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C A N A D I A N MARCH 2012


V A L


ELECTRALITE Be prepared for lightening this spring


SUPPLEMENT TO OKLAHOMA LIVING


By Lloyd Parks, CVEC manager of


information technology


As we all know spring is quickly approaching and with that comes thunderstorms as well. In today’s world everyone has more and more electronic devices in their homes that provide us better comfort, entertain- ment, and security. Just like everything else, things manu- factured today aren’t


L


E Y The power of human connections


By George I had a friend in an earlier life electric


cooperative experience who cared very lit- tle for the short and especially wintery days of this time of year. He was an area service man for that cooperative and he had to go day and night, whenever and wherever the task of keeping the power flowing required. As you can imagine that is not in a warm office somewhere. He would often remark on a nice day this time of year, “Any day like this one is cheating winter.” If howev- er the day was miserable wet or freezing, his refrain would be, “I sure am glad to get this day behind us. We are one day closer to spring.”


Photo by Richard Barron/richardbaron.net


built quite as well as they were in the past. The main reason for this is the fact that technolo- gies in the electronics are so small they simply cannot take the abuse of a large over voltage. There are a few things that we as consumers can do to reduce the exposure and damage to sensitive equipment. When I was a child I can remember unplugging the TV during stormy weather and disconnecting the antenna cable to reduce the exposure, I still do that today. I realize that this sounds like too much trouble but still makes good sense if you are not using the item. Some of the best preventative things you can do is to insure sources other than the power side such as; cable system, satellite dish and cabling, telephone cabling are properly grounded. Numerous times a surge will come in from other sources and damage a computer for instance that has a phone line to a modem. This happens because the computer is a common connection for the phone and electrical system which has a much better ground. Surge suppression is always a good idea and there are several on the market today from “whole house” protection, power strips, uninterruptable power supplies, to small single plug in types. All surge protectors are not created equal and will range from a few dollars to hundreds depending on what you want to protect and of course, high price doesn’t prom- ise quality. To find out what the unit is capable of, you need to check out its Underwriters Laboratories (UL) ratings. UL is an independent, not-for-profit company that tests electric and electronic products for safety. If a protector doesn’t have a UL listing, it’s probably junk; there’s a good chance it doesn’t have any protection components at all. If it does use MOVs, they may be of inferior quality. Cheaper MOVs can easily overheat, setting the entire surge protector on fire. This is actually a fairly common occurrence. Many UL-listed products are also of inferior quality, of course, but you’re at least guar- anteed that they have some surge protection capabilities and meet a marginal safety standard. Be sure that the product is listed as a transient voltage surge suppressor. This means that it meets the criteria for UL 1449, UL’s minimum performance standard


for surge suppressors. There are a lot of power strips listed by UL that have no surge protec- tion components at all. They are listed only for their performance as extension cords. No surge protector is 100 percent effective and even top of the line equipment may have some serious problems. Electronics experts are actually somewhat divided over the best way to deal with power surges, and different manufacturers claim other technologies are inher- ently faulty.


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So far he would have been very pleased with the winter of 2011/2012. While at this writing we are still at risk for at least seven more weeks of possible winter weather. In the electric utility business it only takes a few hours of the wrong kind of winter weather to do millions of dollars of damage and ruin your whole year.


I


like “cheating” winter out of any bad days possible. Weather-wise 2011 was a good year for electric utilities in Oklahoma. There were no ice storms that hit our area of the country. That alone makes it a good year. However 2011 started out very cold and snowy with all time record cold temperatures in most parts of Oklahoma. Last February meters on Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative’s system turned faster and longer than at any previous time. Then the long, hot, dry summer tested the electric utility systems’ abilities to meet the demand for electricity. In Oklahoma a big part of this demand for more electricity was driven by air-conditioners as we all tried to “beat” the heat. A cold winter and a hot summer in the same year create more demand for electricity. The year 2011 set all kinds of records including consumption of electric- ity in the Canadian Valley Electric service area and throughout Oklahoma and this region of the country. Just a short note here. The last time


Canadian Valley Electric adjusted its Electric rates was at the beginning of 2009 in the total amount of about 2.5%. At the beginning of 2011 we advised that our best estimate of any rate increase action by


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