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Commentary Safety matters—for all of us A


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


s you can tell from our maga- zine cover this month, one of


our main functions here at the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives is to educate and train line- men. These highly trained and especially skilled men


(and women!) literally put their life “on the line” for you, the member-owner of an electric coop- erative, every day.


The month of May is designated as “Electrical Safety Month,” and any co-op CEO or general manager will tell you that electrical safety is at the core of their daily operations. They not only want their linemen to work safely so that they can be assured of coming home to their families each night, but they know every effort must be put forth to educate you, the member-consumer, about the hazards of electricity.


As a member-owner of an electric cooperative, you also have a safety responsibility.


If you see an electrical safety hazard, such as trees growing up into a powerline, don’t attempt to remove the hazard yourself—call your local co-op and report the location so trained rights-of-way crews can be dispatched to take care of the danger- ous condition.


Always be aware of where electric lines could be, whether overhead or underground. Buried cables can be just as deadly as overhead powerlines, so always “Call Okie,” the statewide utility one-call system, before you dig. If you’re in doubt, don’t dig or begin trenching work until Okie One-Call tech- nicians have located all buried utility lines, includ- ing gas, electric, phone and fi ber optic. Years ago, there was an expression used to con- vey the importance of being aware of electrical safety concerns. The slogan, “Look Up and Live,” was right on target: member-consumers should al- ways be aware of what electrical hazards might be near, then exercise every precaution to make sure an accident doesn’t happen involving electricity. Linemen know the dangers of working with both high and low voltage electricity. They are con- stantly trained to deal with such hazards—and in so doing ensure that they’ll come home safe and sound to their loved ones at the end of each work day, or after each storm or disaster.


But our linemen care about your safety, too. They want you to “look up and live,” and to be keenly aware of any electrical hazard that could threaten your safety and well-being. Give them a call if you see a potential safety hazard. Let them put their professional training to good use during Electrical Safety Month, and every other month of the year, too.


Leadership from rural electric roots I


Joe Harris President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


am both honored and excited to start my year as president of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. To be chosen by my peers and colleagues for this posi- tion is the highlight of my professional career. I have been employed within the


rural electric program for 30 years and associ- ated with it for over 38 years, but my memories go way back to my early days.


I was present at my grandfather Harris’ house just outside of Holdenville when Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative turned on the lights. My grandma was so excited about running water and her first refrigerator! My parents were country schoolteachers, and we were served by various co- ops across Oklahoma during their career moves. In the course of my career I have become im- mersed in rural electric cooperative culture and his- tory, including the significant impact that this program has had on our country and, specifi cally,


4 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


Oklahoma. It was the commitment of rural folks banding together that electrifi ed this country, a re- markable achievement.


Those who accomplished this feat have dimin- ished in number and many of our current members consider themselves to be just a customer and dis- count their ownership of the cooperative. This lack of understanding of just what a cooperative is, and why they as member-owners have an important role in cooperative governance, poses a challenge that each of us should be aware of.


It is my belief that only the members of rural electric cooperatives can keep us from being just a utility. The management and employees of your cooperative can encourage your role as owners, but ultimately, the engagement of the membership in understanding and participating in the election pro- cess and attending member meetings will keep that from happening. I encourage each of you to be- come active with your cooperative and to also en- courage your friends and neighbors to participate. The best rural electric cooperatives are those in which member engagement has fl ourished.


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


Chris Meyers, General Manager Joe Harris, President


Jimmy Taylor, Vice-President Kendall Beck, Secretary Gary McCune, 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


Hayley Leatherwood, Multimedia Specialist hleatherwood@ok-living.coop


Kaylan Watkins, Intern oklintern@gmail.com


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. 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: 315,667


Periodical postage paid at Oklahoma City, 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.


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