LCEC TO CONDUCT LESSER PRAIRIE-CHICKEN SURVEY

 

Lovington, NM—March 5, 2021 – Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LCEC) will be conducting a Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) mandated survey from March 15 through May 7 to identify lesser prairie-chicken habitats.  This survey will be in northern Lea County in New Mexico and the western parts of the Texas Counties of Cochran, Yoakum, and Gaines. The lesser prairie-chicken inhabits areas in several states, including New Mexico, and is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

Failure to comply by the deadline with these mandates could be a federal offense.  In addition, it is a federal offense to kill, harm, harass or disrupt the lesser prairie-chicken and is subject to significant fines.   If these habitats exist within our territory, LCEC would be required to build underground power lines to avoid disturbing the lesser prairie-chicken.  It is assumed that leks exist in the territory, and it is the sole responsibility of LCEC to prove that the leks do not exist under any overhead lines in the areas to be surveyed.        

The instructed process stipulates the surveying of areas affected twice between March 15 and May 7, which encompasses the mating season for the lesser prairie-chicken.  LCEC employees will be on-site 30 minutes prior to sunrise until 30 minutes after sunrise. 

The ultimate goal of the survey is that LCEC is able to continue its normal business of staking and building overhead lines to serve members without disruption.  If the survey finds leks, LCEC will have to build underground lines, which will increase costs. If you have any concerns or questions relating to this activity, please call 575-396-3631.

            LCEC CONTRACTS ALAMON FOR  ANNUAL POLE INSPECTION PROGRAM

Lovington, NM—January 12, 2021—Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LCEC) has contracted with Alamon Utility Services to conduct our annual power pole inspection for the quality, condition, and stability of our transmission and distribution poles. Inspections will begin in early February 2021 and continue for approximately six weeks, weather permitting.  Inspections will occur in the northern Lea County area of LCEC's service territory.

The Cooperative's Pole Inspection Program is a proactive review of its system and addresses potential problems before they occur. Inspecting utility poles across the service territory is part of our commitment to providing its members high value, low cost, and safe reliable service.

LCEC wants members to know what to expect during annual pole inspections. Members may see the inspection crews using pickups and four-wheelers (ATV's) on or near their property. Alamon Inspectors will have photo IDs with the blue and white Alamon logo, and they will be operating in clearly marked vehicles with the LCEC logo.  In some cases, they may need to ask property owners to access utility poles behind fences or gates. 

The pole inspections take a few minutes and help verify that the poles on your property are safe for the public and LCEC employees. Inspections are designed to ensure the stability of the utility's wood transmission and distribution poles, which is critical during high wind producing storms.

Inspectors may enter yards and excavate soil at the poles' base to conduct their inspections and treat the buried pole section. Contractors will repack the ground around the pole once they have completed their tasks. If you have any concerns or questions relating to this activity, please call 575-396-3631.

Lovington, NM, November 30, 2020– Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LCEC) is an electric cooperative, different from other utilities in many ways. One of the biggest examples of this difference is LCEC’s capital credits. This year, the Cooperative retired over $3.4 million worth of capital credits to its members who bought electricity in 1997.

Most electric utility companies charge above and beyond what it costs them to run their business to generate profits for their investors. LCEC does not operate this way. As a cooperative, LCEC operates on a cost of service basis. Its rates are set to collect enough revenue to run and improve the business, not to generate profits for shareholders.

Each year, if there is excess revenue, it is divided and allocated as capital credits among LCEC’s members based on the electricity each member purchased that year. When the financial condition of the Cooperative permits, these capital credits are “retired,” or paid, to the members as a check.

“Capital credits are a unique benefit of being a member of an electric cooperative,” said Bobby Ferris, general manager. “We’re proud to give patronage back to our members and their families.”

Checks will be mailed out early December 2020. Anyone who does not receive a check and was an LCEC member in 1997 should please contact LCEC at 575-396-3631 to update his/her mailing address.

     Lovington, NM, November 30, 2020– - Lea County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) lobbies will remain closed due to the current Governor’s Executive Orders. We want to ensure our members that the Cooperative is taking all of the necessary measures to keep our employees and members safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

     Members are encouraged to use our drive-thru service at the Lovington, NM, and Plains, TX offices, which will remain open during regular business hours.  Our customer service department is available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MT) at 575-396-3631.

Payment options that are available to you without visiting our offices are.

  • Pay by Phone with Credit Card 575-396-3631, Option 1

  • SmartHub App (computer, tablet, or smartphone)

  • Online Bill Pay at www.lcecnet.com

  • Mail

  • Night Drop

  • Drive-Thru

     Lovington, NM -  November 16, 2020 - As of Tuesday, November 17, 2020, all LCEC office lobbies will be closed for the next two (2) weeks as per the current Governor’s Executive Order.

All business should be conducted through our drive-thru operations at the Lovington, NM, and Plains, TX offices, which will remain open during regular business hours.

 

Additional payment options are:

Pay by phone with a credit card

          575-396-3631 Option 1

SmartHub App on

          a computer, tablet, or smartphone (https://leacountyelectric.smarthub.coop)

Mail

Night Drop

Online Bill Pay at www.lcecnet.com

 

For any questions, please contact us at 575-396-3631.

 

     Lovington, NM - November 9, 2020 - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to harm many in our area, the Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LCEC) Board of Trustees and management team have decided to officially cancel the 2020 Annual Meeting of Members.  The meeting, which was scheduled for earlier this year, had been postponed until further notice due to the pandemic. The decision follows the New Mexico Department of Health’s ongoing “Public Health Emergency Order to Limit Mass Gatherings Due to COVID-19”, based on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Public Health Emergency declaration.   

 

     To comply with the executive order and to keep LCEC members and employees safe, the cooperative’s Board of Trustees believe canceling the meeting is prudent under the circumstances. According to LCEC bylaws, financial reports are to be presented annually to the membership. To comply, LCEC has made its Annual Report available on the cooperative’s website www.lcecnet.com. Members can also find an overview of the Cooperative’s 2019 accomplishments along with the financials online.

 

      LCEC’s Board of Trustees expect to have an Annual Meeting of the Members in April 2021 and will comply with any governmental orders that are present at that time. The meeting will combine the 2020 and 2021 elections as well as other cooperative business that needs to be handled by the membership. Members are asked to save the date, Friday, April 23, 2021 for the 2021 annual meeting.

     Lovington, NM - November 9, 2020 - Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LCEC) General Manager, Bobby Ferris, with the Board of Trustees’ approval, announced the purchase of a new building and yard for its Plains, Texas office. The purchase is part of a three-year-long plan to upgrade its facilities in Texas.

     LCEC has outgrown its current Plains office location. The need for additional space, the ability to increase the workforce while providing a better working environment for employees are at the forefront of the decision. The new facility will also serve as a fully capable redundant location for business continuity as part of the cooperative’s emergency response plan. 

     After researching the options available to meet the co-op's specific criteria and needs, LCEC’s Board of Trustees purchased a pre-fabricated building on a 3-acre lot in the new commercial business park located on US Highway 82. The purchase allows for interior modifications at a reduced price and a faster buildout as compared to building a custom office from the ground up.

     The cooperative’s management and Board of Trustees believe the new future facility location will not only be enough space for the co-op to grow in the future, but is also a good location to service its membership throughout the Plains, Texas area. LCEC anticipates the completion and opening of the new facility by late spring or early summer of 2021.

     October 19, 2020 - LOVINGTON, New Mexico -Since 1988, LCEC Education Foundation has offered educational scholarships to active members and their dependents to help those seeking higher education. The Foundation has issued over $3.9 million to 2,166 recipients since inception. The scholarship is a one-time scholarship, and the Board of Trustees has increased it from $ 5,000 to $7,500. 

     Eligibility and requirements require that applicants be an active member or dependent of a member residing within a county served by LCEC; a graduating senior in the current year from an accredited public or private high school, homeschooled, or have obtained a New Mexico/Texas GED or equivalent within a county served by LCEC; entering the military within four months of high school graduation, and 19 years of age or less. A listing of the complete requirements is on the application. 

     Scholarship Applications open November 1, 2020, and may be obtained by contacting any LCEC office, high school guidance offices in the LCEC service territory, or online at www.lcecnet.com in the Community tab. An independent panel of judges will review applications during the selection process. 

     Interested individuals are encouraged to apply on or before the end of business day on Friday, January 15, 2021. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. All LCEC district offices will remain open until 5:00 p.m. on the deadline to receive all applications. Scholarship awards will be announced in May 2021.

     Lovington, NM - September 23, 2020 - Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LCEC) board of trustees made the difficult decision not to participate in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association 2021 Government-in-Action Youth Tour trip at their September board meeting. This decision was determined due to the current pandemic, unexpected future travel restrictions between states, and unforeseen restrictions while visiting Washington, D.C. LCEC’s main priority is the health and safety of its members.

     The Government-in-Action Youth Tour trip is an opportunity that has been available to students since 1978.  LCEC is a proud sponsor of this program as local area students learn about electric cooperatives, the State government, and the United States government.  LCEC’s board of trustees has full expectations of continuing to participate and sponsor students in the Government-in-Action Youth Tour trip in the future. If you have any questions, call the Marketing and Member Services department at 575-396-3631.

     Lovington, NM—July 29, 2020—Lea County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) has contracted with Asplundh Tree Expert Company to conduct our annual tree trimming process for the maintenance of a reliable, safe, and economical electric service for our members. 

 

     The tree trimming process will begin Monday, August 3, 2020 and be conducted for the next several months.  They will be working in Plains, Texas and along the Stateline.  Trees contacting our power lines are a leading cause of blinks and outages. By professionally trimming growth away from our lines, we can minimize the chances of an interruption or outage caused by vegetation.

 

     Asplundh crews use natural directional pruning to promote healthy trees. Branches growing toward power lines are trimmed to encourage the remaining branches to grow away from lines. However, some trees located under power lines must be topped to maintain a safe clearance.  Crews will do their best to make contact with members before trimming trees.

 

     LCEC would like to remind its members that trees should not be planted in an LCEC right-of-way. Please plan before planting or landscaping on LCEC’s rights-of-way, whether overhead or underground.  Your help keeping our rights-of-way clear through appropriate tree planting is a central contribution to our efforts in keeping your lights on and controlling costs.  If you need assistance in identifying a right-of-way on your property, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help.   

 

     If you see a threatening situation where a tree limb is dangerously close to electric lines or vines climbing our poles, please call our offices so we can inspect the situation and remove the vegetation safely if necessary. We remind all our members never to attempt to clear trees from our facilities themselves due to a high risk of danger.

 

     LCEC is committed to providing safe and reliable power, and our tree trimming program is key to fulfilling that promise.

     Lovington, NM - May 28, 2020 - Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc. has resumed normal operations and reopened our lobbies for business effective, Monday, June 1, 2020. We are taking special measures to protect members and employees as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Hours of operation are;

Lovington Office:      8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (MT)

Tatum Office:            8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (MT)

Plains Office:             8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (CT)

 

     As the pandemic continues, members are encouraged to use our drive-thru service or other electronic means of doing business whenever possible to reduce the risk of exposure.

     We are continuing to closely monitor the latest developments regarding COVID-19 and following recommendations from local and state officials, including the CDC.

We are Taking Extra Precautions:

  • Installing clear acrylic sneeze guards in each Customer Service Representative window

  • Adding social distancing markers to our lobby floors to help keep visitors at least 6 feet apart

  • Distributing face masks, gloves and sanitizing products to our offices and employees

  • Enhancing cleaning and disinfecting procedures throughout our offices

  • Requiring employees who interact with members to wear masks and wash or sanitize hands frequently

     If you have a question about your account, give us a call at 575-396-3631. Our Customer Services Department is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MT).

     Lovington, NM - March 25, 2020 - Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc.'s (LCEC) board of trustees has postponed the upcoming annual meeting scheduled for April 24, 2020, to a later date. The Cooperative is following the New Mexico Department of Health's "Public Health Emergency Order to Limit Mass Gatherings Due to COVID-19", based on the Governor of the State of New Mexico's Public Health Emergency declaration in Executive Order 2020-004. Once this order is lifted, the annual meeting will be rescheduled at a time and place that is safe for employees and members.

     The board of trustees, along with management, will continue to monitor the effect of COVID-19. We want to assure you that LCEC has plans in place for the continued delivery of reliable service to its members. Our employees and trustees are working with electric cooperative leaders across the state and nation to maintain the electric grid without disruption. We have a strong track record of responding to emergencies, and we are taking proactive steps to respond to the evolving public health emergency and challenges of COVID-19.

     LCEC is following government guidelines on social distancing and reducing face-to-face contact to help protect our community and keep our employees safe, healthy, and on the job. We closed our lobbies on March 23, but our drive-thru in Lovington and Plains office locations as well as phone lines remain open. 

 

We encourage members to use the following options for payments and transactions.

 

• Drive-thru in Lovington and Plains office locations Monday – Friday, during regular business hours

• Pay electric bill, report outages, and track electrical use on SmartHub

• Autopay by bank account or by contacting us to set up automatic payments

• Pay by phone, website, mail, and night drop box

 

     LCEC’s website offers energy saving tips as families spend more time at home.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates. Our customer service representatives are here to help you during business hours at 575-396-3631.  Our outage line is available 24/7. REPORT OUTAGES to 575-396-3631 by selecting option 2, and see our online Outage Center for a current outage map. You can also report outages on SmartHub or online.

March 13, 2020

To our trusted Members,

     The safety and well-being of our Membership and employees is of utmost importance to Lea County Electric Cooperative (LCEC). As part of that commitment, we wanted to take a moment to share our current stance and practices as it relates to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

     In short, we are monitoring this situation very closely, and following recommended practices as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). Furthermore, our internal Business Continuity Team is in ongoing and frequent communications, assessing the progression of COVID-19, reviewing our current practices and adjusting our course based on recommendations as outlined by the CDC and WHO. LCEC has had a Disaster Preparedness Plan and Pandemic Plan Procedure in place for several years.  We are exercising these plans today.

To date, we've taken the following actions:

 

  • We've developed a contingency plan should an employee contract COVID-19, where we will take all necessary preventative matters to isolate and minimize the risk of spread.

    • Enhanced cleaning – additional cleaning measures have been implemented, including sanitizing commonly touched surfaces frequently throughout the day.

    • Hygiene – Employees are being encouraged to practice good hygiene consistent with advice published by the CDC

    • Technology – LCEC has a variety of technologies available to minimize the amount of physical interaction required to perform business functions and still maintain high levels of productivity. 

      • Payment options that are available to you without visiting our offices are.

        • Pay by Phone with Credit Card 575-396-3631 Option 1

        • SmartHub App (Computer, tablet, or smartphone)

        • Online Bill Pay at www.lcecnet.com

        • Mail

        • Night Drop

        • Drive-Thru

 

  • Third Parties – LCEC is closely evaluating its business relationships and contacts with external parties.

     We are committed to keeping you up to date as developments arise. Thank you for your membership. We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy!

Sincerely,

 

Bobby Ferris

Executive VP & General Manager