Powering You Through: The Day and The Night
February 22, 2021
Electricity makes our lives more convenient. As technology continues to change, our electricity needs and uses also adjust. But one thing has remained steady since the Cooperative was founded in 1937: Stearns Electric has been powering our member-consumers through the day and the night.
Stearns Electric Association serves over 27,000 member-consumers including residential, agricultural, large commercial and small commercial accounts. Our mission is to safely deliver reliable electricity, provide beneficial energy solutions and a positive member experience to all types of members.
More than ever, electricity powers our lives. We rely on electricity for heating and cooling our homes, water heating, lighting, television, refrigeration, washing clothes, cooking and more!
Reliable electricity is not only important in our homes, but also our local businesses and farms that rely on electricity for keeping their operations running smoothly 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
POWERING YOU THROUGH THE DAY
Tom Janski is a fourth-generation family farm owner of Janski Farms Partnership in St. Augusta. Along with his brother and cousins, Janski operates 4,000 acres of land, processes 1,000 Holstein steers annually and milks 200 dairy cows daily.
Over the past few years, Janski Farms has implemented several new technologies that rely on electricity, and allow them to continue farm operations with a small staff.
In 2013, Janski Farms made the decision to install robotic milking stalls at their farm. “We had a few employees planning to retire who came to milk cows several times a week, both during the morning and evening. It was either quit the dairy portion of our business or add robotic milking,” Janski recalled.
“Today, we rely on electricity for our generator, our robotic milking system, some of our irrigators, our automated grain dryer, the automated calf feeder and the feed pusher in the cow barn,” Janski explained. “Without advancements in technology, we couldn’t do this operation with seven full-time employees.”
“I remember when the power used to go out and we’d be milking cows. We’d have to go grab the tractor, go to the fuse box – it was a whole ordeal,” Janski recalled. “Now that we are on the interruptible generator program, the power goes out and comes right back on.”
Increasing efficiencies also frees up time for the owners.
“These days, it’s easier to relax with more automation. The robotic milking should work. The grain dryer should work. And the generator should kick on as needed,” Janski said. “We don’t have to be physically at the farm around the clock. Instead we are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We make sure our cell phones are charged so if there’s an issue we can get home or wake up and fix it at any time of the day or night.”
POWERING YOU THROUGH THE NIGHT
Jill and Karl Funk and their four children, Ian, Owen, Aubrey and Aleah, rely on electricity for many things they use daily – “the coffee pot, Xbox, computer, hot water heater, our well, iPad and phone chargers, WiFi, the Chrome Book, and much more,” they listed off. Energy powers their lives.
The convenience of electricity also allows them to do the things they love, day or night – playing Xbox, watching television together as a family, cooking dinner, making cookies, playing board games at the kitchen table (especially when it gets dark so early) and even reading their favorite stories by book light.
Electricity not only helps us meet our most basic needs, such as keeping our homes warm in the winter time, but also helps keep home business and school operations up and running.
The Funks are used to working from home. Jill has worked remotely from home office for three years.
“When the power goes out, it directly impacts my job,” Jill said.
During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Funks suddenly found themselves going to school virtually from home, too.
“We completed our school assignments during COVID from our home computers and tablets,” Owen recalled. “It was actually kind of funny last year when the power went out in Melrose as our teachers didn’t know when it was restored out here on the opposite side of town!”
Joking aside, these days, reliable electricity also helps families stay connected.
“Gaming with friends has been a great way to still talk to our friends every day during COVID,” Ian explained.
“We also did a virtual Zoom with our families for Easter,” Karl recalled. “It’s not ideal, but it allows grandparents to see us and the kids, and allows the kids to see their cousins.”
Whether your account is a home or farm, large or small business, Stearns Electric is proud to power you through the day and the night.
November 30, 2022
In September 2022, the Stearns Electric Association Board of Directors authorized a $1.1 million general retirement of Cooperative Capital Credits…