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March Edition



Youth Tour students visit Tallahassee

CHELCO escorted 20 high school juniors to Tallahassee in February to participate in the annual Florida Electric Cooperative Association’s (FECA) Youth Tour. The students visited the Florida Supreme Court, toured the Governor’s Mansion, learned about magnetic field research at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and participated in a mock bill session at the Capitol. They also learned about cooperatives.  

Area high school Youth Tour students selected for the Tallahassee trip were Aaron Sutherland, Collegiate; Bella Murley, Holmes County; Brian Son, Niceville; Caitlin Caudill, Freeport; Camryn Brazile, Paxton; Candace Lundy, Laurel Hill; Christopher Lewis, Paxton; Emily Grace Robinson, Crestview; Gregory Garrett, South Walton; Griffon Murphy, Walton; Jaydn Goddin, Freeport; Jielle Paul, South Walton; John Michael Gillis, Crestview; Klarissa Williamson, Collegiate; Nicholas Ammons, Freeport; Olivia Hurley, Baker; Sarah Eddy, Niceville; Silas Hammond, Baker; Skieler Kowalik, Rocky Bayou Christian School; Taylor Strickler, Niceville; Tru Coleman, Walton; Zach Wolfrom, Niceville. Unfortunately, two selectees could not attend due to illness.

Youth Tour Coordinator Bonnie Whitfield is proud of CHELCO’s program. “I’m always gratified to coordinate CHELCO’s Youth Tour program. The students in our area are remarkable,” she said. “Not only are they bright young men and women, but they are well mannered and a true joy to be around. I learn something from each group I take to Tallahassee. It is the highlight of my year.”

The same students will compete for a trip to the national Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., June 9-14. Four winners will enjoy an all-expense-paid trip to the nation’s capital, where they will join 1,800 Youth Tour representatives from across the country.

For more news, tips and information, click here for the full edition of this month's CHELCO News.



CHELCO’s 20 Youth Tour students make a stop by the Capitol while in Tallahassee. 



A solid investment in CHELCO

As a member-owner of CHELCO, you make an investment in the co-op every time you pay your bill. This collective investment in the co-op benefits you and the community immediately and over time. So what exactly is this monthly investment, and how do you benefit from it? 

The Basic Service Charge is a monthly investment that helps CHELCO cover the expenses of maintaining the overall electric system. Combatting cyber security threats and maintaining poles, wires, substations and co-op equipment takes strategic planning and significant resources. The Basic Service Charge essentially ensures that all equipment operates properly and staff is trained and ready so the lights turn on when you need them.

Regardless of how much electricity a particular family uses, the cost of delivering power to that house is the same. As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, we believe the operational costs should be spread fairly and equitably across all of our members, regardless of the level of electricity use. That is why every member pays the Basic Service Charge each month to cover basic operational costs. All residential members are charged the same amount, $26 for single phase service, for the cost of operation since all members benefit from the same service. In essence, this gives each co-op member an equal share in CHELCO’s operation.

Your monthly investment ensures you have access to safe, reliable and affordable power when you need it. We appreciate and value the investment that you make in the co-op each month, and we strive to use that investment wisely for the benefit of all members of our community. 

To learn more about the customer charge, please visit


​For more news, tips and information, click here for the full edition of this month's CHELCO News.



CHELCO mail-in ballot packages are on their way

The 2018 Board of Trustees election ballots will be mailed after March 16. Please keep an eye out for yours.

Elections are at large, so please vote for one candidate from each district, regardless of your district, even if that candidate is unopposed.

The ballot packet will include CHELCO annual meeting information, a copy of CHELCO’s bylaws with proposed bylaw changes, the ballot, a registration/certification card and a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope to make voting easy and convenient. All ballots must be received no later than April 16, and the election results will be announced at the annual meeting. All voting will be conducted by mail.

IMPORTANT: Members must return BOTH registration card and ballot for the vote to be counted. Members who vote will be entered in drawings for a prize and bill credits.

Then join us at annual meeting at a new location

Join CHELCO for food, fun and prizes at our 78th annual meeting on Saturday, April 21. This year the meeting will be at Freeport High School.

Registration opens at 9 a.m., and pre-meeting activities include breakfast, entertainment, drawings for small prizes, exhibits and activities and prizes for kids. Each membership will receive a gift for attending. The business meeting will kick-off at 11 a.m. with business reports, the results of the trustee elections and a message from CEO Steve Rhodes.  After business is completed, drawings will be held for three grand prizes: 50” LED HD Smart TV, Nest thermostat, and a vacation stay. Winners must be present to claim their prizes!

We can’t wait to see you there!


Join Switch-to-Save to help keep power costs affordable

Help CHELCO control wholesale power costs and collect rewards as well!

CHELCO offers members a $50 payment, plus bill credits worth $18 per year, for participating in our Switch to Save program.

Here is how the program works

CHELCO will install a switch on a member’s electric water heater for free. When demand for power is high on the very coldest and very hottest days of the year, CHELCO will turn off the tank’s heating elements for a few hours.

Because the tank is full of hot water, members have hot water to go about their daily lives. Our tests and decades of experience show that members seldom notice the elements are off.

By reducing demand for power at peak times, CHELCO saves money on its wholesale power bill. We pass along the power cost savings to all members through the wholesale power cost adjustment. Also, members who have a switch installed receive a one-time payment of $50, and they get $3 bill credits during the six months when the switches are most likely to be activated (June, July, August, December, January and February).

You can call (850) 307-1122 if you have questions or fill out the online sign-up form at Go to the Energy Services tab and select Switch to Save.


Connections Corner

Co-op Connections discount cards are just another benefit of being a CHELCO member. Dozens of local businesses, plus thousands nationally, offer discounts to co-op members. There are also discounts available on prescriptions at participating pharmacies.

We would like to highlight and thank the following businesses.


  • Drew’s Computer Repair
    • (850) 401-1541
    •  DeFuniak Springs
    • 10% off services provided


To request a card, or, if you own a business and want to sign-up to offer CHELCO's 50,000 member accounts a discount, email or call CHELCO's marketing department at (850) 307-1122. You can find all the local and national deals here.


For more news, tips and information, click here for the full edition of this month's CHELCO News.

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