UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 13, 2021
After more than two weeks, crews from Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives continue to be on the field in Louisiana assisting with storm restoration efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Initial crews left Oklahoma on August 31 and on September 3, but rotation crews have taken place in the last few days or are slated to take place this week.
Collective, a total of 82 lineworkers have been involved in the process of providing mutual aid assistance to sister cooperative DEMCO based in the East Baton Rouge parish. As of Monday, Sept. 13, DEMCO reports 9,061 outages remain from a peak of more than 85,000 outages when Hurricane Ida hit. The outages that remain are in an area of extensive damage.
The following distribution electric cooperatives have sent rotation crews or are planning to send a crew:
- Oklahoma Electric Cooperative – sent 6-member rotation crew on Sept. 6
- People’s Electric Cooperative – sent 5-member rotation crew on Sept. 11
- Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative – sent 5-member rotation crew on Sept. 12
- East Central Electric Cooperative – sent 7-member rotation crew on Sept. 13
- Kay Electric Cooperative – sent 5-member rotation crew on Sept. 13
- Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative – sent 8-member rotation crew on Sept. 13
- Rural Electric Cooperative based in Lindsay is slated to send a crew later in the week
Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives are proud to practice the Cooperative Principle of “Cooperation Among Cooperatives.”
UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 3, 2021:
Two additional distribution electric cooperatives in Oklahoma send lineworkers and equipment on Friday, Sept. 3 to provide mutual aid to disaster-stricken Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
Fifteen lineworkers are en route to assist sister cooperative DEMCO, based in the East Baton Rouge parish. At the height of the storm, DEMCO reported an estimated 100,000 of their 113,500 meters were out. As of Friday, Sept. 3, in the morning, DEMCO reports 55,430 members remain without power. While they’re still assessing single-phase damages from the storm, DEMCO reports damages of “60 broken and 100 stripped transmission poles and 400 broken distribution poles.” They expect restoration will take two to four weeks.
The following electric cooperatives in Oklahoma are sending linemen on this second round:
- Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative, based in Stigler – 10 crew members
- People’s Electric Cooperative, based in Ada – 5 crew members
With these additional crews, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have a total of 46 lineworkers assisting in the power restoration efforts following Hurricane Ida, which landed in Louisiana as a Category 4 storm causing over 1 million people to be in the dark.
Oklahoma co-op crews are expected to rotate sometime next week.
AUGUST 31, 2021
- Five distribution electric cooperatives in Oklahoma send 31 lineworkers to provide mutual aid assistance to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
- Linemen from Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives will work on power restoration efforts in the service area of DEMCO, based in the East Baton Rouge parish.
- Oklahoma co-op lineworkers join in a massive power restoration effort alongside crews from 32 states and the District of Columbia.
- Electric cooperative officials warn of lengthy restoration periods.
Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives send mutual aid assistance crews to assist Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida
Help is on the way for Louisiana’s electric cooperatives in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. The storm landed on Sunday, August 29, near Port Fourchon, Louisiana as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, a few miles shy from 157 m.p.h., common in a Category 5 storm. The storm left more than 1 million people in Louisiana without power and about 130,000 in Mississippi.
Following the principle of Cooperation Among Cooperatives, five distribution electric cooperatives in Oklahoma are en route to Louisiana where they will assist with restoration efforts in the coming weeks.
Oklahoma co-ops are working under the coordination of the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives and have been assigned to assist sister cooperative DEMCO, based in the East Baton Rouge parish, a hard-hit area. DEMCO is the largest electric cooperative in Louisiana serving more than 113,000 members; its service area is comprised of 8,887 miles of line. As of Tuesday morning, DEMCO reports 78,058 outages, nearly 69% of its membership remain without power.
Given the extended nature of the restoration period, line crews are likely to rotate in upcoming weeks, according to Derec Janaway, safety and loss control director for the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives.
According to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives join the mutual aid effort alongside crews from 32 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to the industry standard safety protocols, line crews will follow CDC guidelines in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additional safety measures will be put in place to ensure crew members and consumers stay safe during restoration efforts.
“Safety is our number one priority. We ask for prayers over all crews and essential workers as they perform their duties so everyone can return home to their loved ones safe and sound,” Randy Pierce, CEO and general manager of DEMCO, said in a statement.
The following electric cooperatives are sending crews on Tuesday, August, 31, 2021:
- East Central Electric Cooperative, based in Okmulgee – 6 crew members
- Kay Electric Cooperative, based in Blackwell – 6 crew members
- Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, based in Vinita – 8 crew members
- Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, based in Norman – 7 crew members
- Southeastern Electric Cooperative, based in Durant – 4 crew members
“Cooperation among cooperatives is one of the principles that guide electric cooperatives,” says Chris Meyers, general manager of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. “We are proud of the co-op crews that are lending a hand in this difficult time to help a sister cooperative. This is the cooperative difference at work. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the hurricane’s path.”
About OAEC: The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) is a statewide association created and voluntarily supported by local electric distribution and generation & transmission cooperatives. OAEC is comprised of 30 member systems: 27 distribution electric cooperatives (two of which are headquartered in Arkansas) and 3 generation & transmission electric cooperatives (one of which is headquartered in Texas). Learn more at oaec.coop
Anna Politano, Director of Public Relations & Communications