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Oklahoma Co-op Professional Engineer to Volunteer in Haiti

September 28, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY – Larry Cisneros, a professional engineer with Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (NEOEC) based in Vinita, Oklahoma, will travel to Haiti on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 and return on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 to serve as an instructor volunteer with NRECA International.

Cisneros will travel to Caracol, Haiti, where he will conduct volunteer training for the Pilot Project for Sustainable Electricity Distribution (PPSELD) implemented by NRECA International, and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. PPSELD’s service territory is the only region that receives reliable electricity 24 hours a day, providing more than 9,000 consumers with power.

Cisneros will conduct training for PPSELD staff on proper operation, programming, maintenance and collection of data of three-phase outdoor vacuum reclosers (OVR). A recloser is a protective device that guards downstream power lines from faults. Cisneros gained experience with reclosers during his previous employment at Kit Carson Electric Cooperative in Taos, New Mexico.

“I used to work programming and operating these type of reclosers. It protects, opens up and can give time for faults to clear, before closing,” Cisneros said. “I’m going through manuals and refreshing myself on this knowledge.”

A volunteer with the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation 2016 Bolivia project, Cisneros is eager to make a difference in the lives of those who have been less fortunate.

“Knowledge is supposed to be shared, not kept. I have compassion for these people; it’s a privilege to help them improve their lives,” Cisneros said. “You never really know how much difference you are going to make. I think of a little boy in Bolivia who left his footprints on dirt, one day he may have a good job because someone took the time to invest in him and in his family.”

Haiti is listed as one of the poorest countries in the world, with an unemployment rate of more than 40 percent and 80 percent of the population living below the poverty line. NRECA International officials say an estimated 12-­13 percent of the total population has regular access to electricity.

Cisneros will stay at a hotel in the town of Limonade, approximately 8 miles from Caracol. The official language of the area is French and Creole, but English interpreters will be available.

With support from his co-­op, Cisneros is ready to share his technical knowledge with utility workers at PPSELD.

“Larry is an outstanding ambassador for Northeast Oklahoma Electric and the state of Oklahoma,” Anthony Due, NEOEC CEO, said. “We are grateful he has the opportunity to share his technical skills for the betterment of communities in Haiti.”

ABOUT NRECA INTERNATIONAL: Serving as non-profit corporation, NRECA International is committed to improve the quality of life for rural communities in developing economies by providing access to reliable and affordable electricity. For more than 50 years, 126 million people in 43 countries have benefitted from their work.

For more information, contact Anna Politano at 405-761-0289 or apolitano@oaec.coop.