Author: Monica Pugno

Trico statement on the impact of supply chain constraints


Trico is Committed to Sustainable Energy

July 25, 2022

We do our best to provide excellent service day-in and day-out, and that includes timely installation of quality equipment to support our Members.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Trico has been preparing for supply chain issues by ordering equipment in advance, working closely with our long-term supply partners, and closely tracking equipment delivery schedules.

Due to the current global supply chain issues, certain parts and pieces of equipment, including transformers, have unusually long manufacturing and delivery lead times. Trico buys American-made products when practical, but even those products have been affected by production and shipping delays.

Thank you for your support as we continue to strategize and work hard to maximize the equipment inventory available, and we are dedicated to serving our Members throughout this latest challenge.

Source: NRECA; Design: Kevin Kepple

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Trico staff work together to rescue baby hawks

While inspecting lines in Marana, Trico’s line inspector saw a bird’s nest on a pole. Trico linemen Bryan English and Shem Scott were sent to inspect the condition of the nest and found three eggs.

As part of our Avian Protection Plan, Trico contacted a wildlife specialist from Liberty Wildlife to assist.

Later, when Bryan went up to add rubber blankets to cover the energized conductors, he noticed two eggs hatched, so there were two baby hawks and one egg.

The babies and egg were safely transferred to a specialized cooler and were put in a portable incubator for transport to Liberty Wildlife.

Liberty Wildlife gave the baby birds fluids and the egg remained in incubation until it hatched.

Eventually, a Red-Tailed Hawk will take over as “mom” to help raise the babies.

After 40 years, Board Director Buckelew retires


After 40 Years, Board Director Buckelew Retires

July 6, 2022

After four decades of distinguished service, Nick Buckelew retired from the Trico Board of Directors in April.

“On behalf of the Trico Board, I would like to thank Nick for his dedicated service to Trico for more than 40 years,” Board President Lawrence Hinchliffe said. “He has always put Members first and made decisions based on what he believed was in the best interest of Trico and its Members. We will miss his leadership, experience and sense of humor.”

With one year remaining on Mr. Buckelew’s term, the Trico Board interviewed six candidates to find someone to serve on the Board. Directors typically serve a three-year term, and the appointed Member will have the option to run for re-election at the end of the year.

Darrell Birkhimer was appointed to represent District 3 (Avra Valley, Picture Rocks). Mr. Birkhimer retired in December 2021 from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association after nearly 40 years of electric utility experience. He has worked for investor-owned utilities, taught powerline schools and worked for three electric cooperatives across seven states. He was a Journeyman Lineman for 12 years and has 15 years of senior-level management experience.

“I have dealt with the challenges electric cooperatives face today,” Mr. Birkhimer said. “I would like to offer my experience serving Trico Members. I am convinced the electric cooperative business model is alive and well, able to meet the challenges.”


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Keep your Trico account up to date

At a time when identity security is so critical, ensuring that the personal information tied to your Trico account is accurate helps us to both protect you and keep you informed.

Accurate information enables us to improve member service and enhance communications for reporting and repairing outages.

We want to be sure we have the right phone number to reach you if there’s an issue with your service or have the correct email to make certain you are receiving the information you need and want from Trico. If someone calls us to inquire about their account, we need to correctly verify their identity before we ever talk with them about anything related to that account.

In addition to keeping Trico updated with your proper phone numbers and email addresses, it’s also important that the name of any household member who needs to be able to discuss your account is listed on the account.

You can update your contact information by logging on to SmartHub, by emailing memberservices@trico.coop or by calling (520) 744-2944.

We also encourage you to sign up for Outage Notifications here or through our SmartHub. You can report an outage from SmartHub or by texting “OUT” to 855-937-1858.

We are working to enhance our Member’s experience

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that Trico has established six strategic priorities that will help us innovate and provide a great value, not just today but in the future. The backdrop is that many changes are occurring in the industry and within our membership.

As an organization formed many years ago to meet the needs of homeowners, farmers, ranchers and business owners who it served, and one still owned by those it serves, if we cannot offer value to you, then why do we still exist?

Obviously, that is a rhetorical question, but one that is important, nevertheless. Thus, the need to re-imagine how your cooperative adds value to you and how we can add value in the future.

The first of our six priorities is named “Member Loyalty”. Spelled out, we will be developing products, options, services and events that meet the individual and collective needs of the Members. We have a number of initiatives and projects we are and will be working on that will address this priority.

For example, we want to take advantage of touchpoints to promote Trico’s products, services and programs. This entails reviewing some of our processes related to working with housing developers, and especially when new Members call Trico for the first time.

We will also be looking at our Capital Credit payment process, including likely changing the name from “Capital Credits” to something that better describes what we do, return profits to you, our Members.

We will be taking steps to personalize our Member’s experience with Trico. To accomplish this, we will be revamping our new construction service process, our solar review process, and expanding how and what we communicate to Members during and after outages.

We will also be introducing rate options to Members, assuming the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) agrees. We have filed an off-peak electric vehicle (EV) charging rate and are awaiting approval. This rate will save considerable money for those who own EVs and benefit the entire system. We are also expanding our pay in advance option and filing an optional rate that allows Members to increase the amount of renewables they buy monthly from Trico to 50% or even 100% (stay tuned for more information after the ACC takes action).

And lastly, we will be taking steps to better communicate with Members via social media and at our current and maybe even some new events.

We are excited to get to work on all of the above and know that many Members will see enhanced value as we make progress on these initiatives. As a Member-owned organization, and one that operates on a not-for-profit basis, you can trust that serving you is foremost on our minds.

Is it time to replace your HVAC system?

Is your heating, ventilation and cooling system (HVAC) 15 to 20 years old or has continued service issues?  It may be time to consider installing a new, efficient Energy Star® system.

Here is a list of questions to consider before purchasing your new home HVAC system.

Should I replace all of my HVAC equipment at the same time?

Yes. You want to be sure that all the parts of your HVAC system work together properly. A mismatched system can lead to poor performance and not deliver the expected comfort and efficiency. Seal the duct work or replace, if needed. Ask your contractor to thoroughly inspect and pressure test your system for leaks to repair or replace, as needed.

What’s my house got to do with it?

Before you decide on an HVAC unit, look at making energy improvements to your home. Tuning up the home not only reduces operating costs but can mean a smaller, less expensive HVAC system can do the job. Your HVAC system must be designed to fit your home. The size, construction, orientation and location of your home affects the size of your HVAC system. But first, make sure your home is air tight with caulking, sealing/weather stripping and is properly insulated.

What size system do I need?

To ensure that your new HVAC system operates efficiently, ask your contractor to properly size your new system for your home.

An HVAC system that is too small cannot deliver adequate heating or cooling in extreme weather.

A system that is too large costs more and provides poor temperature and humidity control.

Consider using variable speed units to deliver great comfort year-round and to greatly lower your heating and cooling bill.

What type of system should I buy?

You have many choices when it comes to selecting an HVAC system. Here are some things to consider:

An electric split-system heat pump is a common choice for year-round  heating and cooling.

The efficiency of a cooling system is expressed as a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) number. The higher the SEER (Cooling) rating and HSPF (Heating) rating the lower the operating cost.

Ductless or mini split heat pumps are a great choice, where possible.

Systems with higher SEERs and HSPFs cost more initially, but have lower operating costs.

How do I select a contractor to do the work?

Selecting the right contractor is critical to the performance of your new HVAC system. The contractor is responsible for determining the type and size of the system and explaining your options as well as installing the system. A good contractor also should provide a warranty and after‑sale service.

Don’t sweat your electric bill

Here are a few simple actions you can take this summer to reduce your energy use:

  • During summer months, run large appliances that emit heat (like clothes dryers and dishwashers) during the evening when it’s cooler. This will minimize indoor heat during the day when outdoor temperatures are highest.
  • Routinely replace or clean your air conditioner’s filter. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent.
  • When it’s warm out, avoid using the oven. Try cooking on the stove, using the microwave or grilling outside instead.
  • Examine your smart or programmable thermostat. Make sure it is programmed for the current season and family schedule. This is one of the best tools at your fingertips, however, you can only achieve these efficiencies and savings if it is programmed properly and adjusted periodically to keep pace with changes in household routines.
  • Air dry dishes. This step can cut your dishwasher’s energy use by up to 50 percent.

Your opinion matters to us

If you get a phone call or email asking you to participate in a survey, don’t be alarmed. It’s not a scam. This summer, Trico is conducting a random survey of our Members.
We encourage you to participate in the survey as your feedback is critical to helping Trico improve service.

Apprentice dreamed of being lineman like his dad

From a young age, Trico apprentice lineman Anthony Anaya dreamed of being a lineman. His father, Dan, has worked at Trico for 30 years.

When Anthony was 4-years-old, he grabbed his dad’s climbing gear out of his truck and put it on.

“I knew from day one that this is what I wanted to do,” Anthony said. “I grew up around here (Picture Rocks, Avra Valley). I’d see the linemen wave as they drove down the road in their bucket trucks. I saw how our Members looked up to my dad with respect. It intrigued me to want to be lineman.”

When Anthony was younger, he also wanted to pursue a baseball career. He played second base for a club team from 8-years-old until 14-years-old. He played baseball in high school at Marana High. He still plays ball for an all-men’s league at Sports Park.

“But the more I thought about it, I knew baseball wouldn’t take me far,” he said. “It took money to make money. I realized being a lineman is what I wanted to do.”

Anthony started at Trico as a Groundman in September 2020. He is now in the first year of a four-year lineman apprenticeship. Anthony said he got emotional when he found out he was hired by Trico.

“For years, it’s what I dreamed of,” he said. “It was a dream come true. I still feel the same way. It’s a great work environment. We’re like brothers out there. Everyone works safe because we all want to get home safe.”

Working safely is one of the many lessons Anthony learned from his father.

“He has taught me to double check everything, to work safe and work hard,” Anthony said.

Dan started at Trico in May of 1992 in the Auto Shop and was a Meter Reader. In April 2003, he became a Journeyman Lineman after a four-year apprenticeship. During his apprenticeship, he learned that Trico and its Members come first. Family comes second. He hopes Anthony and the other young lineworkers understand what it takes to be a good lineman. Over the years, Dan missed some of Anthony’s baseball games, birthdays and holiday gatherings because he was on call.

“Some people dream of becoming a lineman and some people do it for the money,” Dan said. “I told Anthony to do it because it’s what you want to do, not for the money. I’m happy (he wants to be a lineman). It’s nerve-wrecking. I want him to do it the right way and for the right reasons. I try to teach him some tricks. I test him on different scenarios.”

Dan said what makes a good lineman is being able to do it all – overhead and underground power line work – and knowing the whole system and how to troubleshoot.

“I know the system in my head,” Dan said. “I want Anthony to be like that. It’s more than just knowing how to do overhead line work. It’s a credit to Trico that our linemen know how to do all aspects of power line work.”

Anthony knows being a lineman won’t be easy. He understood why his dad couldn’t be there all the time when he was growing up.

“He was the only one working in the family because my parents agreed that my mom would stay home and raise my sister and I,” Anthony said. “My mom did a great job raising us. I understood that he was trying to give us the best life he could. He’s always been dedicated to Trico and his job. It’s a lifestyle. I know at times it’s going to be hard. That I’m going to miss holidays and birthdays.”

Anthony said his father would go out of his way to make up for missing occasions, which wasn’t necessary.

“He was there for me when I was growing up,” Anthony said. “After work, he’d be tired, but he still tried to make a baseball game, play catch or ride dirt bikes. I’m really proud of him, what he did for me and my sister. He always had our back. He put his body through a lot. In his eyes and mine, it was for a good cause.”

Anthony hopes his son, Hudson who is 10-months-old, will want to be a lineman and carry on the family tradition.

“There are several linemen in my family,” he said. “My girlfriend’s family are linemen too. There is a lot of stuff my dad taught me that I want to teach my son. I will teach him to work safely, work smart and think ahead.”

To all the amazing fathers out there, we hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day.

You have the power with Pay As You Go – a prepaid energy solution

This month I’d like to talk about one of our rate options. Trico’s Pay As You Go program is as simple as it sounds: Members pay for electricity before it is used, then use the electricity until the credit expires.

A terrific analogy for Pay As You Go is putting gas in your car. Say you only have $30 for the week to pay for gasoline. You drive down to the station, pump in $30 and drive off. As you drive during the week, what happens? You monitor the gauge and make sure each trip is necessary. If you drive too much, you burn up your $30 before the week is out. Literally. By checking the gauge throughout the week, you became more prudent with your gas use and made informed decisions on when and how much to use.

Now let’s transfer that analogy to your account with Trico. Normally, you would get a bill after you have used the electricity. Sometimes it comes as a shock. “How could I possibly have used so much electricity?” Pay As You Go is designed to ease – and hopefully eliminate – that shock. Let’s take a look at how it works.

Pay As You Go is a self-managed program. You purchase electricity before you use it. Payments can be made when you want – online, over the phone, on the SmartHub app or in person at Trico’s office. When your account runs low, you will get an alert by email, text or phone call.

With Pay As You Go, Members will be able to avoid deposits, due dates and reconnect fees.

Members are responsible for keeping up to date on their account and should ensure that it always has a credit balance. Members can access their prepay account balances and monitor their usage online at trico.smarthub.com.

Is Pay As You Go the right choice for you?

While Pay As You Go is a great program, it may not be suitable to all Members and is not available to non‑residential, time‑of-use, net metering, Distributed Generation (DG) Energy Export, or critical load (medical necessity) customers or for those participating in the Budget Billing program. Pay As You Go works best for Members who want to take control of their electric account and energy usage. By monitoring your consumption on a regular basis, you will notice patterns in your day-to-day usage and learn how to conserve energy. Monitoring and controlling daily usage can help keep those electric costs down.

Statistics indicate prepay electricity programs help lower electric consumption due to Member’s awareness of usage patterns.

Pay As You Go teaches the value of electricity, what uses kilowatts in your home, provides absolute control over how much you pay and helps you reduce your energy use. It is a tremendous way to power your life.

To join Pay As You Go, contact a Trico representative at 520-744-2944 or click here to sign up online.

Let’s beat the peak together to save energy & money

Conserving energy during the hottest period of the day, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., reduces costs and helps avoid strain on the grid, so we can provide safe, reliable energy in a cost-effective manner.

Housework hiatus

Avoiding peak energy costs is a good reason to put some chores on hold, at least until power demand dips. Consider running the washer, dryer and dishwasher during non-peak hours.

Love 78

Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system can play a huge part in controlling your energy use year-round.

At 78 degrees, most people are comfortable outside, so why not indoors? Most people aren’t sensitive enough to notice much of a difference in air temperature whether the thermostat is set at 73 or raised to 78. But the closer your air conditioner setting is to the outdoor temperature, the less your unit will run.

Each degree of temperature difference represents a percentage of the total cooling load. That means that when temperatures are in the high 90s or 100s, you could reduce your cooling demand by 10 to 15 percent for each degree above 75 degrees.

Fans offer an economical alternative to air conditioning on mild days and they can pitch in for comfort as temperatures climb. Set ceiling fans to blow air downward (counter clockwise) to get the most value in your cooling zone.

Central air conditioning can use as much as one kwh of electricity for each 12-minute cycle of cooling. A ceiling fan can operate for about 13 hours on the same amount of electricity. Turn off fans when you leave a room, because they cool people, not space.

Kitchen comfort

Appliances on your countertops or stashed in your pantry could keep you cooler and use less energy. Microwaves use about 60 percent as much energy as full-size ovens, and a toaster oven or induction cooker consumes about half as much power and keep kitchens cooler.

Share the space

Getting control of your energy use to reduce your home’s overall demand can be really challenging when you have to consider the entire home, so bring back family time to beat the peak.

LCD televisions generally use 60 percent as much electricity as comparably sized plasma models. One laptop computer uses about 20 percent as much power as a desktop computer and monitor.

A video game console consumes about 200 watts of power. One system pressed into service for spirited intramural competition between family members in one room uses about a third of the power of three players engaged in online games around the house.

Finish the space with energy-efficient LED fixtures for lighting, a couple sets of headphones and a few rechargeable power boosters for the family’s handheld devices. You’ll have a cool and fun place to spend a few hours with the family.

Thank you Director Pyers for your service

The Trico Board and Trico’s staff would like to thank Director Jim Pyers for his 9 years of service on the Board.

“Jim has been an invaluable source of knowledge about the electric utility industry and his wisdom and humor will be missed,” Board President Lawrence Hinchliffe said.

Jim joined the Board in 2013. He is a retired Tucson Electric Power executive with over 35 years of experience in electric utility operations and engineering. He and his wife, Judy, have five children, 19 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Kevin McCarthy was elected by the Membership to replace Jim.

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