Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative

To maximize your solar productivity, ensure that your roof is in good condition and isn’t shaded throughout the day.

If you ask me...

March is the time of year when Ohioans are treated to an occasional teasing day of sunshine and warmth before winter reminds us that it’s not done just yet.

We asked a handful of energy advisors from across the state to get us started with some basic information and a few questions to ask as you do your research. All of them agree on the most important step: Contact your electric cooperative before signing any agreement. This is a crucial part of the procedure, not only to ensure that your array is built correctly and properly connects to the cooperative’s system, but also to get an understanding of exactly how solar is going to work for you. 

Kelleys Island students

Winter's tale

Kelleys Island is both the largest American island on Lake Erie and also the town that covers the island’s entire 4.4 square miles of land. During summer, it’s one of Ohio’s most popular travel destinations, drawing upward of 250,000 visitors during the tourist season.

There is no bridge to Kelleys Island from the mainland, 5 miles away. Air service is available year-round — but only weather permitting. Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line schedules service into late fall and resumes service in the spring, but some years, the lake ice can linger, and spring fog can cause flights and ferries to be canceled. It’s never a sure bet whether you can get on or off the island in a pinch. 

In the early 1900s, it was common for more than 1,000 residents to brave the conditions and stay the winter, but today that number is more like 100 to 150.

Co-op annual meeting

In the know

For customers of an investor-owned utility like AEP or Dayton Power and Light, communication with their electric company probably extends no further than paying their bill or finding out how long an outage might last.

“Members who are engaged are the ones who will attend the annual meeting — for more than just the chance of getting a bill credit,” says Michael Wilson, director of communications at Logan County Electric Cooperative, based in Bellefontaine. “Without engaged and educated members, the cooperative business model could not exist.”

Tietje family in front of solar panels

Solar power: Call us first

Nick and Amanda Kelly knew they were making a long-term investment, one they hoped would benefit not only their wallets, but the entire planet.

“It’s like most things that sound too good to be true,” says Andrew Finton, energy advisor for North Central Electric Cooperative, of which the Kellys are members. “The solar company either didn’t have or didn’t give them any information that is specific to connecting to the (co-op) system, and it would have made a big difference — things like our on- and off-peak rates and our demand charge that are designed to make our billing fair to all of our members. The numbers they were using to estimate the savings on their bill weren’t even close to real life.”

Grob Systems

Co-op Spotlight: Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative

Serving more than 11,000 members in portions of 10 counties, Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative is located in the northwestern quadrant of the state, roughly centered around the city of Findlay.

Diverse consumer base

Findlay has been named the No. 1 “micropolitan” (a city between 10,000 and 50,000 people) five years in a row by Site Selection magazine for its ability to attract new business and expand existing ones. Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative works to be a partner in driving economic development in Findlay and the surrounding region. Employees establish and maintain strong ties with local and state government officials and cultivate relationships with business partners.

A photo of a collection of daylilies.

Daylily delights

Velvet Eyes and Wild Horses. Strawberry Candy and Pink Bikini. Snow Prince. Moonlit Masquerade. Dreamworld. Baby’s Got Blue Eyes.

Those alluring names are just a few of the thousands — literally thousands — of varieties of daylily. So captivating are these perennial posies, in fact, that Ann Brickner readily admits she is absolutely addicted to them.

David Ervin and Knute Lahrs pose for a picture beside the sign for Kelleys Island.

Kelleys Island: Old and New

Hop on a huge ferry boat, and after a 20-minute ride through the choppy Lake Erie waters, you’ll arrive at the idyllic Kelleys Island, about 4 miles north of Marblehead, Ohio, and the largest American island on the lake. The island is home to about 140 year-round residents, though the population swells to well over 400 residents and 5,000 tourists during the busy summer months.

An enormous spile holds long wire used to supply power.

Island power

Supplying electricity to an island is no small feat. Supplying reliable electricity to the largest American island on Lake Erie is a monumental task.

Kelleys Island, one of the most popular tourist destinations anywhere in Ohio, is entirely served by Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative, which has been charged with that job since its 1967 consolidation with the former Lake Erie Electric Cooperative.

A man grabbing an apple on a tree.

Apples: Everybody has a favorite

Clusters of apples begin to decorate trees in Dennis Thatcher’s orchard throughout each spring and early summer, promising the reward of sweet fruit and jugs of freshly pressed cider in the fall.

Thatcher and his wife, Angela, who reside in rural western Logan County and who are members of Logan County Electric Cooperative, established Thatcher Farm in 1972, when he planted a few apple trees. Today, the farm has more than 420 trees that produce 25 varieties.

A photo of Marblehead Lighthouse surrounded by people and Lake Erie in the background

Marblehead Lighthouse: Lake Erie icon

What is it that attracts us to lighthouses? Could it be their immovable stability in an ever-changing world? Mute guides to somehow show us the way, much as they do for wayward sailors?

Whatever the reason, people have been visiting the Marblehead Lighthouse on Lake Erie at the mouth of Sandusky Bay for nearly two centuries, ever since its construction in 1821. It’s the oldest lighthouse in continuous service anywhere on the Great Lakes.