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Commentary Be aware of powerlines and keep distance L


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


ast month I wrote about linemen and the extensive technical train-


ing required of them in order to work safely with high-voltage electric lines. They are professionals who know very well the terrible


consequences of an electrical contact. The rest of us should avoid powerlines. We don’t need extensive training; we just need an awareness of the dangers and a little common sense. Most cooperatives provide safety publications and basic electrical safety training in grade school classrooms. Each of us has a duty to be aware of safety measures and speak up when we see an unsafe condition. If you have any questions about electrical safety, your cooperative is a reli- able source of information. May—which has been designated as Electrical


Safety Month—is a great time to reinforce the safety message. This time of year is known for severe weather, which can bring powerlines down. In the event of a downed powerline, always as- sume it is energized and report it to your local cooperative immediately. It may look harmless, but it could be deadly. This is also a time of the year we get more active outdoors. After a long winter, we are anxious to work in the yard, plant new shrubs, and trim old trees. If you are planning work that involves a shovel or backhoe, call 811—the Okie One Call system. It’s a free call and the underground line locates will keep you out of harm’s way and pos- sibly save an expensive repair bill. Every year, avoidable electrical contact acci- dents occur because we get in a hurry, let our guard down, and don’t give electric powerlines the respect they deserve. Your safety matters. Slow down, look for powerlines, and stay safe.


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Chris Meyers, General Manager Gary McCune, President


Scott Copeland, Vice-President Larry Hicks, Secretary Tim Smith, Treasurer


Staff


Sid Sperry, Director of PR & Communications sksperry@oaec.coop


Anna Politano, Editor editor@ok-living.coop


Kirbi Mills, Director of Admin. Services kmills@oaec.coop


Hillary Barrow, Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. hbarrow@oaec.coop


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


Taryn Sanderson, Editorial Intern intern@oaec.coop


Editorial, Advertising and General Offi ces P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154 Phone (405) 478-1455


Oklahoma Living online: www.ok-living.coop Subscriptions


May is Electrical Safety Month. To learn more, visit www.safeelectricity.org Co-ops take communities to next level I


Gary McCune President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


have been serving my local electric co- operative board at Central Rural Electric


Cooperative (now Central Electric Cooperative) in Stillwater for eight years. Even though I served as Central’s board chairman for fi ve of those years and


as a trustee for the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) for six years, I never thought I would be here today with the opportunity to serve as OAEC Board President. The cooperative business model is grounded on the principle of neighbors helping neighbors. Helping each other to do something that we could not do individually is something all of us can get behind and support. I recently attended a national cooperative di- rectors conference hosted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). One of the keynote speakers was a geo-economist from the University of Texas. His short elevator statement—explaining what a cooperative is—res- onated with me. He stated that “electric cooper-


4


atives helped raise people out of poverty.” The majority of cooperative members today are much like myself. We have never been with- out electricity except for the inconvenient short time of an outage. We never knew the drudgery and labor it took to do all the work manually. We have come to expect safe, affordable and reliable electricity to always be available. As you will read on Page 6, Oklahoma’s elec- tric cooperatives are sending volunteers to north- ern Bolivia to electrify two remote villages that have never experienced electric power before. It’s like going back in time 80 years ago when rural Oklahoma communities had no electricity. Just like our predecessors, the people living in these areas strive for a better quality of life. I’m proud of the commitment and dedication of our co-ops to extend a hand and help our neighbors to the south in Bolivia. There are challenges that my fellow board members, myself and our co-op staff work on every day. We not only want to help some of our members “come out of poverty,” but we want to help them prosper. We owe that to ourselves and to those who will come after us, just as those other members did some 75 years ago.


$3.48 per year for rural electric cooperative members.


$7 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: 321,778


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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