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Cooperative Principle #6: Cooperation among Cooperatives


Hidden Blessings


Before, During and After the Storm by Jennifer Boeck, Editor


Ice in Hugo, Okla.


always see what’s in front of me, but hindsight seems to be coming in clearer every day. As the recent Thanksgiving holiday concluded, many of us listened closely to the forecasts of our most trusted local, state, regional or national meteorologist(s). They all said the same. A major winter storm event was imminent. Uniquely, this storm had been given a name--Cleon. By now, it’s yesterday’s news. As the


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weather always does, it came and it went even though in the days prior to the storm, consumers frantically emptied local grocery shelves of bread and other items as they prepared for the worst. The southeast quadrant of the state, east of I-35 and south of I-40, braced to see the storm system play out in its entirety during the evening hours of December 5, 2013, and into the early morning hours of December 6. 0690500600 PEC’s service area did, in fact, receive


sleet and some freezing rain, but thankfully—yes, ‘thankfully’—a thick layer of white, fluffy snow showered down on the majority of our members’ homes and businesses. Many of our area schools, businesses and churches closed for almost a week due to treacherous travel conditions. Aside from a few brief interruptions of service, mostly due to ordinary non-weather related issues, the majority of PEC’s members never lost power. During their surprise break from


2 | January 2014


ou’ve heard the old adage, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Turns out, the older I get, my eyes may not


public school, our kids were blessed with several days to play their video games, watch TV, listen to music, enjoy their mobile devices, eat as usual and escape back into their warm, familiar home after every fun-filled outside adventure. In hindsight and figuratively speaking, PEC members miraculously dodged the icy bullet of Winter Storm Cleon. Hugo-based Choctaw Electric


Cooperative (CEC), our sister co-op located in the southeast corner of our state, would be Cleon’s unfortunate primary target this time. As freezing rain poured down on CEC’s heavily forested service area, thick layers of ice formed on trees, limbs snapped burdened by the heavy load, fuses blew, poles were destroyed and power lines fell to the ground. At the height of the storm damage, approximately 10,000 CEC members lost power. CEC’s crews immediately went to work, mutual aid was called in (see related side bar) and three days later, by midday on December 9, crews had whittled down outage numbers from 10,000 to about 4,000. At the time this newsletter is being sent


to print on December 13, approximately 60 cooperative linemen from ten different electric cooperatives from across the state, including one six-man crew from PEC, have joined the valiant effort to restore service to the remaining 750 members of Choctaw Electric Cooperative who are still without power.


0581700301 See A Blessing Both Ways, Next Page About Mutual Aid:


• Thirty distribution co-ops in Oklahoma and Arkansas have mutual aid agreements temporarily committingworkers and equipment to co-ops in distress.


• These“Mutual Aid”agreements are coordinated through the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC), our‘statewide association’in Oklahoma City.


• Whenever a co-op system in need requests assistance during or following a natural or man-made disaster, OAEC personnel coordinate the flowof linemen and equipment into a damaged area, all through pre-arranged agreements which outline labor and equipment costs, materials to be sent to the system in need, and any special equipment needs that might arise in order to help in the restoration effort.


• Kenny Guffey, OAEC’s director of Safety & Loss Control, is the coordinator for the Mutual Aid program, and Sid Sperry, OAEC’s director of Public Relations, Communications and Research also assists in helping the affected cooperative.


(top left) PEC’s six-man crew composed of Brent Boatwright, Construction Crew Supervisor, Fred Barrett, Senior Line Technician, Jeff Payne, Senior Line Technician, Jordan Marsh, Line Technician, Corby King, Construction Tech II (front left), and Rucker May, Construction Tech I set poles in a wooded area near Smithville, Okla., Hwy 259 and Hwy 4. Photo courtesy Scott Littles, Choctaw Electric.


Photo courtesy Karen Bailey-Boone.


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