AECI board elects new officers
The Board of Directors for Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), the statewide service organization of Arkansas electric co-ops and publisher of Arkansas Living, elected new officers at the AECI annual meeting on July 26. They are:
Clean your refrigerator’s coils
Your refrigerator is one of the largest, most-used appliances in your home. It requires only minimal maintenance — just simple cleaning of the condenser coils, which disperse heat. If the coils are covered with dust, gunk or pet hair, they cannot diffuse the heat properly and will not run efficiently.
A bigger problem can result if the compressor burns out from having to run constantly because of the grimy coating. This can be an expensive problem. The bottom line? A minor investment in time once a year can save you cold cash down the line. Here are some guidelines for cleaning the coils:
- Locate the refrigerator’s coil, a grid-like structure, or fan that will likely have a covering or grate protecting it. The coil is usually concealed behind the front toe kick or in the back. Some newer models have internal coils, so if you don’t find them in the front or back, this may be the case with your fridge.
- If the coil is in the back, slide the refrigerator away from the wall, removing the plug from the electrical outlet. You may also need to disconnect the line to the water dispenser or icemaker to allow enough room to work.
- Gently vacuum and clean the coil. Using the brush or crevice attachment, carefully vacuum the dust and dirt wherever you see it. If you have pulled the fridge out, vacuum and wipe down the sides and back of the fridge and the floor.
- Once the floor is dry, plug in the refrigerator and rearrange the power cord and supply lines so they don’t get a kink or get stuck under the weight of the refrigerator. Slide the refrigerator back into place. Be sure to replace the toe kick panel if this was removed.
A cybersecurity plan from the experts
Could a computer hacker shut down the nation’s electric grid?
Most experts answer that question with, “probably not.” Barry Lawson, associate director of power delivery and reliability for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and several others at NRECA run cybersecurity training sessions, publish security safety materials and develop techniques and software not only to keep the nation’s electric supply reliable and secure, but to protect sensitive member, employee and co-op data and information from identity theft.
Lawson says we can all use advice that’s the basis for how utilities protect themselves from cyberattacks: “Try to make it as difficult as possible, and put in as many layers of protection as possible.” Here are Lawson’s top four tips for protecting your computer:
- Make sure you have antivirus software installed on your computer, and remember to keep it updated.
- Don’t send emails containing personal information, like your date of birth or Social Security number, because that increases opportunities for mal-actors to steal your identity. Be careful of typing a credit card number into a website — if you do, make sure that it’s a secure website. You can tell whether it’s secure by looking for the “s” at the beginning of the website address. Most begin with “http://.” A secure site will begin with “https://.”
- Attachments or links in an email can contain malware that can infect your computer. Don’t open an email attachment or click a link unless you know the person sending it, and you were expecting them to send it to you (hackers can take over an account and make it look like it’s from a friend.)
- Monitor children’s online activity and make sure they know how to practice good cybersecurity. Visit the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team’s (UC-CERT) website for security tips on how to keep children safe online (https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST05-002).