March 2017

Punxsutawney Phil is wrong more often than he is right, but I still heard a collective groan over the prospect of six more weeks of winter weather. We were all running out of places to pile snow. Cold weather can leave some members struggling to manage their energy use and the higher bill that results.

We cannot control the weather, or count on a groundhog’s forecast, but we can control our energy usage. Two very effective tools for managing energy usage are conservation and energy efficiency. Wells Rural Electric Company’s (WREC) informational materials and programs often link these two terms, but there are important differences.

Conservation is achieved when changes to our everyday actions, like adjusting the thermostat setting or only running full loads of laundry, reduces our energy usage and, therefore, your bill. A great resource for conservation strtegies is

Improvements in energy efficiency help reduce energy usage by utilizing devices that perform the same task with less energy. Purchasing and installing an Energy Star clothes washer provides clean clothes with less energy.

To further illustrate the difference, let’s consider lighting. Conservation would be remembering to turn the light off or opening blinds to replace electric light with sunlight. Energy efficiency would be installing a motion sensor switch so you don’t have to remember to shut the light off. You can also replace incandescent lightbulbs with high-efficiency LED’s.

Shop for energy efficient products locally. If you don’t find what you need, click the Conservation Central tab on for access to a broad range of energy-efficient lighting choices, water heaters, showerheads and smart power strips.

As the weather turns warmer, many of us will be starting projects outside. Most of WREC’s power lines are energized at 24,900 volts. If you are trimming trees, moving ladders or using tall equipment, look up and live! If you are digging, even something a simple as planting trees and shrubs, call 811.

It’s risky to make assumptions about the location of underground utilities. The depth of utility lines vary, and there may be multiple utilities in a common trench. Digging without calling can result in serious injuries to you and those around you. It can also disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and result in fines or repair costs. For safety’s sake, please call before you dig. It’s simple, easy, convenient and it’s the law.

Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer