource will help keep Ouachita Electric Cooperative member’s energy consumption costs at an affordable rate for many years to come," said Chris Burnley, Director of Business Development for Todays Power, Inc.
This is the second project that OECC and TPI have completed as a result of their partnership. A 93 KW solar array was designed and built in 2016 to power the cooperative’s headquarters, operations center, and campus. Since going online in February of 2016, 95% of the electric power needed for the site in Camden has been provided by the solar array.
“All of our solar systems are customized around a cooperative’s wholesale billing drivers and load characteristics specifically to produce maximum value for the cooperative,” said Michael Henderson, President of Today’s Power, Inc.
According to Ouachita Electric Cooperative CEO, Mark Cayce, “the cooperative chose the TPI product because of its safety attributes, the unique architecture of the solar panels, and the reliability that has been demonstrated over the last year to meet our energy needs. Partnering with local industries to bring the first utility scale solar to Arkansas, demonstrating on our own office the feasibility and affordability of using solar power in South Arkansas, and making community solar available to our members is just part of providing more value to being a cooperative member”.
Today’s Power, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives. Today’s Power, Inc. is an authorized distributor and installer for TKS photovoltaic systems.
February 15, 2017
January 24, 2017
HELP PAYS program operator Eetility has two job openings available!
Job Title: Outreach Coordinator for Energy Efficiency On-Bill Financing Programs in Arkansas
Number of positions: 2 Full time or 3 Part time – flexible hours
Location: Mobile office within the service areas of participating Rural Electric Cooperatives in Arkansas and one day per week in Little Rock.
Job Posting: Applications being accepted now thru February 20th, 2017.
Electric cooperatives in Arkansas are catalyzing more investment in energy efficiency upgrades with on-bill financing programs, such as HELP and HELP PAYS. Already these programs are increasing access to energy efficiency, reducing energy bills, and increasing home comfort for hundreds of Arkansans across the state while creating local jobs and generating millions of dollars in local economic benefits for rural Arkansas communities. Now with the support of the Arkansas State Energy Office, the program operator for these programs, EEtility, is hiring two positions for 2 years to catalyze more participation and establish engagement strategies that sustain long-term market growth.
- Each Outreach Coordinator will champion on-bill financing, including tariffed-on bill programs (e.g. HELP PAYS) and loan programs (e.g. HELP), for the purpose of scaling up investment in energy efficiency upgrades through well-demonstrated program designs.
- Coop Member Engagement
- Design a Member Engagement Strategy to (1) engage members of electric cooperatives to participate in on-bill financing programs where they are already available, and (2) engage additional electric cooperatives and their members that are introducing on-bill financing solutions for the first time.
- Develop materials, resources and other support needed for member engagement, education and enrollment. Methods to reach co-op members may include community meetings, leadership development activities, engagement with key accounts with leadership stature in the community, direct phone calls, direct mailings, one-on-one meetings with community members, and social media outreach.
- Collaborate with steering committee members, participating utilities, project partners to implement a member engagement program designed to engage, educate, and enroll co-op members in on-bill financing, which can increase the participation rate of all related rebate and customer education programs for energy efficiency.
- Collaborate with local non-profit organizations, community action agencies, local governments, federal staff of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in each county as well as energy service organizations to identify and help leverage all possible resources to ensure the lowest possible costs for program participants;
Job Qualification Requirements:
- Superior interpersonal communication skills
- Experience with public speaking and good writing skills
- Proficient in Microsoft Word /Excel / Power Point
- Ability to manage/post/update approved Social Media
- Experience with event organizing
- Willing and able to work flexible hours
- Dependable transportation with full vehicle insurance coverage
- Possess Valid Driver’s License
- Able/willing to travel by personal vehicle Statewide (mileage reimbursement)
- Legally employable in the U.S.
- Must pass a background check
- Able to pass a drug test at any time
- Attain a high degree of fluency with the on-bill financing programs for energy efficiency upgrades, approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission on terms that are open to all customers regardless of income, credit score, or renter status;
- Build and manage relationships with key stakeholders and community members statewide;
- During the first six months of the position, gain an entry level (or higher) certification for building energy efficiency to better support co-op staff implementing programs;
- Statewide travel. Primary areas of activity will be in the service areas of Ouachita Electric, South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative, Arkansas Valley, Ozarks, Woodruff and Craighead. See map of all distribution electric cooperatives in Arkansas;
- Track monthly performance metrics for outreach, such as the number of events completed, number of co-op members reached, and number of co-op members enrolled in on-bill financing programs at participating cooperatives;
- Meet regularly with participating utilities to discuss the performance of the member engagement strategy for on-bill financing program and support continuous improvements to both the member engagement strategy and the on-bill financing programs for energy efficiency upgrades.
Part-time / Full-time:
- Contract terms can accommodate preference for full-time work or part time work
- Commensurate with experience. Full time range starting from 22k – 25k annually in addition to mileage reimbursement.
- Contract for up to 2 years with potential for renewal
To apply: Please send current resume and 2 references to email@example.com and put “Outreach Coordinator” in the subject line.
Selection Process: Eligible Candidates will be notified via email no later than Tuesday February 21st, 2017. In person interviews, will be conducted with select Coop and EEtility staff in Little Rock on Friday, February 24th, 2017 or as otherwise indicated. Positions will be offered as soon as candidates are selected. If suitable candidates are not identified, Job position(s) will be re-posted.
Start Date: Once positions are offered/accepted as soon as Background Check is complete.
January 11, 2017
December 30, 2016
Customer Service Portal and SmartAPP
Ouachita Electric's Customer Service Portal and SmartAPP will be down for year end maintenance until January 2, 2017. We appreciate your patience, and wish you a very bright and prosperous New Year.
October 27, 2016
CEO Mark Cayce presents update on HELP PAYS at SEEA's Momentum conference
The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and the Association of Energy Service Professionals invited CEO Mark Cayce to address their Momentum conference, an annual summit for energy efficiency experts and stakeholders across the Southeast.
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Following Ouachita Electric's release of a report on the market response to the HELP PAYS program in its first 4 months, CEO Cayce presented to conference participants the key findings from that report. Presentation slides can be downloaded here.
Mark Cayce said, "SEEA hosted an excellent conference that drew top-flight utility managers, policy makers, public interest advocates, and practitioners in the field of energy efficiency. I've returned home with requests for information from people in multiple states, and I'm proud of our team at Ouachita Electric and our partners for generating such interest with the HELP PAYS program."
June 14, 2016
Gigabit Internet Access Coming to South Arkansas
Gigabit Internet Access Coming to South Arkansas
Ouachita Electric Cooperative and South Arkansas Telephone form ARIS to bring Gigabit Internet Speeds to Southern Arkansas Communities
CAMDEN, AR. – June 16, 2016 – Ouachita Electric Cooperative (OECC) and South Arkansas Telephone (SATCO) have formed a new company called ARIS to bring gigabit internet service to over thousands of homes and businesses in south Arkansas.
ARIS plans to start delivering services to customers in September 2016, with the goal of reaching all of 9500 homes and businesses of the OECC membership with fiber optic network services over the next several years. The initial packages will include options for: Gigabit Internet services, video services with options for up to 70 channels, and digital voice with unlimited local and long distance.
“In the 1930’s and 1940’s it was the electric cooperatives that brought electricity to rural America, today we’re working to bring better access to the internet. This partnership leverages the strengths of both companies. By working together we can better serve our customers as well as our communities and the region. Companies looking to move to South Arkansas can know that they can get the same or higher level of connectivity services they get in large metropolitan areas” states Mark Cayce, General Manager of OECC.
“We’re adding Camden and Hampton, Arkansas to the list of gigabit cities that includes Austin, Dallas, Chattanooga, Chicago, Kansas City and Nashville. These services will be transformative for not only our customers but for our region as well. SATCO believes in partnerships with other entities to help drive economic development for southern Arkansas.” said Mark Lundy Director of SATCO.
“In 2010 SATCO engaged in a public-private partnership with the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON) to maximize a federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant and installed a new 300-mile fiber optic artery across southern Arkansas. The partnership with ARE-ON enabled SATCO to expand and connect with OECC to provide gigabit internet service to some of the most rural areas of the region.” states Mr. Lundy.
OECC members looking to sign up or get more information about the services and packages should go to www.arisark.us or call 877-252-4538.
Ouachita Electric Cooperative serves approximately 9,500 members in Bradley, Calhoun, Dallas, Nevada and Ouachita counties. Incorporated in 1939, the cooperative is based in Camden with a district office in Hampton. The locally owned and managed organization has 39 employees.
For more information contact visit www.oecc.com or call 877-252-4538.
SATCO is a family owned and operated communication provider that has been serving customers since 1916. Starting as a local telephone provider for this area, SATCO has increased its services over the years to give South Arkansas the state of the art digital communication solutions it needs today. SATCO’s voice, video and broadband internet access services keep South Arkansans informed, entertained and connected. And it’s all with provided with the hometown pride and friendly service you’d expect from people who are your neighbors.
For more information please visit www.sat-co.net or call 866-798-2201
April 5, 2016
February 14, 2016
On-Bill Approach for Energy Efficiency Upgrades Spreads Among Rural Electric Co-ops
Ouachita Electric brings no-debt tariff program to Arkansas with unanimous commission approval
[Camden, AR] – Utility regulators in Arkansas have approved a new financing tool for Ouachita Electric Cooperative that will become big news for its members, and the unanimous decision clears the way to expanding investment in energy efficiency by harnessing a proven utility business model.
On February 8, 2016, the Arkansas Public Service Commission approved an optional tariff for Ouachita members that allows the utility to invest in energy upgrades like better insulation and heat pumps, recovering its costs on the bill with a charge that is less than the estimated savings.
With this approach, co-op members receive upgrades that provide lower bills and better comfort with no up-front costs and no personal debt. Renters qualify too because cost recovery is associated with the utility’s meter at the property, rather than with an individual. Ouachita Electric had offered its members loans for energy efficiency upgrades, and it found that renters and families with limited capacity to take on debt were not benefiting.
“As a member cooperative, we want to make sure opportunities for energy savings are open to all our members,” said Mark Cayce, General Manager of Ouachita Electric. “Now we will be able to reach even more of our members with investments that are also strengthening our financial position. I think we’re going to see this take off around the state and look back on this as a watershed moment.”
The tariff approved for Ouachita Electric is called Pay As You Save® (PAYS®), which is also the name of the system upon which it is based, as licensed from Energy Efficiency Institute, Inc. Leading cooperatives in Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina also offer programs based on the Pay As You Save system, and they have reported achieving average energy savings of 25% for participants.
With its unanimous approval, the Arkansas commission cleared the way for other co-ops in the state to follow suit with filings similar to Ouachita Electric. Collectively, seventeen Arkansas co-ops distribute energy to approximately 500,000 members, making Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) the largest provider in the state.
This decision by the Arkansas commission comes as two important national energy leadership associations are convening February 14-17: the winter meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in Washington, DC, and the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) in New Orleans.
“The PAYS tariff is a breakthrough on multiple fronts as utility executives and regulators alike have been searching for business models that are compatible with open competition for cost effective solutions on the customer’s side of the meter,” said Holmes Hummel, founder of Clean Energy Works, which won a Fire Award for PAYS® as a “high impact innovation in energy finance” at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance annual summit. “While participation in the clean energy economy is often restricted by access to financing, the PAYS tariff is opening the doors of opportunity for all.”
More than 90% of the country’s persistent poverty counties are served by electric cooperatives, and Ouachita Electric is among them. It serves Calhoun County, which is among the 252 counties that make up the most distressed area of the country, the Mississippi River delta region. Calhoun County is currently a semifinalist for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize for communities leading the way on energy efficiency.
“Cutting wasted energy leaves money in the pockets of co-op members, particularly for families that need it most,” says Tammy Agard, President of EEtility, Ouachita Electric’s energy efficiency program operator. “The PAYS Tariff makes good business sense for all involved, and we look forward to creating more jobs for contractors as Ouachita scales up investment in the local economy.”
November 18, 2015
Georgetown University Energy Prize - News Release
Calhoun County semi-finalist for Georgetown University Energy Prize Contest
Effort aided by programs implemented by Ouachita Electric Cooperative
Camden, Ark. — Nov. 17, 2015 — Calhoun County is currently leading the Georgetown University Energy Prize contest thanks to the energy efficiency applications being implemented by Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden. The cooperative serves members in Calhoun County.
The Georgetown University Energy Prize contest involves periodic evaluation of energy consumption data from the more than 60 city and county contest applicants across the United States. The contest involves four stages with the final winner to be named by June 2017.
According to Mark Cayce, general manager of Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Calhoun County is in the semifinalist stage, or stage three, and will compete for the next two years to reduce their utility-supplied energy consumption to yield continuing improvements within the county and provide a model for other communities to replicate.
Cayce said the cooperative has worked with municipal and county officials to address energy efficiency practices in government facilities, and it has also implemented an innovative program to assist cooperative members with an easy repayment method for the addition of energy efficiency measures in their homes.
“We are offering the Home Energy Lending Program (HELP) for our members,” Cayce said. “HELP is an on-bill financing program that provides members with an easy payment method for proven cost-effective energy efficiency enhancements. The member avoids having to provide up-front cash for these improvements that result in lower energy bills as well as increased comfort. The energy savings actually offset the financing payment on the bill, resulting in both lower usage and lower bills.”
Cayce said the HELP program works in a four-step process. First, a free home energy assessment/report is provided to the cooperative member. The report identifies the recommended improvements and analyzes the annual energy cost savings associated with each one. Next, the homeowner decides which improvements are desired. These often include adding insulation, reducing air leakage, sealing ductwork and upgrading lighting. Once the improvements are made HELP team members inspect the work and the cooperative writes a check for the cost. The member then pays for the improvements on their monthly bill with the energy costs they save.
The cooperative has also conducted energy audits for municipal, county and school buildings and assisted in the deployment of high efficiency lighting that has resulted in lower energy usage at the facilities.
“We have had great success with the program so far and are excited to be able to help our members and position Calhoun County to win the Georgetown Energy Prize,” Cayce said. “Our goal is, and will always be, to improve the quality of life for our members and this contest is a great avenue to do so.”
Ouachita Electric Cooperative serves approximately 9,419 members in Bradley, Calhoun, Dallas, Nevada and Ouachita counties. Incorporated in 1939, the cooperative is based in Camden with a district office in Hampton. The locally owned and managed organization has 38 employees.
For additional information, contact:
Norma Beaver, Ouachita Electric Cooperative, 877-252-4538 or firstname.lastname@example.org
September 30, 2015
Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden to add Today’s Power, Inc. solar array
Photo from left Michael Henderson, Mark Cayce, Corbit Lamkin, Wanda Taylor, Danny Adams, Lisa Hendrix, Walt Pigott,
Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden, Arkansas broke ground on a new 100-kilowatt AC solar array to be installed from Today’s Power Inc. (TPI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI).
“As a member-owned electric cooperative we strive to respond to the desires of our members when it is economically feasible and cost-effective for the membership as a whole,” said Mark Cayce, general manager of Ouachita Electric Cooperative, which has more than 7,040 members and 9,419 meters. “TPI presented our team with a very efficient solar energy package that met our needs. We are excited to continue to explore the possibilities of methods to ultimately keep the rates for our members as reasonable as possible.”
Cayce said, “The low after-tax installed cost of the system combined with the safety of the low-voltage design sold us on the product. We also take confidence in the fact that TPI’s use of proven, experienced utility construction crews to install their system ensures quality installation.”
According to Michael Henderson, president of TPI, Ouachita Electric is one of many electric cooperatives launching TPI-based solar programs across the country. He said TPI offers electric cooperatives opportunities to realize savings that previously was available only to taxable companies.
The Ouachita Electric solar project is a tenKsolar (TKS) Solar REFLECT XT-26 photovoltaic system that will involve approximately 312 solar panels at 410 watts each will be installed on the cooperative’s campus. The installation will produce enough energy to support the requirements of Ouachita’s headquarters.
June 9, 2015
New Payment Kiosk Available
Ouachita Electric has installed a new payment kiosk which is now located in the foyer of our main office at 700 Bradley Ferry Rd. It is open 24x7, 7 days a week.
February 4, 2015
Calhoun County Advances in $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize
Calhoun County among elite communities across the nation leading the way on energy efficiency
Hampton Arkansas– January 14, 2015] – Today, Calhoun county officially advances to the Semifinal round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition that is challenging communities across the U.S. to rethink their energy use. At a press event in Washington, D.C. today, Calhoun County announced as one of the [TBD] communities who are leading the way on energy efficiency.
“Calhoun County, as well as mayors and executives across the county, have told us that this Prize gives them the momentum to accelerate their energy efficiency efforts,” said Dr. Francis Slakey, Founder and Executive Director of the Georgetown University Energy Prize. Slakey continued, “these Semifinalist communities are leading the way for other small- and medium-size cities and counties to secure their energy efficient future.”
“Everyone individual in this community will gain from this competition. We can all lower our total energy cost, improve our environment, and make this a better place for us all to live and work.” Said Mark Cayce the General Manager for Ouachita Electric Cooperative.
Calhoun County joins 50 communities from around the country in this friendly competition to improve energy efficiency for all. “The competition looks truly like America,” said Dr. Slakey. “Not only do these communities come from across the map, they represent the nation’s full political, social and economic diversity. Some are paying the highest prices for energy, some have the ambition to be carbon net-zero, but all communities share the goal of transforming America's energy future.”
To learn more about the Georgetown University Energy Prize and to track the competition’s progress, visit www.guep.org, or follow the Prize on Twitter (@GUEnergyPrize) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/guenergyprize).
For more information about Calhoun County’s efforts and ways you can get involved, please contact the Ouachita Electric Cooperative office at 877-252-4538.
About Calhoun County
Calhoun County was formed on December 6, 1850, from parts of Dallas, Ouachita and Bradley counties. It is named for John C. Calhoun, an American statesman and political philosopher and Vice President of the United States. Hampton is the county seat. Calhoun County is Arkansas’ 55th county. The county is small, averaging less than 10 people per square mile. The economic base is timber, sand, and gravel. The landscape of the county is made up of rolling hills and is largely forested. Calhoun County shares with Cleveland County the Moro Creek Bottoms Natural Area, one of the few almost completely intact tracts of virgin hardwoods still existing in Arkansas. Calhoun County has the feeling of togetherness with the many ball fields and playgrounds. Most of the citizens take time for ball tournaments held at the Calhoun County Park or Hampton Recreation Fields. Varied water recreation is available within easy reach of anywhere in the county, and hunting is also a popular sport.
About Georgetown University Energy Prize
The $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize challenges small- to medium-size towns, cities, and counties to rethink their energy use, and implement creative strategies to increase efficiency. To compete for the Prize, local governments, residents, utilities, and others will need to work together to demonstrate success in sustainably reducing energy consumption over a two-year period. For more information, visit www.guep.org.
SEMIFINALIST LIST AND MAP
The following 50 communities have been selected to advance to the Quarterfinalist phase of the Georgetown University Energy Prize:
This group of 50 select cities and counties who will be competing through 2016 to reduce their energy consumption and are vying to make it into the Finalist round in 2017. A full-page version of the competitors map may be downloaded at: http://www.guep.org/docs/Semifinalist_Map_v8_FINAL_page.pdf A web-friendly version can be downloaded at: http://www.guep.org/docs/Semifinalist_Map_v8_web.png
January 25, 2015
November 3, 2014
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August 7, 2014
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Talk to the Manager
Questions about Ouachita Electric practices or policies? Email our General Manager Mark Cayce.