Archive for the ‘General’ Topic

Use Generators Safely During Power Outages – MORE to Meet 12/8

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Portable electric generators can offer great benefits when outages affect your home but can also create hazards when installed or used improperly. Have a licensed electrician install your generator to protect the safety of your household and the OPALCO line crew. Click here for guidelines for safely connecting and operating portable generators.

The next meeting of the MORE Steering Committee is Wednesday, December 8th at 8:30 am in the Friday Harbor OPALCO office. Agenda includes a discussion of refine Policy 14 and the marketing of the new MORE program. Minutes and agenda are posted on the MORE page.

Rep. Morris Energy Presentation Available Online

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Representative Jeff Morris and WRECA Manager Kent Lopez gave energy talks on Orcas, San Juan and Lopez Islands last week. Kent presented and explained a glossary of terms for better understanding of energy issues – in the state and federal legislature – and in the news. Rep. Morris gave a picture of the coming energy landscape, discussed distributed generation and permitting issues. Both power point presentations are now available online. Send an email to Suzanne Olson if you want to be on the Ambassadors list for future meetings and information about key legislative action.

NEW! Appliance Decommissioning Program

Monday, October 4th, 2010

OPALCO is now offering an Appliance Decommissioning Program to recycle your old, working refrigerator. An authorized contractor will verify that your old fridge (must be at least 10 cubic feet in capacity) is functional and serving a home in the OPALCO service territory. At no cost to the member, the contractor will remove the old refrigerator and recycle it to EPA standards. Members will receive a $15 rebate when the completed paperwork is submitted. Some restrictions may apply due to accessibility issues. Call 376-3586 to schedule a pick up.

MORE Meeting

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

The MORE Steering Committee met on 8/18/10 and minutes are now posted on the MORE page. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 1st at 8:30 am at the Masonic Lodge in Friday Harbor (15 Second St.). The public is welcome.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by OPALCO’s booth at the County Fair last week. We had some great conversations and enlightened a lot of members about our energy services programs and rebates.

Board Meeting Agenda

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

The OPALCO Board Meeting scheduled for Thursday, August 19th on Lopez (Fire Hall, 8:00am) will include a 15-minute presentation by Chom Greacen on “Energy Efficiency and Green Power.” Board Member and Chair of the M.O.R.E. Steering Committee Winnie Adams will give an update on M.O.R.E. Click for board agenda.

OPALCO Board meetings are open to the public.

2009 Fuel Mix and MORE

Monday, August 9th, 2010

The Washington State Department of Commerce publishes an annual report on OPALCO’s fuel mix (the generated power received from Bonneville Power Administration and distributed by OPALCO). Our 2009 fuel mix was 93% greenhouse gas free and included 82.87% hydro-electric power. Click to see the full report.

The minutes of the 8/4 MORE Steering Committee are now posted. The committee passed a motion to: “create a (green power) program with a feed-in tariff with a cap and floor based on volunteer donations.”  Go to the MORE page for the full minutes.

The next meeting of the MORE Steering Committee is schedule for Wednesday, August 18th at Orcas Landing (Russell’s) beginning at 10:30 am.

Cash (for appliances) and MORE

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Cash for Appliances Washington launched a program back in March to offer rebates to consumers upgrading certain appliances to qualified Energy Star appliances. What is great is that as of June 28th, they have extended their list of appliances that qualify for rebates! They have been offering rebates on qualified refrigerators and clothes washers and now are including qualified dishwashers, electric heat pump water heaters, gas storage water heaters, gas tankless water heaters and ductless heat pumps.  For full details on qualifying appliances, please go to

The More Steering Committee had their second meeting Wednesday July 21st on San Juan Island. We will be posting the meeting minutes on the MORE page as soon as they have been reviewed.  At the meeting, each member was asked to present their three top ideas for the direction in which the MORE Program should go. With such an educated and experienced group, the ideas are wide ranging and insightful. Another blog has been set up by the MORE Steering Committee, separate from OPALCO, to serve as a place to hold online discussions. To join, follow the directions at:

The MORE Steering Committee meets the first and third Wednesdays of each month. The next meeting is August 4th from 1:30 -3:30 at the Fire Hall on Lopez. These meetings are open to the public.

Energy Services Update (6/3/10)

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Conservation & Energy Efficiency Program Update
Since December of 2008, Bonneville Power Administration has been working with public utilities around the region to develop more comprehensive rural residential conservation and energy efficiency programs—these are the rebates and incentives that we pass through to our members. These programs are funded through all public utilities Tier I power purchases—and are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to OPALCO members. With the latest update to these programs in April, OPALCO has closely examined all of the rebate opportunities from BPA and has created a new menu of rebate offerings to maximize members’ energy and dollar savings. The new menu of programs was unveiled at the annual meeting on May 1st in the form of the OPALCO Treasure Map (see it online at

Our goal is to run an effective program that gives our members access to the greatest opportunities for energy savings. In order to get the word out about these new programs and rebate opportunities, OPALCO is touring the islands in early June to meet face to face with members, explain the new programs and answer questions. The “Treasure Chest of Energy Savings” tour is coming:

LOPEZ—Monday, June 7th @ 10:30 am
Woodmen Hall (4102 Fisherman Bay Rd.)

SAN JUAN—Tuesday, June 8th @ 9:00 am
OPALCO Office (1034 Guard St.)

ORCAS—Tuesday, June 8th @ 1:30 pm
OPALCO Office (183 Mt. Baker Rd.)

SHAW—Tuesday, June 15th @ 10:00 am
Shaw Community Center

Member Owned Renewable Energy
OPALCO has a robust interconnect program—more than 60 members generate their own renewable power (solar, wind, micro-hydro) and interconnect to the grid. In order to better serve this growing demand, OPALCO is embarking on a public process to develop a new interconnect (or renewable energy) program that we are calling MORE (member owned renewable energy).  OPALCO invites member nominations to a MORE Steering Committee that will start work in early July to develop the program.

The OPALCO Board met in early April to discuss their overall vision for OPALCO’s Conservation and Energy Efficiency programs. From that meeting comes a directive that, as we work with the MORE Steering Committee, in addition to addressing the immediate need for a revamped renewable power program through MORE, we also look to integrate some additional conservation measures—beyond what we can offer through BPA—into that public process. The goal is maximize our savings and limit our load growth as a coop through energy efficiency and conservation at the same time that we add renewable generation.

Representation on the seven-member MORE Steering Committee will include one OPALCO member each from San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, Shaw Island, Outer islands, OPALCO Board Member and a Member at Large. Questions and nominations should be forwarded to Anne Bertino, Asst. Manager of Energy Services: or 376-3571.

OPALCO’s website ( is the go-to source for information, forms and contact information. OPALCO news is regularly posted online and in local papers. Events are advertised online, in local papers, on local bulletin boards and, occasionally, on billing inserts. OPALCO has recently begun using Twitter (@orcaspower) to post messages about power outages and we continue to explore new technologies for greater outreach. 

New Energy Services Blog

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

We have a new Energy Services blog to regularly provide you with updates about energy efficiency, conservation, and more!  We’re looking forward to sharing more soon.