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MC Fireside Chats - September 21st, 2022
21st September 2022 • MC Fireside Chats • Modern Campground LLC
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Are you a campground owner looking to save up on electricity costs? Or are you a camper looking for ways to spend less on camping fees? 

In this week’s episode of MC Fireside Chats, experts from the camping industry, Mike Harrison and Joe Duemig, joined by this week’s special guest Mike Sorensen, President & CEO of Wild Energy Inc., discussed pressing issues in the camping industry while highlighting how campground owners can benefit from utilizing the electricity. 

Harrison from CRR Lifestyle opened the discussion by highlighting the continued growth of the camping and RV industry, noting that it continues to be healthy.

He added that the recent announcement of raised rates on top of the inflation would impact the industry. 

Meanwhile, Duemig from App My Community talked about the status of campgrounds this season. He said that campgrounds in season are slowly winding down.

The experts also briefly shared industry events from which campground owners and operators will benefit. 

Sorensen of Wild Energy, a company that provides new energy monitoring and control solutions for the recreational vehicle industry, campgrounds said they aim to help campground owners recover the cost of providing power.

Sorensen emphasized that businesses like campgrounds have changed significantly over the last 12 months. 

Wild Energy helps operate parks using data, monitors meters, ensures no issues at campsites, checks voltage issues, and services campgrounds before it impacts guest campers.

Sorensen said they have seen electricity rates shift and how it impacts the rate decision-making of campground owners. When asked about how they help campground owners offset dramatic increases, Sorensen said the education aspect plays a vital role in the process.

“It will take a little bit of time, the industry is part of the whole education process, the education is an important aspect of it.” Sorensen ended.

Transcripts

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Welcome everybody to another episode of MC Fireside Chats.

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My name's Ryan Searl with Insider Perks here, again, as always with car Csizmadia

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from the Canadian Camping and RV council.

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It's a super interesting day.

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It's getting cold in Canada and the wind is blowing and gusting, and I've

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got a projector screen over here.

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That's probably gonna blow over in, kill me during the middle of the show.

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So Carrie is prepared to take over in case that happens, but in the meantime,

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just another exciting week full of awesome things that hopefully result in less

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technical difficulties than last week did.

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Super excited to be here with you again, on our regular monthly

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focused Campground owner show, talking about those kinds of things.

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And if you are watching your Campground owner and love to be on these shows

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and share your opinion, we are always looking for, I think maybe one or two

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other people to join us as regular guest.

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If you'd like to share your thoughts and opinions and maybe help the

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industry and things like that.

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But for now, we do have Mike Harrison here from CR lifestyle as always, he's got

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about 30 minutes to talk with us today.

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So thank him for joining us.

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We've got Joe from, at my community.

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Especially as Mike.

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So from wild energy, who's got all kinds of cool things that he's gonna share

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with us about ways that campgrounds can benefit from utilizing electricity,

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doing all this kinds of things.

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And my projector between literally lower backwards while I'm watching it, but

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hasn't killed me in the front end yet.

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Anyway so let's let's have Mike introduce himself because he is our special guest.

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Mike, you wanna tell us a little bit about wild energy and obviously we'll

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go into detail about your service and things like that, but just a

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brief introduction of who you are.

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Yeah, of course, Mike sores and I founded wild energy, which is it started off

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as electric metering and we're moving into some of the other utilities and and

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I came to the industry from the other side of the fence where I was a camper.

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Camped at lots of different campgrounds and it perplexed me why I was paying

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the same price to camp as, the big buses and the small tents and,

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one size fits all type pricing.

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And I would back in my big RV plug in and say, this is amazing.

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I get all this free power.

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And and that's where the idea came from to help the owners recover

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the cost of providing power.

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Kinda make it more fair for people who are Camping, pay for what you use.

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And we spent quite a while developing hardware and software and we've been

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out in the market now two years and.

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Thousands of sites across the country and love doing it.

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I love being in the industry and it's fun to get out to all the

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Campground and see what's going on.

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Wow.

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Sorry.

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It's literally gonna blow over if I jump up anyway, I can't take it down as a

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projector screen, but anyway, Mike, good to have you so sorry for the distractions.

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It didn't plan on any of this happening when we started the show,

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but it's always something interesting.

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We Dew isn't it.

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Cara probably should have done the show inside but anyway so yeah, we're,

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I'm really excited to talk to you, Mike, about some of your products and

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how they can benefit the industry can change things and stuff like that.

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So looking forward to that Mike what's new in your world since you've

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only got 30 minutes with you and I'm gonna go try to wait this thing down.

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What do you doing?

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What's new in our world.

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We're, monitoring the RV.

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Business, which looks continue to be healthy, right?

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The mix continues to change a little bit with more long term annual

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seasonal snowbird type stuff, and maybe a little bit less transient.

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So the ADR swings a little bit and then in the manufactured home neighborhood world,

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which isn't exactly this we're monitoring.

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Maybe 20 seconds ago just got the news alert that the fed raised rates

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by another 75 basis points, yucky.

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We knew it was coming.

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We thought it was October, that's a third one.

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That's two and a quarter points in the last two months or so, which

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is considerable, which affects, not just the MH industry, but clearly,

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obviously every industry discretionary spend and, financing and whatever that

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looks like I feel like the last three months, every time I'm on this call,

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I feel a bit doom and gloomy, Brian.

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It's not intended to be certainly as business owners and operators,

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clearly we have to live our life based on, understanding what's coming.

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RV industry continues to remain healthy, but how do we adjust to

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trends and those kinds of things, how do you foresee it an extreme swing?

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We went this really crazy kind of exponential growth and then,

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suddenly having to change back.

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The other way I think is, can be challenging for

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operators and Cara in Canada.

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Does it, I don't know, but is it the same type of financial condition?

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Are you experiencing inflation and how does the Canadian government work

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with, how they drive financing and what is the situation like in Canada?

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yeah, very similar.

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We have the bank of Canada, actually.

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Same thing just yesterday.

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We had another rate increase.

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So we are seeing some dynamic here.

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Inflation is crazy.

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Creating an interesting Google landscape here as well.

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I think it's definitely impacting, like you said, the shorter term transient day

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bookings, we absolutely have been hearing from campgrounds across the country

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from members of the association that booking numbers while not necessarily

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they are down, they are happening in.

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Duration in terms of book, how far out they're booking.

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So people are booking, less far in advance.

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I think that's directly related to everyone kind of towing the line

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and waiting to see what's happening financially in this country and how that

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will impact their own wallets and their own profit books and their ability to

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vacation and plan and all of those things.

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I, there's some sense of where's this gonna go in the next several months?

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We certainly are having, it's having a broader impact in

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terms of membership as well.

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I think, we're seeing things like some of our energy providers and

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some of our provinces are lifting pricing and things like that.

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And so that's having some significant impacts on some of our parks that.

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Maybe had great power pricing and now aren't able to access

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that competitive level of rate.

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And so that's obviously impacting bottom line which is tough when

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we're entering into floor oxygen here at this time of the year.

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Most of our parks, the vast majority are getting ready to close here in

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the next few weeks for the winter.

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But a lot of their expenses persist through those closed months.

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And being able to plan and sustain expenses when you don't really

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know what they're going to be is a stressful endeavor, I think.

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So yeah the inflation stuff is a big hurdle right now.

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And I agree.

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I think everyone's just watching and trying to be as adaptable as usual.

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Yeah, I think normally I use my B necklace if I'm talking about revenue

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generation, but I think it's appropriate, want where's like bling necklace.

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I also have one that I also have one that lights up and then normally during budget

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season, I'll use the magic eightball.

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So we can say, will the fed raise rates, will the fed raise

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rates again, in the next month?

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And let's see what the magic that's best way to trade the stock market with that

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magic eightball works for me every time.

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Definitely.

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And the magic eightball says undetermined at this time.

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Yeah.

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Feel like we could go to cnbc.com and determine it pretty quickly.

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It's yeah.

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Yep.

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Yep.

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And I think isn't isn't your, the prime minister of Canada, isn't he?

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Wasn't here on the bachelor.

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Last night that was all the news this morning.

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Tino looks exactly like Justin Trudeau.

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So I don't know if you saw that, but yeah, Justin's been in the

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news quite a bit the last few days.

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You can sing Bohemian Rhapsody too.

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That's awesome.

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Yeah.

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Anyway, yeah, he I think that's specifically what I'm writing relating

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to, when I mentioned the political impacts of some things there are moments

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of, some of the big players are talking about how that excessive spending and

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things like that at the federal level has really impacted our inflation rates.

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And there's some back and forth, really happening politically

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discussions about that stuff.

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I think that will really fuel any sort of political outcomes in this country,

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in the coming probably several months.

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Everyone is very fiscally minded right now with these bank of Canada

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re hikes and inflation being the way that it is possibly living is way up.

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And that absolutely will impact our industry, like all the others.

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Yeah.

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I think just like you're talking about Mike, like nobody wants to

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be doom and boom all the time.

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Nobody really knows what's gonna happen, but the best way is just be

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prepared for the worst case scenario.

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And then you're great if it's anywhere above.

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And I think strategically to pivot and strategize, if you're considering as

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a Campground owner that maybe you're gonna have less shorter term visitors,

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maybe you re-strategize some of your longer term pricing and get more

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competitive on some things or, up some services offerings and things like that.

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I think we can be considering that, guests may travel shorter distance may

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prefer to travel shorter distance, maybe new strategist, some of your advertising

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plans, so that you're doing more domestic, closer to home strategy stuff.

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We've got a couple of parks here in Alberta that are actually

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offering, stay close to home rates.

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So they're offering discounts to people who live within.

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A hundred kilometers of their park or whatever.

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I think there's ways to get creative and still people will still camp just

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their behavior around it, I think will shift with the, with these changes.

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Yeah, real question.

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I think the real question is will I throw Cara off with another pop

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culture and bachelorette reference?

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I think that's the more important and it says without a doubt, Kara's main job at

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all times to keep Brian back on track.

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And today Mike is substituting, I guess from, I know, right man, what happened?

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Sorry, does take, it does take two to four people to keep me

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on track every week, usually.

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Yeah.

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That's why we have all the guests.

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Yeah.

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I'm glad Mike can help you along with the throwing me off.

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That's good.

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Poor Dustin Trudeau that I haven't even, I don't watch the bachelorette,

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but I heard all about it.

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So he's really been in the news.

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Oh, I don't watch the bachelorette either with my wife.

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I heard I'll believe you.

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This might be the best show we've ever done.

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I don't know.

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Like maybe more people will watch this if we're not talking

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about things related to business.

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I don't know.

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Definitely Joe, what's new in your world before we talk to Mike

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about power and all those interest have a long discussion with Mike.

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So yeah, nothing too.

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Nothing too exciting.

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Or I would say for us the past four years, August and September

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are basically our slowest times.

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The campgrounds that are in season are winding down the Campground

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that are outta season still haven't really started winding up.

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This tends to be our slow time, but it's starting to ramp up.

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Now we're starting to get some new things in we're.

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I can't really say what we're doing, but we have some bigger releases

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coming in October for our customers.

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We'll tell you next on.

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So just I'll keep secret.

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I promise with you and all of your 1 million friends, correct?

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I think rose already posted it online.

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So she might rose gets that these timeline.

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She will always scoop Brian.

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Yeah, that's perfect.

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I'm glad.

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Joe, are guys going to shows and stuff?

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This call?

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Yeah.

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For sure we're gonna be at the glamping show coming up.

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Cool.

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We will be at AR we are not going to be incognito train show busters, like Brian.

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And we'll be going to New York for sure.

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COE and we're looking into Pennsylvania.

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Oh.

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And definitely we're going to Campex in Ontario.

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Amazing sound like a bad thing, Joe.

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I'm not an Ingo meter trade boat show, but I was invited to the GL show.

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I'm gonna the glam show.

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We're gonna do awesome things down there.

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Cara invited me RV MC hasnt got back to me yet, but we're

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gonna go to expo the expo pass.

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Hey, we we've done that before, too, before we actually had a product, we

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wanted to scout the industry a little bit.

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And so we did Raleigh, I don't know, five or six years ago

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rose and I came as expo only.

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And it was, even not going to the sessions you get a lot of insight into what's

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going on, so it was still worthwhile.

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And so yeah, trade show season is upon us and very busy.

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Yeah, I think one thing is I just wanted from a cover from a Modern

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Campground perspective, I just don't have the time to do the foods

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and all that stuff like I used to.

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So is Campex what used to be the Canadian outdoor conference?

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Is it the same thing?

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No, Campex is Ontario.

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Ontario's show specifically to that in province.

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Canada's national show will not be until the new year and is likely looking to

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be entirely virtual, still nationally.

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Yeah, some hurdles, some of that still for sure.

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Mike, it's basically their state show for Ontario.

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So it's the Ontario private Campground owners association, I believe.

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Yeah, they are now called Camping in Ontario.

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But used to be PCA they have a really robust membership based.

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And it's a really well put together conference.

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Lots of people go, I was there for a couple years before the pandemic so yeah.

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I would encourage you to go if you have the opportunity.

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Yeah.

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It's a great event heard I've I was planning on going to the

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Canadian outdoor one, but if it's virtual, then I can't do that.

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Yeah.

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Travel.

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It's quite expensive to get to your computer, Mike.

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I understand.

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Yeah.

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inflation turning us well.

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Yeah.

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For now there's still some limitations on us nationally which are dictating

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some of those choices, but we look forward to the future and then in person

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event nationally, I can't wait for.

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Yeah, for sure.

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Good things take time to build, so we'd rather take our time or you guys rather

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take your time and put someone that's fantastic instead of just good, right?

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Yeah.

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And we do have a couple of the provinces, like Camping in

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Ontario BC lodging camp Campground association has an event next month.

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So some of our provinces are doing some really cool stuff.

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And certainly we would never wanna overshadow or steal any

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thunder on those fronts too.

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So we're very supportive of those events.

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Shane and I will be attending in DC and I'm super excited to see

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how that event comes together.

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It'll be the first hybrid in person, virtual thing up here.

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And so I'm cannot wait to see how that comes together and how we can all gather.

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I think it's the first one in the industry.

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Like I don't think any of the us associations have also done virtual

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alongside their back to in-person.

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I haven't seen any and I'm sorry that I forgot to mention that one.

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I was thinking of the ones that we're traveling for.

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So we'll also be exhibit I forgot it too.

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So I'll I'm and I'm the MC of the conference.

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Yeah.

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Yeah, no I'm super excited for the one in BC.

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There's a lot of really great operators out there that I haven't had the chance

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to, shake hands with in a few years.

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I'm excited to see everybody in the room and via the screens for that one.

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For sure.

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Can't wait, Mike, you should come to the BC one.

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Yeah, send me the link.

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Not, Mike, we're both Mike's.

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Yeah.

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Mics.

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You come too, Mike, I guess we can see you twice.

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If we have to see Arabic and there that's fine.

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I'll deal with it.

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But no.

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Mike, do you sell, tell us about so let's dive into wild energy for a minute.

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Do you do operations in Canada?

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We are close we're in.

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We have to go through certification with measurement Canada.

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And that is a lengthy process, but we've started that process and we hope to be

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able to sell and install in the spring.

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So we will be at the Ontario show.

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Yeah.

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And then hopefully we'll get approved to sell and install in the spring.

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Tell us about wild energy, right?

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So we've heard a lot about you.

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You've been all over social media, heard a lot of good things from good people.

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I think Mike is one of your supporters, the other Mike, I don't know Mike

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and Mikey or I thought we were here to harm wrestle on this show.

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Yeah, go ahead.

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We can have a discussion.

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I'm ready.

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yeah.

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But yeah.

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Tell us about wild energy.

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What sets you guys apart?

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What makes you different?

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Why did you enter the space kind of your whole little brief background if you want.

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Yeah.

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So just to expand on entering the space my background is a, is technology.

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I've been a chief technology officer in healthcare, financial services.

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This is actually my second startup company.

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Although I've never done hardware before, so I've learned a little, a

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thing or two about building hardware.

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It's a little bit more difficult than software.

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Anytime there's a mistake in this hardware, you gotta

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go back to manufacturing and that's a little bit painful.

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So we've learned a few things along the way.

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And and I can say that businesses changed significantly over

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the last TW 12 months even.

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We are learning more and more things from our owners and our partners about what we

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can do with the technology and the data.

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So we initially start off just as I would say, a meter reading company,

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we're gonna automate the meter reading and and we're accumulating

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so much data from these meters that now we're starting to gain insights

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and use that data in different ways.

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So we monitor the meters to make sure there's no issues at the camp site.

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We do that with new, a lot of new builds.

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So interesting story.

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There is we were working with a new build, put in all of

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our meters before they opened.

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And, they energized the park and, 30 of their a hundred sites were bad.

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They had issues with the electrical.

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And so they wouldn't have known that without the data that we were

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getting back, they had voltage issues on the lines in those sites.

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So that proactively allowed them to fix that before they

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officially opened the park.

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And so we see that occasionally, throughout parks that we're

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monitoring, we'll see voltage issues.

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And, our staff calls them and says, Hey, we've got a

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problem with site 35 out there.

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And they can proactively service those before it impacts

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a reservation or a customer.

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We're using the data now to spot high energy usage.

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So we found some interesting things as we put meters in and

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we can see what's going on.

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I can tell every time an EV plugs in, as an example, we get

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a high energy alert on this side.

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And we communicate again with our customers to say,

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Hey, are you built for EVs?

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Are you expecting that kinda load?

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Is it a single run?

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Is it a Daisy chain run in your park that can handle that type of thing.

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So getting a little bit more consultative with them and using that

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data to help them operate their parks.

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And then we know which parks can't handle that type of load.

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So when we see an alert, we let them know so that they can address it.

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So it's an opportunity to communicate with the customer about

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expectations of service in the park.

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And we're doing more on, I would say on the consulting side with

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new park builds what they should plan for and what they should do.

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We work with a company called electrical works, which is

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also based here in Florida, but they're licensed in 13, 15 states.

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So they've been a great partner and resourced us on design build.

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And so we create data and they trade design, secrets on what

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they do when they build parks.

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So all that to say that our technology has continued to change and we keep

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investing in it portals and interfaces and integrations with the PMs systems

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out there so that we can do billing better and communicate with the

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customer better on what their usage is.

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So a lot of changes in the last 12 months, for sure.

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So I am curious, one thing you touched on, and obviously there's a lot, you touched

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on that we wanna follow up with I'm sure.

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Kara has questions.

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Mike, get to talk to, some different things.

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Or Mikey, whatever we're calling it.

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But Mike Sorenson, Mike S you mentioned that the electrical voltage issues

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that you were helping to uncover, how common are these at parks?

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Can they be traced back to the contractor you choose just not

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building up to standard or do they recur based on wear and tear or yeah,

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a lot of different factors there.

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So the number of camp sites that you have strung together

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can affect your voltage load.

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When you have a high load on all these sites that drops voltage.

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And then to your point, where and tear, if the cable in the

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ground was put in as direct burial cable, it's not as protected.

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So if you do, if you've got land, re landscape something, or somebody put

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a wifi pole in a lot of times you can Nick those cables and now you

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get groundwater getting into them.

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And so over time you start seeing degradation of one of the legs

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of service out to the campsite.

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So number of different reasons, and it.

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It does pop up.

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We've probably seen it at 5% of our customers, every year we see

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something different, it pops up.

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Now, when you say wear and tear over a certain number of years is there a,

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I assume it's expensive to redig this stuff up and redo it, but is there a

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blueprint or a best case you give to somebody who's developing or renovating

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a park to, to do this, even though it costs more because it will protect

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you for X number of years or yeah.

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That I would defer a question like that to an electrical contractor.

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I didn't know how involved you were with I'll let you to work.

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Would be better able to answer a question like that.

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But I can tell you, we see more issues with direct burial cable

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than if they put it in conduit.

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That's for sure.

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Yeah.

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We'll have to do that, Cara, sometime have somebody on that

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can talk about that kind of thing.

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Cause I think it's interesting for operators to be educated

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on this kinda thing.

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Yes, absolutely.

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I had to that point, I had one, I was just talking to a contractor the other day.

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He says I won't do it anymore.

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I won't put direct burial cable.

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So they ask me to do that.

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I tell 'em to go find a different contractor.

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It's just not worth it to have my reputation, my license on the line

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to, take that kind of a shortcut.

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But we still see parks doing it.

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And, I think it depends on the terrain and the weather and wetness.

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And again, a planner would know that better than I would now do you, and from

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a monitoring standpoint, obviously all the things you've touched on are great, right?

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From an operator standpoint, they can see the spikes and energy in the

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electrical vehicle usage and, stop these people or charge with people

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more or whatever they wanna do as a reaction or a proactive step.

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Are there ways that you think down the line, or maybe you do this

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already, that this could also benefit consumers from maybe they wanna

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watch their energy standpoint from a meter, like a seasonal perspective?

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Yeah.

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AB absolutely.

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And that's a great point.

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One of the things we did release this year was a consumer portal where

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they can watch their own meter and see their consumption, cuz they.

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They inevitably doubt, doubt, oh, I shouldn't be charged

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that much for my electricity.

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So now we give all the data, they can see exactly when they use it.

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And seasonal's a great pointer.

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You know what I call a weekender, they'll say, oh, I wasn't here all week.

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We can tell that they left their air conditioning at yeah.

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You left in a hurry on Sunday night and you left your air

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conditioning on all week.

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And here's the data to back it up and what was going on.

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So it does get them better insight.

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And I'll tell you at the parks where we put metering in for the first

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time we see the usage in the demand drop by about 25 to 30% consistently.

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If you go from a non metered park to a metered park the

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overall energy usage drops 30%.

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It's pretty amazing that it's pretty consistent and that's

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really that's conservation.

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Right there.

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They're conserving a lot of energy.

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It is less wear and tear on, on the electrical infrastructure.

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It actually gives you more capacity for things like EVs and electric RV.

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And that's all because you've shifted the accountability to the consumer.

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Now they're responsible for what they use.

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Exactly.

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I was gonna ask about EVs, are you seeing Campground starting to shift to servicing

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them and does that impact, consumption?

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Are you seeing consumption being impacted by that yet?

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AB yeah, absolutely.

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So we are seeing, because we can see all these sites now

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we're seeing more EVs pop up.

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, we see them stay for longer period of time and the consumption is double on average.

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So what we've seen is a normal camper that St.

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Campground versus somebody with an EV it's double the use of if

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you have one of those things.

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And I think that is something to plan for when we start seeing electric RV show up.

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So that electric RV is gonna be very similar.

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It has one cable coming outta the RV.

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It's used to recharge the chassis battery and that same battery is

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used for all the appliances, all the heat, all the air condition.

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So we'll definitely see more demand from electric RVs than a typical RV

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that has a mix of propane and electric

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uses.

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Oh, I'm sorry.

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Go ahead, Cara, please.

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Yeah, I'm just wondering if you are seeing it's forgive me, cuz

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typically Canada's a little bit behind what's happening in the states.

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And so I'm always interested in paying attention to title down there.

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Are you seeing parks start to shift to More and more to a hundred amp service

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or are we still 50 amp and it away here?

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Yeah that's a great question.

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And it's one that's often misunderstood, I would say so most

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pedestal have a 50, 30 and a 20.

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And and so it's really about the service coming into the pedestal.

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Whether you can take a full hundred amps, those pedestals a 50, 30,

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20 is rated for a hundred amps.

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And the realistic load that you can put on one of those, this is about

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80 amps, but that does depend on the wiring back to the main circuit

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breaker and obviously the panel boards.

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So most of the parks we work with do have a hundred amp capabil

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capability to the PA to the pedestals.

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We do have a couple of parks and even one new build park where they only

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put 50 and they are struggling even in their first year of operation.

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So they only ran smaller wire, 50 amps to the pedestal.

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And we've seen a couple of EVs pop in there and they trip breakers.

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No doubt about it because they didn't put as much capacity in the ground.

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Can you and Mike and I, and you can say no, cuz I just don't know if you can

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speak to this, but can you speak to the higher electricity rates and how those

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are impacting park owners or no, I can.

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Yes.

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That's a good segue as well.

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We saw electric rates shift substantially this year.

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So we have customer in new Hampshire's rates went up 38% and that just

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happened in the fall and it's expected to run through the spring and they

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may sustain it, but they've only committed communicated that rate

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increases six months at this point.

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But it's, that was the 38% Florida.

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We had a 13% increase in our rates.

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And then I'm looking at my board here.

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Oh, I'm wrong.

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New Hampshire is double New Hampshire doubled.

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It was Louisiana that went up 38% California their rates have gone up.

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In fact, their peak rate they're what's concerning people in California.

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So middle of the day peak rate, that could be double or even triple for those hours.

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And we've been asked to provide, get more sophisticated on the billing of

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electricity during peak energy hours.

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Because a lot of operators will set their charge recapture at 15 cents a kilowatt.

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If it's closer to a dollar on your peak rate you're losing out on a

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huge chunk of cost recapture if you're not dynamically capturing that and

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rebuilding that back to the customer.

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So we'll have to get more sophisticated with our data and how we pass that

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back to the PMSs for re rebuilding the consumer because of all these rate

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changes and throughout the day, Do you feel like there's a point where,

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and I wanna let Kara talk about what's happening in Alberta too briefly

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in a second, if she wants to share.

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But do you think there's a point where this impacts rate decision making other

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than just seasonals, but overnight, is there a point where I, as a park owner

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instead of my two, $5, $10 a night increase, do I have to raise it 1520?

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Yeah.

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No, you wouldn't do that necessarily, but I think what we'll see is the shift

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from this flat rate on a transient or an overnight to flat rate plus electricity.

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So they'll break that component out.

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Otherwise you're just eating into your profit margin.

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When the energy's up, you made less profit.

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If the consumer came with the Navy, you made less proper, maybe you even lost

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because they shoot up so much energy.

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So we are seeing that, that electricity is now being charged

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on shorter and shorter stay.

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People are moving from monthly to 10 days or longer, and that we have some parks

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along the interstate that are looking to do daily charge, recapturing electricity.

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but, so my question is how do you offset that in the mind of the consumer?

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Because I agree with you that there needs to be a way for these parks to, to

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somehow offset this, especially with these dramatic increases, we're seeing in states

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and in provinces and really everywhere in the world natural gas and everything else.

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But how do you offset that from a marketing perspective?

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Because these consumers are not, and have almost never been expected to pay

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this on an overnight daily rate before.

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Yeah.

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It will take a little bit of time.

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And the industry as a whole is part of that education process.

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We do see it with electric vehicles.

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If the owner knows you're coming with an EV and your overnight I've even seen

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some of those Campground charge 25, or even I've seen a $50 a day additional

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charge because you brought an EV so folks that have electric vehicles are

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starting to hear about this already.

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From wild energy.

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You're actually, we're actually gonna put time and energy into helping our

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customers with that marketing effort.

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So pamphlets and brochures, and this is why you recharging for electric,

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and this is what it means and you know how conservation's involved.

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So the education is an important aspect of it.

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And then we are finding that consumers are already aware of it.

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So they are starting to be aware that, Hey, I'm paying for that guy.

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Who's charging the EV oh, wait a minute.

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I'm paying for the guy.

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Who's got the big pre bus and I've only got this 15 foot travel trailer.

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So the consumers are becoming a little bit more savvy on that.

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Electricity is part of that rate that they're paying and they're subsidizing

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the folks that are using more energy.

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So I think I don't disagree with you and I'm just gonna play a little bit

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of hardball with you for a second.

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Cause, cause I understand absolutely the electrical vehicle, right?

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There's no question.

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If you have an electrical vehicle, that's a very clear

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link between I need to pay more.

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This car is drawing where it wasn't drawing it before, but for the people

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who are doing the same thing that they've always done and coming into the

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overnight sites, yes, that's a little bit of education, but that's the same

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thing as the people who used to and still do in some cases break apart,

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the, this cabin includes screw people.

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And if you have three, then we're gonna charge you extra.

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And some people will like that.

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And a lot of people will hate that.

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And so how do I offset that negative negativity from an

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owner's perspective when the park down my street isn't doing it.

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Yeah.

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Yep.

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And it's funny, we find the biggest complainers are the biggest

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abusers if they go hand in hand.

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So when we start putting meters in charging seasonals, even it's

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the guy with the big fifth wheel that has the three air conditioners

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that keeps his door open all day.

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And has it set to 62?

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He's the one that's complaining the loudest about his bill.

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So you're absolutely right.

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That there are gonna be complainers out there.

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The kind of the analogy is you don't give everybody free firewood.

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You don't let, 'em come into your camp store to pick out candy bars every day.

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They're only a dollar.

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So it is changing the mind, the consumer that you don't get things for

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free that you're consuming or using.

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And yeah, and I'm not saying I'm playing devil's advocate, I'm not saying I'm

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against what you're doing or for it.

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I don't know enough about it.

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I'm just simply saying, I think there's a difference between a candy bar.

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That's always cost and fire with it's always cost versus they've got

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something for free and now all of a sudden you're gonna charge for it.

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Yeah.

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I think it's valuable to try to help the consumer understand

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that it's never been free.

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yeah.

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There are some barriers to this on the other end where I know

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lots of jurisdictions limit the ability to resell power.

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And a lot of Campground have avoided going there because of

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that, because of the concern about.

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Getting in trouble for power resale.

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There's a lot of gray area, I think regulation, isn't clear oftentimes about

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the fact that it's typically actually you can't resale power for a profit.

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That's right.

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And so that part get gets missed.

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So I, I think broadly it's an education component.

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I do think given that we're seeing this massive kind of societal

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expectation to shift your energy consumption behavior on a societal

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overall level, I think consumers are.

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More receptive to learning about shifting their behavior, because

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we're seeing it in this societal way.

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If it was just our industry, just the campers, just the right.

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Then I think it would be a bigger hurdle.

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But given that in a, in an overall, almost global yeah.

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Level, we have this expectation to start shifting the way we consume

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and perceive our energy use and be more responsible about it.

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And I really think that is, is the catalyst for shifting perspective

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from on, at the consumer level.

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Yeah.

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We're certainly benefiting from that.

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As you mentioned, the awareness of the energy grid and the cost of energy and

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the shift to electric vehicles, it is in the forefront of every new you can't.

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Go to a news channel or a news story without seeing something energy related.

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And so the consumer is Dr.

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Is into it, whether you like it or not at this point, most

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of it comes down to messaging.

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So it just depends on the messaging and the type of clientele you have.

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If you're in certain areas, you're going to the messaging around it is

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going to be the conservation aspect.

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, if you're in other areas, it might be the EV aspect and in other areas it might be,

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Hey, most of our campers don't use that much electricity, but they're subsidizing

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the other campers and messaging it in a way that smooth over the majority of your

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detractors, you're always gonna have some, and like Mike said, sometimes this is

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gonna be the worst the worst offenders.

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They're also driving couple million dollar rings, right?

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Yeah.

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And Joe, that's a great point.

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And I wanted to, and I know it's hard to get you in here into this conversation,

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but I think we can, from a campers perspective, if you're willing to

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share, like how do you handle that?

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How would you look at something like that from a campers perspective?

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Do you plan ahead?

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Do you already try to conserve or how does that work for you and your family?

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I don't know, actually we ever ran into it.

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So we're not seasonal campers, so we've never ran into that sort of start

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charging on a daily rate when you were traveling with your family, right?

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Yeah.

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And it would be on, and it would obviously depend on the messaging.

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It's that now my expectation would be that their base price would be

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lower than the Campground around them.

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Unless they're, unless it's obviously a resort where the campgrounds

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around them are campgrounds.

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But my expectation would be that their base price would be a little bit lower.

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And then, then we were paying for the electricity separate.

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And so to us, I think we would, I think we would really okay with it.

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I'm not 100% positive.

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Again, it depends on the messaging.

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If it would just happen and it was an extra charge that.

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When they go and I go and I book and it doesn't maybe has a line

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in the disclaimer saying you'll be building for your electricity.

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And then I go and I check out and there's an extra, a hundred dollars

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charge on there for the, three or four days that I was there.

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I would not be a happy camper, literally.

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Yeah.

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Is there a scenario you could foresee where it may impact your decision

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of where to stay us in particular?

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No.

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I don't, we are traveling a lot of times for different reasons and it probably

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would not, but even if I were traveling normally as long as those kind of offsets

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were, the messaging was good and the.

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Of pricing worked out I don't think it would, I don't think

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it would matter to us very much.

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So that's the in regards to conservation, right?

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We can, I'm sorry, I didn't interrupt you.

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Go ahead.

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Finish.

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I apologize.

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was gonna say, and in regards to conservation in obviously dependent

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on how much, how transparent that is to us, if if we don't see in front

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of us, how much we're using it's hard to, it's hard to know, none of us

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really have that much insight, right?

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Most people aren't running with with a meter at all times, and in

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tracking how much they're using, because as Mike said, it's free.

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And so that's something very new.

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One of the things I think we will with though is how many

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camp campers now are coming solar equipped and have solar onboard.

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But they're still hooking up because it's easier they're they, they don't have

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to have their solar panels being used.

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And now those people might not even hook up, they'll pay for your,

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the site and not hook up because they're now getting a cheaper site.

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And just using what's on board to power everything.

Speaker:

And you, it's an interesting segue actually.

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And I don't know, again, I have all these questions for Mike that you probably

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can't answer, but maybe you can we need a solar person on this show too, but from a

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solar perspective, Mike, this data you're collecting is it possible for you to infer

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or tell a Campground, like maybe it's cost effective now this usage or this output to

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switch to solar or put some on your land?

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Yeah they, we're when we talk about Campground power usage,

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it's megawatts, those Campground are burning a lot of power.

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And so to put a solar array in that's that big would takes a lot

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and a lot of capital expense have a couple that have some solar energy.

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And I would say that they're offsetting their own usage.

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So they're offsetting their buildings and their pools and their,

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they're able to offset their own costs with a smaller solar array.

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But they're to build one big enough to power Campground you'd need a

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big field and a lot of equipment.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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I'd be interested to hear given that Mike and Joe are both on the call, how your,

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how your two businesses could integrate.

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Do you foresee an opportunity potentially where something like at my community,

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in one of the parks could integrate wild energies, consumer dashboard

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in their app or something like that.

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I've got two ideas, but they're not good.

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So you guys go first?

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Yeah.

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I'll let Joe speak of that first.

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Yeah.

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So actually Mike and I have talked about it a little bit.

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The way they have Mike has a website where already that people can go and put

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Put in their meter number and get it.

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The easy and simple thing is putting it in front of them.

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For customers that we would share, they would have an, without us

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doing any extra work right now, they would have an easy way to go.

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And here's the site, here's the instructions on how you go and put the

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number in, where you find that number on the meter base, and then you can see

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it and then, and we'll stay with you and you see it throughout your stay.

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But we're, we also talked about some other ways.

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We might be able to leverage that in terms of making it easier,

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you scan your meter base or do integrate with some PMs systems.

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I'm not positive that we would be able to know, but if we can know.

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From their site number in further meter base, and then from their

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meter base connect directly to Mike and just show at real time, that's

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that's what we would like to do.

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But it is gonna require communication between us PMs systems and Mike.

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And , so it's a little more complex and just what's available in those

Speaker:

PMs cuz you know, the meter based members are typically gonna be

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custom fields in those PMs systems.

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And so it's whether or not those would even put it out via API

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for us to get that information.

Speaker:

But that's been interesting.

Speaker:

That's go ahead, Cara, for us.

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No, I was just gonna say, I know for me as a former operator, like

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I would love to see that kind of integration and automation in my tools.

Speaker:

No yeah.

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Cuz I think that's the ultimate answer like you're talking about

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is putting it in front of them.

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Is making it seamless so you can open up your app and here's your stay detailed.

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And here's your meter number, but your current energy usage that maybe you

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can monitor throughout your system.

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And I think that convenience would allow people to bring more awareness to it.

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And I think that the majority of people that would probably adjust

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their power consumption based on that, whether they're being charged

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for it or not is a different story.

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I think there's gonna be a lot of people who would do it just based on knowing it.

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And then more people obviously charge daily, overnight rates as well.

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And I think it eliminates the possibility of that surprise hundred

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dollars charge or whatever, maybe not eliminate, but it reduces the

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possibility of it right engaged.

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And you've had several touchpoints and you told them at checking and they

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have the access to the app and all of these things, the possibility of

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them being, feeling blindsided by a.

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Is reduced for sure.

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And not saying this is something we would do.

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But the possibilities are there that, it could be that Mike Mike's system has

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enough data and has an algorithm now that knows Hey, nothing else has been turned

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on and off except the air conditioner.

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And it's middle of the day.

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Nothing else has been done.

Speaker:

You could send a notification out to those people saying,

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Hey, you're not there tomorrow.

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If you're doing the same thing, turn off your AC or move your

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AC up to save money for today.

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Because when you're Camping, you spend half the time or more away

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from the RV, unless you have.

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Then AC just runs.

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Now you can't turn it off if you're in Florida in the

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middle of summer, because okay.

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If you have any chocolate and your egg, it's not going to be chocolate anymore,

Speaker:

, but you could at least turn things up or do something else to conserve.

Speaker:

And again, it's one of those things that right now, it's not

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in the forefront of my mind.

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It would be if I was paying that those rates.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

And you guys are touching on an important point that we hope to do with either

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one of the PSS or Joe or somebody is more communication to the end consumer.

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So we do have data about the average in the park, or, Hey,

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it's gonna be a hot day today.

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These are things you could do to conserve.

Speaker:

So giving the consumer the option to sign up for those types of alerts

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or hear those types of messages, or know when they're over the average.

Speaker:

I think the communication through an app or through, another means is an important

Speaker:

thing that we'll look to do in the future.

Speaker:

Absolutely.

Speaker:

And this, see, this brings me to my bad ideas, which we really

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need a lawyer on the show for, but I feel like communication.

Speaker:

Number one, I agree with you right before I get to this ridiculous.

Speaker:

But I think the communication is right, like again, we've talked about

Speaker:

making the consumer aware and they'll probably do a better job and do

Speaker:

that, but there, there could be, you could have a consumer ranking system.

Speaker:

Like I wanna save birth to, I want everyone to die in global warming.

Speaker:

And you could just rank the consumer basement energy usage during their day.

Speaker:

You could send them push notifications that are automated, so they read

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their on and they're hot out.

Speaker:

You could send a push notification.

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That's automated that says, listen, I know it's hot out, but really come

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on, you could guilt ship them to push message, push notifications,

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Joe, all those kinds of things.

Speaker:

Why not?

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Why not make everybody I'm a.

Speaker:

They can be good push notifications, right?

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Send them a whole certification where thanks for turning off your ear.

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Just stay or something.

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I don't know.

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Yeah.

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Whatever you win the conservation award, here's your gift.

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Yeah.

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Yes.

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That's.

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That's not where you get a free ice cream cone, like legit.

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This is a terrible idea.

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But the reward system is not that bad for saving energy.

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Reward them with things from your store or free stays or

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discount or whatever you want.

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Absolutely energy.

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So that Searl, like even my terrible ideas eventually lead to something.

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See, I would sponsor that sometimes sponsor it.

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Mike do it most of the time, not my other terrible idea is

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they just need to work off.

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If you can't resell.

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And maybe this is probably not legal and you should not listen to, I'm

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saying, could you just have your, could you put the bikes in your fitness room

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that generate electricity and force your campers to work off their bill?

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Yeah.

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And profit that way?

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Yeah, that's right in the sorry, John, you've got 30 more minutes pedal faster.

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If you wanna go to the pool, it closes that idea.

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It sounds legit.

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I'm just saying it wouldn't be reselling electricity.

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It's a profit center.

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This is what I'm here.

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Yeah, profit center is a whole new ballgame.

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Yeah.

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Yeah, no, I love all of this.

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I really think this really speaks to, as all, as I say, all the time, the

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ingenuity of our industry and great things are happening with all of our

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automations and things like that.

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I remember in my day when we first installed meters at our sites and having

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to walk around with a clipboard and note down meter numbers and things like that.

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Times have really, for sure changed.

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And that's great to see, I think Brian and I always, I think we get

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in trouble sometimes for talking about automation too much, but

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it's a really valuable to enhance efficiency and all of those things.

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I applaud both.

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Both of you gentlemen.

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All three of you actually, for all the I'll give Brian some credit too.

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But yeah.

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Some of the ideas are all right.

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But yeah, I'm super excited to see stuff like this continue to happen.

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I really think the energy conversation is just, obviously it's everywhere right now.

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It's top of mind for everybody.

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And we're having, like I mentioned earlier, some issues with some of the

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provinces with with providers and pricing and things like that, you expand on that.

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Cause I've been meaning to ask you, I just haven't had a chance to work in it yet.

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Yeah.

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Vaguely or however you need to be.

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But I think it's an issue that could happen in any state.

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Yeah.

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Some of our, we have had some issues with some previous association buying

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group access to some vendors come apart because of the way the market

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has been in the, in recent months.

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And we're in a situation where several members are suddenly facing

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a pretty significant rate hike because they were covered under this

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really valuable member program prior.

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And now suddenly as if not long term, now won't be anymore and

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are facing the prospect of paying retail and that has significant

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implications for their bottom line.

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I think that's something that's a barrier to understanding for some consumers as

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well is things like that happening at a small business level have significant

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implications specifically for our seasonal parks who parts flat rate for the season.

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And typically, charge that price in April or whatever.

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And then, by the time September or October, it comes around, their expenses

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could be a completely different ballgame.

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And certainly that's the, a risk factor that an operator has to,

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bear when making business decisions.

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But sometimes it can be extravagant.

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We have some members suddenly having to recalculate seasonal rates for next year

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because of this, their direct implications of their power pricing changing so quickly

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and unexpectedly right after, they made, some of them have done recent rate hike,

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rate hikes in the prior couple of years.

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And so now you're talking right again.

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And so when you risk those consumer upset things we were talking about

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earlier it does have implica implications across the board for consumers as well.

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I think and that in this environment where inflation is big and we're all

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watching our pocket books could have an impact on the industry as a whole

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and the number of campers we have heading out and all of those things.

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So we wanna be stay on top of issues like this and pay

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attention to what's happening.

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And I really think it does make a big case for the metering conversation.

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My suggestion for sure, to those couple of parts that have been facing

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this issue recently is students sell meters and start sharing that

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information with their guests.

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I think campers typically was mentioned earlier, don't really

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notice, or aren't cognitively aware of how much their consumption is.

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And so giving them that tangible data is so super valuable.

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I think even if you're just sharing it with them for information purposes but

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certainly is valuable to the operator to be tracking and charging back for

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those expenses and motivating, ultimately motivating the consumer to to change their

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behavior in a positive way for everybody.

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That's what I was gonna say when you were talking too is even if you don't

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take action right away to meter overnight sites, if you can figure out a way

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to monitor it and give that to the customer as a line item, or even a push

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notification on Joe, that, that says you saved X amount of dollars that you

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otherwise would've spent on electricity.

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And then just getting that into the mind and if enough Campground do that, then

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I think that helps shift the mindset before there's action taken too, right?

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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I think all these are great ideas.

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I'd love to see campgrounds continue to, innovate like this and.

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It definitely will have an impact on the market for sure.

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Yeah.

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Carrie, you brought up a good point, which is when you try to factor

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electricity into your rates and you've sold the spot and you've already

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locked in that rate, have you locked in next year's electrical increases?

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Probably not.

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You might get burned by that and yeah, it's hard to forecast

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what the rates are gonna be.

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Yeah.

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The market has been so volatile.

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If we continue to see, rate hikes and all these kinds of things happening

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fiscally, I think it's gonna be harder and harder to make that

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kind, those kinds of preassessment.

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And so shifting to a model like this is probably valuable, long term, so

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that it becomes almost a non-issue like Joe said, maybe your flat rate

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is your no rate is a bit lower, but your Your variable expenses that are

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being impacted by consumer behavior are covered on the bottom line side.

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So one thing I had Mike, it's switching gears a little bit is what

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does a retrofit look like for you?

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What is it just changing Mount meter bases or is there more

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to it for the Campground owner?

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It's pretty simple.

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If you already have meters and the cares point you're done with the clipboard

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and you want to get the data and make billing easier, it is simply pull out

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the old meter plug in the new meter.

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It's pretty damn simple.

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The Campground that don't have meters, it's a little bit more complicated.

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You have to rewire the pest a little bit, but while that's more work, the return

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on that investment is ridiculously short.

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So what's ridiculously short five, it can be four or five months

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depending on your rates and how much energy you're recovering.

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Yeah, the quickest you've ever seen somebody do it.

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Four months.

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It's new record for you to break Mike.

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Next time we talk gotta be three and a half California have some

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options some things in California that might break that record.

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Yeah, no rush.

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it is.

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It is interesting though.

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Like I think that, I think you're right that the industry maybe end up,

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ends up moving in this direction and maybe it's a good thing given the power

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fluctuations and things like that.

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But I think it's all gonna depend on a lot of timing and marketing and effort.

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And I think it's also gonna depend on when you decide to deploy this we've talked a

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lot on this show and at the beginning of the show about how inflation is hitting

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consumers, and if you're going Camping and you're still budgeting that in, and

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you can choose between a park that's gonna meteor electricity and one that isn't,

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it's gonna be tough for a little bit.

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I'm just saying for parks to decide to implement this, is it impossible?

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No, but I would make the adverse argument.

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Brian is if I'm gonna reduce my flat rate here, If I'm currently charging

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$65 a night to stay, and instead I'm gonna charge 55 plus power.

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Now the consumer has the ability to alter their behavior to save some money.

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And I agree with you if that offset is in place.

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Absolutely.

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I'm not saying I have the answer, I'm just talking through the options.

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Exactly.

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And me too.

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I think we can see this from multiple angles and as an operator, do you

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prioritize that ability to impact consumer behavior or at least give them

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more control over what their expense is or, just repeat your thought.

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We'll be up to individuals as they go and may take some trial and error stuff.

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But I think for me as a camper, I love the idea of being able to I'll pay

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the flat rate and I'll pay extra, cuz I've gotta bring, all my teenage kids,

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friends with me when I go and I'll pay extra if we use too much power, but

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if not, I'm happy to get a lower rate.

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But the question is then is do all Campground.

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Is you at the Campground owner?

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Would you automatically lower your rate if you had no other competition in the area?

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No one was comp competing and you could still charge $65 a night

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and charge electricity, right?

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Would you automatically lower it?

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I don't think most Campground would, there are many variables to this

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kinda, I know we've got one minute in 20 seconds to talk through.

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'em all.

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So shut up and listen to me, it depends entirely on, in my

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opinion, on your customer base.

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Your business model.

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Are you long, typically longer term stay?

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It also depends on the level of amenities you offer it.

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There are a variety of that's right.

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Things happening in that decision.

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And I think every operator out there is aware of that.

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They will have to make their decisions.

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I'm just saying for me as a camper, if I'm concerned about my energy

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consumption or about binging my pennies, I might choose the Campground who

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gives me a lower rate and then power on a meter basis so that I can, those

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are priorities for me as a consumer.

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And that's a choice I'm gonna make, not all of us Camping are gonna choose

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or prioritize those same choices.

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Of course not.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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So I think Campground will have the ability to I was safe there's

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room for many of us in the market.

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The market will always dictate, but I really think it's a great way to.

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Strategize going forward in, in the way the environment is right now with

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both energy and inflation cost of living things, variables for sure.

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Awesome.

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Any final thoughts, gentlemen, running outta time here, Joe, Mike, nothing here?

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No, we could talk about this for quite a while.

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I think the whole rate design and market capacity and all those

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dynamics that care about are factors.

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For sure.

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Absolutely awesome.

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And Mike definitely reach out to BC's association too, because I think if

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you're gonna expand into Canada and you're going to Ontario already, you should

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definitely talk to Josh over there at BC runs a great association, even if you

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don't make it to this year's conference.

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So thank you everybody for joining us.

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I really appreciate you.

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You being here for their episode of MC Fireside Chats, it was a great discussion.

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I think, as Mike said we can have more shows on this and we need to involve

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the solar guy and a power guy and things like that and close the leap on all this.

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And there's really endless education we can do in the industry.

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But Cara, anything you wanna say before we sign off?

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No, I've flapped my gums enough today.

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No, I like your valuable insight is always missed here in

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between my non valuable insight.

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So it balances the show out, oh, good.

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Thank you guys.

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I really appreciate it.

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Next week, you've got an RV industry focus show.

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Hopefully we'll have a few people on there that can talk about the RV

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industry that've been missing over the last few weeks and during the summer for

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all the commitments that they've had.

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And I think we're gonna have a fitness guy on to talk about the electric

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bikes, maybe generating power.

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If we can find somebody to do that, can't wait if not, and we'll just have the RV.

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Thank you guys.

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We'll see you next week.

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Take care.

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