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Our History, Our Future - Looking back provides the path forward.
A favorite quote for many has always been, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Yet sometimes remembering our history with the goal of repeating it can actually be a good thing. As the nation’s 30,000 cooperatives celebrate National Co-op Month this October, it is a great time to take a look back – and a look forward.
Take the history of your electric co-op. Coleman County Electric Cooperative was founded when neighbors worked together to bring electricity to our rural community. Big investor-owned power companies thought they couldn’t generate enough profit so they bypassed rural areas. Back then, there were frequent meetings among neighbors to discuss the formation of the cooperative. Once established, annual meetings were the “must attend” event of the year. The co-op – on behalf of the member-owners – committed to provide the community with electricity.
Fast forward to today – and tomorrow. Coleman County Electric Co-op currently serves 4,542 members. We have returned over $2.5 million dollars to our members since 2008. Think about what the number could be from when the Co-op started in 1938?!
We understand the spirit that helped create this co-op must be continually nurtured. While times and technology will continue to change, our commitment to you will not.
Although we started out to provide electricity, our impact (with your support) has grown.
As we continue to look toward the future, you can be confident that CCEC will commit to explore new ways to help our members and our community.
Over the years, as we’ve listened to you and your fellow co-op member-owners, we know that we have to keep pace as technology and consumer tastes evolve. As always, we welcome your participation as we plan for the future.
OTEC linemen perform annual “pole top” rescue exercises.
Baker City, Ore. (OTEC) – With blue skies above it was a perfect day for Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative’s line crews to buckle on fall-restraint equipment belts, dig into utility poles and begin their annual pole top rescue exercises.
As an OSHA mandated safety training requirement, the course is designed to evaluate each lineman on their ability to properly rescue an injured and/or stranded lineman. Each lineman must balance their skills with safety, climb a pole and rescue a 185 lb. training mannequin. The lineman must then secure the mannequin using ropes and pulleys and safely deliver them back down to the ground.
OTEC linemen are required to pass this training to maintain employment with the cooperative. And while OTEC has never had to perform a pole top rescue in the field, the training is an opportunity for the linemen to prepare and hone their skills if the need should ever arise.
“No electricity is running through the lines,” said OTEC’s Manager of Loss Control Jeff Anderson. “But, attention to detail remains key and the linemen are evaluated as if every aspect of the training were real with a focus on the safe and efficient methods with which the rescue is accomplished.”
In addition to safety training for employees, OTEC continuously raises awareness of electrical safety in its four county service territory by performing demonstrations at local schools and offering free trainings with volunteer fire departments, emergency medical teams and sheriff’s departments on a regular basis.
“We work within our communities to show our members just how easy it is for an accident to occur when working with electricity,” said Anderson. “Learning how to prevent these dangerous, and sometimes deadly mishaps helps to keep service men and women, as well members of the community, safe.”
“OTEC continuously places safety first,” said Anderson. “By performing these annual trainings, the cooperative is assuring that our linemen and community members in service are properly trained to handle nearly any situation.”
Understanding Energy Demand & Purchasing
You may not think you need to have an understanding of energy demand and purchasing, but do you ever look at your energy bill and wonder what it all means? If your answer to that question is “yes,” then you might be interested to learn how demand impacts your utility bill.
To start, it is important to understand how electricity is made and how it is delivered to your home.
Before Coleman County Electric can send electricity to your home, that electricity needs to be generated by a Generation and Transmission cooperative (G&T). Once the electricity has been generated, it travels over high-voltage transmission lines to substations, where the voltage is reduced to a safer level. The electricity then travels over distribution power lines and finds its way into your home. So, while you pay your bill to us – your electric distribution cooperative – we don’t actually generate the electricity you use. That is the job of the G&T.
We do help to determine how much electricity our members need to power their homes and businesses, and you play a big part in determining how much electricity the G&T needs to create in order to keep the lights on in our community. That is where these terms “consumption” and “demand” come in.
Consumption is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). Demand is measured in kilowatts (kW). A light bulb “consumes” a certain number of watts, let’s say 100 watts per hour. If that light bulb stays on for 10 hours, it “demands” a certain number of kilowatts (in this case, 1 kW) from the generation station producing electricity. Now, if you turn on 10, 100-watt light bulbs in your home for one hour, you are still consuming the same number of kW. However, you are placing a demand on the utility to have those kW available to you over the course of one hour, instead of ten. This requires the generation and transmission plant to produce more power in less time in order to meet your demand.
CCEC purchases kilowatt hours from the G&T based on the average demand of our members. Peak demand refers to the time of day when the demand for electricity is highest. This is typically during the evening when families return home from work or school, cook dinner and use appliances the most. Using electricity during this peak demand period often costs more to both Coleman County Electric and to our members.
Demand is the reason your electricity bill fluctuates season to season and even year to year. Generating and distributing power can be a tricky and complicated business, but rest assured CCEC will always meet the necessary demand to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to your family.