Power Quality Plus
Member Services Representative Gabe Twellman reminds members that November storms may bring lightning strikes. Seasonal weather changes in fall and spring are the most vulnerable time for lightning strikes.
He's heard more than his share of lightning tales working with Cuivre River's Power Quality Plus (PQ+) surge protection program. Testimonies about the damage lightning can cause to home appliances and family finances have made Twellman a natural advocate for the peace of mind PQ+ users report.
What is PQ+? It's the cooperative's optional surge protection program to aid homeowners by preventing lightning surges beyond the meter. Members can lease PQ+ meter base adapters to protect major electrical appliances for $5.95 per month (added to the electric bill), and purchase plug strips to protect sensitive electronics.
Major appliances generally include HVAC equipment, laundry equipment, refrigerators, stoves/ovens and water heaters. Sensitive electronic items include digital components and microprocessors, computers, entertainment equipment (TVs, DVRs) etc. Plug strips are available with electrical, telephone and coax cable protection.
"We know the meter base protection has helped prevent, slow down or stop lightning damage, and helped homeowners avoid paying homeowner's insurance deductibles," Twellman says.
"When people realize they have cost exposure (e.g., a $1,000 out-of-pocket deductible for traditional home insurance), surge protection makes more and more sense," he adds. "They can save immediately if damage occurs, or over time holding down the cost of their homeowner's insurance.”
Enroll by November 30 to receive one free month of protection and enter a drawing for an 8-outlet multimedia plug-in surge suppressor ($68 value). A monthly $5.95 fee will be itemized and added to your electric bill.
To enroll or learn more about PQ+ meter base adapters and multimedia plug strips contact Gabe Twellman at (800) 392-3709, ext. 4836.
Power Quality Plus. Why do I need extra surge protection?
By Gabe Twellman, Member Services Representative
Q. If Cuivre River has lightning arrestors and breakers on electric distribution lines, why do I need extra surge protection for my home appliances?
A. You are correct that a sophisticated network of protective devices on distribution lines help prevent a lightning or power surge from causing severe damage down line. However the voltage tolerance is much higher than many home appliances require.
Utility line equipment is very effective as front-line protection, but there are two primary reasons it may be wise to increase the surge protection at your home or business:
TESCO Meter base surge protector.(1) meter base and surge strip protection can help reduce incoming voltage to tolerable levels, and (2) lightning, not power lines, is the most common source of electrical surges; lightning can strike anywhere, and enter your home by many paths, including coax cables and phone lines.
A third advantage to choosing the TESCO brand equipment we offer through the Power Quality Plus program is insurance. If a surge enters your home through your meter and does cause damage, the TESCO Connected Product Warranty will cover the damage first. This usually helps you avoid filing a claim against your homeowner's insurance.
Q. What does the equipment protect?
A. Meter base surge protection covers the main components of major home appliances, including heating and cooling systems, water heaters, refrigerators, freezers, washers and dryers. You'll often hear these referred to as "white goods," a reference to the days when most major appliances were "white."
Outlet plug strips used with a meter base device extend the protection to digital appliance features and home electronics, such as microwave ovens, big screen TVs, computers, answering machines, garage door openers and many other items.
Q. What items are most vulnerable to damage?
A. Entertainment systems, computers and answering machines seem to be the most vulnerable items. They can sustain lightning damage from multiple points of entry, including electricity, phone lines and coax cables. Some TESCO plug strips have three-way protection available at the appliance. TESCO also offers equipment for incoming phone and coax wires.
Protecting vulnerable home electronics, which can be a big investment, is the primary reason members inquire about Power Quality Plus.
Q. Are there warranty restrictions?
A. Yes. Most importantly, a proper home ground wire is required at the meter base. We will not install the meter base surge protector if a building does not meet this criteria - period. There's no warranty protection if there's no ground wire.
Additionally, home electronics must be protected by a TESCO plug strip in addition to the meter base unit. Both devices must show evidence of surge damage to activate the warranty. Meter base damage must also be evident to activate the "white goods" warranty.
Q. Does surge protection prevent blinks or outages?
A. No. The equipment does not prevent blinks, outages, provide back-up power or prevent damage that could result from low voltage. It does help prevent damage from excessive voltage.
Q. What conditions cause power surges?
A. The majority of surges are caused by lightning. Now through November, and each spring (April, May), Missouri weather is likely to produce storms with damaging lightning. The more electronics we have, the more damage lightning can cause. Accidental damage to electric facilities, such as a vehicle accident that damages poles and power lines, can also result in a rare voltage surge.
Q. What does Power Quality Plus protection cost?
A. Residential meter base units can be leased for $5.95/month or purchased for less than $300; both include installation by a Cuivre River Electric service crew.
TESCO outlet and plug strip prices range from $19 for a single plug up to $75 for a strip with multiple electrical outlets, telephone outlets and coax cable outlets. Hard-wired devices for telephone and coax cables are available for you to purchase and install for less than $75 each. Equipment for three-phase power is also available upon request for lease or purchase.
Gabe Twellman is a Member Services Representative in Troy. For more information contact Gabe at (800) 392-3709, ext. 4836.