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Commentary


Co-ops share winter preparedness tool The SPIA Index can predict the projected foot-


W


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


inter is around the corner, and electric cooper- atives across the


country will at some point face severe weather, affect- ing their service territories. As part of the cooperative business model, however, cooperatives have the assur-


ance they can work together not only in times of disaster, but also as they prepare for severe winter weather events.


Seven cooperative principles govern the structure of a cooperative. The sixth principle reads: “Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by work- ing together through local, national, regional and international structures.” Coincidently, it was six years ago when Sid Sperry


of our OAEC staff took an idea he had about using National Weather Service (NWS) forecast data to predict—days in advance—the impact of major ice storms on overhead communications and power line systems. Officials at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey in Norman encouraged Sid to further develop his idea by visiting with Steve Piltz, meteorologist in charge at the Tulsa NWS of- fi ce. Within days, the “Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index,” or SPIA Index, was born.


print, total ice accumulation, and resulting poten- tial damage from approaching ice storms. It is a tool to be used for risk management and/or winter weather preparedness. How does the SPIA Index fi t the sixth Cooperative Principle? Over the last six years, electric cooperatives and other utilities in Oklahoma and across the nation have used the SPIA Index to better prepare for on- coming ice storms, which can be devastating. While utilities can’t stop ice from forming on their lines, they now have a technological tool that enables them to respond more quickly and effi ciently to ice storm damages and consumer-member outages. At least seven electric cooperative statewide as-


sociations and our National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Washington, D.C., have signed licensing agreements to use the SPIA Index free of charge. NWS is also evaluating it as one of their experimental decision support products. The SPIA Index is just another example of how a cooperative employee here in Oklahoma devel- oped a preparedness tool that can be used by other electric cooperatives and utilities to the benefi t of consumers nationwide. The cooperative movement has indeed been strengthened by the creation of the SPIA Index. To view live images from the SPIA Index, visit www.spia-index.com.


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 Mills, Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. kmills@oaec.coop


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


Kaylan Watkins, Intern intern@oaec.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. Cooperative Members: Report change of Enjoying family this holiday season A


Joe Harris President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


4 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


s we gather to cel- ebrate Christmas this month, I can’t help but think


about family. Each of us, in some way or another, has the privilege to call someone our “family.” My thoughts don’t just nec- essarily go to my immediate


relatives, but the family we all form as cooperative members. I realize you may not quite understand where I’m coming from—you see, working for an organization like your rural electric cooperative means being more than fellow employees who in- teract with consumers. We are so intertwined with each other, and with you, our valued members, not just in the service of electricity, but in the many facets of everyday life. Electric cooperatives take pride in being engaged partners in the communities they serve. They are involved in safety programs as well as in youth


programs ranging from 4H, FFA, sports, or pro- grams like Youth Tour and Energy Camp. We are a key player in local economic efforts and


make it a priority to build relationships with com- munity leaders, business owners, as well as local, county, and state offi cials. But, most importantly, electric cooperatives thrive on establishing one-on- one contact with our neighbors, ultimately helping our members obtain a better quality of life. These unique relationships create a feeling that we work together as a family. For most cooperatives, this is also one of the few times a year we gather cooperative employees and their families together. It’s rewarding to see all the smiles when we greet each other and to watch the children’s faces as they see Santa coming into a room. In moments like these, I know we’re family.


So, as we gather together to celebrate the birth of


Christ and enjoy each other’s company, don’t for- get to cherish your family—both kin and co-op.


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: 316,379


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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