This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
CO - OP LIVI NG


cooperatives JOIN FORCES to combat outcomeS of wildfires


By Hayley Imel


racked ground, brittle growth and hot winds combined forces to show the west can still, unfortunately, be wild. Record-breaking drought conditions made the perfect storm for wildfi res in Oklahoma this summer, wreaking havoc and heartbreak upon rural communities. Wildfi res ravaged across several rural electric cooperatives’ service territories, leaving areas in Central Rural Electric Cooperative (CREC) (Stillwater), Indian Electric Cooperative (IEC) (Cleveland), and Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC) (Norman) to face challenging paths to restoration and recovery. Yet, before the smoke even cleared, these same co-ops were not only restor-


C


ing power, but they are also giving back to their communities and cooperating with other cooperatives.


Sunup to Sundown


At the height of the wildfi res, more than 10,500 consumer-members across the state were without power. According to Randy Simmons, operations man- ager at OEC, when the lights go out, that’s when the linemen line up to serve. “They believe in you having power, even if there is smoke all around them,” Simmons said. “These guys care. It’s not just a job for them—they care about the community and their members. They would hope someone would do the same for their families.”


Each cooperative has its own set of excellent crews, but sometimes disasters are bigger than the manpower one co-op can provide. Cooperatives differ from other business models in that co-ops have realized they can most effectively serve their members by reaching out to other co-ops for a helping hand.


6 OKLAHOMA LIVING Cooperating with Cooperatives


The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) Mutual Aid Plan outlines the pledge for participating co-ops to operate their own forces with reduced personnel in order to help restore service to a stricken sister cooperative.


Crews from seven electric co-ops assisted Indian Electric Cooperative crews in the repair and restoration efforts this summer. David Wilson, manager of member services, said the integrity of co-ops is an incredible time-saver in moments of need.


“It’s been so valuable,” Wilson said. “They know the work ethic of co-ops, and when they come they hit the ground running.”


Austin Partida, member services director at Kay Electric Cooperative, is well acquainted with the value of mutual aid after tornadoes struck his service ter- ritory three months ago.


“It’s a neat feeling waking up at dawn to a parking lot full of trucks lined up


to serve, without even knowing the damages, problems or roads they might face,” Partida said.


Now his co-op has already had the opportunity to return the favor to IEC, sending a fi ve-man crew to assist until power was restored. Crisis situations are often traced with a silver lining of good deeds. Co-ops realize there are many other organizations that contribute courageously to their consumer-members.


Giving Back to the Community According to the Oklahoma Forestry Service, there are about 900 volunteer Photo couresty Karen Kaley/Cotton Electric Co-op


Courtesy Photos/ CREC


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146