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Powerful Living Bringing “Luz”


Oklahoma’s co-op members can play a part in electrifying two villages in northern Bolivia


By Anna Politano N


early 80 years ago, rural America was in the dark. While those living in urban and suburban areas enjoyed the con- veniences brought by electric power,


farmers and ranchers in the countryside desired a better quality of life. Through hard work, dedica- tion and cooperation, their dream became reality. In the 1930s and 1940s, pioneers united with the support of the Rural Electrifi cation Administra- tion (REA) to form electric cooperatives, bringing light to rural communities and—by doing so—em- powering future generations. These are the roots of rural electrifi cation and the foundation of the cooperative business model. Each day, there are fewer co-op consumer-members who remember when the lights came on. For today’s generation and the ones to come, electricity is already a part of their lives. They won’t have to rally and work for this life-changing commodity; they will not experience how manually intensive, laborious and primitive life without electricity can be. For generations to come, Oklahoma’s electric coop- eratives will continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable electricity. While it may not be possible to step back in time and experience life without electricity here at home, there are several areas around the world that have never had electric power before. In fact, the International Energy Agency reports 1.2 mil- lion people—or 17 percent of the world’s popula- tion—live without electricity.


In order to extend a hand and help this number decrease, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives are partnering with Missouri’s electric cooperatives to electrify two villages near the city of Riberalta, Bolivia. Fourteen volunteers from Oklahoma and Missouri will build powerlines and install 250 poles to bring electricity to the villages of El Torito and Dos de Junio in northern Bolivia. These volunteers will join forces with the local electric cooperative, Cooperativa Electrica Riberalta, further strengthening the cooperative


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heart to give back to people.” Recently, the Oklahoma Association of Electric


Cooperatives (OAEC) announced the selection of seven Oklahoma volunteers who will serve on the Energy Trails Electrifi cation Project that will take place in August 2016 in the country of Bolivia. Jeremy Baker, Cookson Hills Electric


Energy Trails will bring electric power to two remote villages in Bolivia for the fi rst time. It’s a life-transforming project. Tax-deductible contributions to futher this cause are encouraged. To learn more, visit


http://tinyurl.com/energytrails


business model in South America. “The co-ops were founded with the thought of providing electricity to people who never had elec- tricity before,” Wade Hurst, OAEC senior loss control instructor and Energy Trails team leader said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to be able to give back. As a lineman, you have a place in your


Cooperative (Stigler, Okla.); Stacy Bourne, East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Okmulgee, Okla.); Jason Brown, Rural Electric Cooperative (Lindsey, Okla.); Larry Cisneros, Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Vinita, Okla.); Derec Janaway, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Norman, Okla.); Damon Lester, Indian Electric Cooperative (Cleveland, Okla.); and Heath Martin, Northfork Electric Cooperative (Sayre, Okla.) were selected by the OAEC International Committee which is overseeing the project. In the event a selected candidate is unable to travel, two alternates were designated: David Sheets, TCEC (Hooker, Okla.) and Andrew Pool, Central Electric Cooperative (Stillwater, Okla.). Wade Hurst, OAEC senior loss control instructor, will serve as team leader (see photos on Page 7). “Rural electric cooperatives are known for bring- ing power to areas that would not otherwise enjoy electricity,” Chris Meyers, OAEC general manag- er, said. “It’s rewarding to know we will play a part in making a difference in the lives of families who are striving to have a better quality of life.” The project is possible through the coordina- tion and leadership of the NRECA International Foundation, the philanthropic arm for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association based in Arlington, Va. Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have formed a 501(c)3—the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation —to receive contributions to further this cause. To give a tax-deductible gift and play a part in bring- ing light to those in the dark, visit:


http://tinyurl.com/energytrails *“Luz” means “light” in Spanish, Bolivia’s native lanaguage


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