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COM M E NTARY


Giving — the cooperative way W


e talk a lot about the benefits our


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


electric cooperatives provide to their mem- bers and communities. However, we don’t talk nearly enough about the important work our cooperatives do outside their service areas – way outside.


Individually, our co- ops are relatively small.


Small, local, and member-owned ensures that the needs of members are understood and met. We routinely support our area schools, promote and invest in our youth through sponsored events such as Youth Tour, participate in local civic organizations and much more. Each and every day we see our co-ops in action. It’s a great way to do business and it works very well.


Out of sight but not out of mind is the inter- national work that electric cooperatives do in 13 foreign countries. Local co-ops like yours are a part of this important work. The combined efforts of more than 900 electric cooperatives with 42 million members across this nation, working to- gether, give us great strength and scale. What seem


like small contributions made by our cooperatives combine with others; in this way, our cooperatives play a signifi cant part on improving the lives of families in the poorest regions of the world, many of whom suffer from natural disasters. The many small contributions become very big, life-changing events to people around the world.


There are millions of people who still live with- out clean water or electricity. This is the 50th year that electric cooperatives across our nation have joined together to share their resources, time, and talents to help those in need in developing coun- tries. We bring tremendous gains in the quality of life to those who lack the fi nancial means and the “know-how” to do it on their own. With our size, it doesn’t take much individually to collectively have substantial impacts in the lives of others.


I am very proud to be a part of a network of cooperatives that put people fi rst – wherever they are. Our locally owned cooperatives think and act well beyond their boundaries. During this holiday season, I hope we are all inspired as well to do something for the poorest of the poor. Remember always, your electric cooperative isn’t just another energy provider – but an organization that goes above and beyond to serve our neighbors. To learn more about our international outreach, read the Global Connections story on page 6 of this edition. God bless and Merry Christmas to all. OL


The Grinch that keeps on stealing E


J. Chris Cariker President,


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


lectric coop- eratives across Oklahoma – and throughout the nation – are facing a diffi cult task. It’s not just in- creasing environmen- tal regulation; it’s not just increased govern- mental oversight. No, the task at hand is more troubling in its own way.


Over the last several


months, copper thieves have broken into scores of utility substations, many owned and operated by electric co-ops.


The damage caused is not limited to stolen copper that is stripped from these high-voltage hubs. Pro- tective fences are cut, equipment broken, and lives endangered – not only lives of thieves and utility em- ployees who enter ungrounded electrical fi elds, but of consumers who could be without power should a substation fail as a result of the theft – and it is happening far too often.


What is driving the increasing numbers of copper thefts?


The market price of copper has increased dra- matically over the last four years, driven by high de- mand in consumer electronics, and even more so by exponential growth in the electric power industry in


4 OKLAHOMA LIVING


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


Chris Meyers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .General Manager J. Chris Cariker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President Glenn Propps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Vice-President Joe Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Secretary-Treasurer


Staff


Sid Sperry . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of PR & Communications sksperry@oaec.coop


Anna Politano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Managing Editor editor@ok-living.coop


Larry Skoch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Advertising Manager lskoch@ok-living.coop


Christy Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Offi ce Manager cjohnson@oaec.coop


Kirbi Bailey . . . . . . . . . . . . .Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. kbailey@oaec.coop


Emilia Buchanan . . . . . . . . . . . . Communications Assistant ebuchanan@oaec.coop


Hayley Imel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intern intern@ok-living.coop


Editorial, Advertising and General Offi ces


P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309 Phone (405) 478-1455 Oklahoma Living online: www.ok-living.coop


Subscriptions


$3.12 per year for rural electric cooperative members. $6.00 per year for non-members.


developing countries such as China and India. And, as with any market-driven commodity, as demand for the product surges, its price escalates. Less than fi ve years ago, the price of copper was less than $1.50 per pound; today, copper prices con- tinue to hover above the $4.00 per pound mark, and have been as high as $4.60 in recent months. Because of these record prices for copper, thieves are targeting your electric cooperative infrastructure to cash in. For each utility substation hit by copper thieves, the repair costs are thousands of dollars. Who pays? You, the rate-payers do. While electric co-ops are working with local police and sheriff’s offi ces, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) and even the Oklahoma Recy- clers Association (ORA) to catch copper thieves, we need your help. You can help law enforcement by being the ‘eyes and ears’ needed to crack down on copper thievery in rural Oklahoma.


If you see suspicious vehicles or unauthorized personnel trying to enter electric co-op substations – no matter what time of day – don’t try to interfere, but call local law enforcement immediately. You can also call your electric co-op to report any suspicious activity.


Stealing copper from substations is costly and dangerous. Help your co-op reduce copper thefts by keeping your eyes open and your ears tuned in to conversations about stolen copper. Don’t let the Grinch steal copper from your co- operative. OL


Cooperative Members: Report change of address to your local rural electric cooperative.


Non-Cooperative Members: Send address changes to Oklahoma Living, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Oklahoma Living (ISSN 1064-8968), USPS 407-040, is published monthly for consumer-members of Oklahoma’s rural electric cooperatives by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, 2325 E. I-44 Service Road, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Circulation this issue: 315,852 Periodical postage paid at Stillwater, Oklahoma.


The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives is a statewide service organization for the following electric cooperatives: Alfalfa, Arkansas Valley, Caddo, Canadian Valley, Central Rural, Choctaw, Cimarron, Cookson Hills, Cotton, East Central Oklahoma, Harmon, Indian, KAMO Power, Kay, Kiamichi, Kiwash, Lake Region, Northeast Oklahoma, Northfork, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Ozarks, People’s, Red River Valley, Rural, Southeastern, Southwest Rural, Tri-County, Verdigris Valley, and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.


Audit


Bureau of Circulations


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