OEC Assists with Hurricane Irma Restoration

OEC Linemen Ron Friedman, Ben Wilcox and line superintendent Jack Pardy headed to Florida on Monday, Sept. 11 to help restore power lost during Hurricane Irma.

OEC Assists with Hurricane Irma Restoration
Relief convoy headed south

Oconto Falls, Wis. (September 12, 2017)— September 11, Oconto Electric Cooperative (OEC) linemen Ron Friedman and Ben Wilcox along with line superintendent Jack Pardy headed to Clay Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Keystone Heights, Florida, northeast of Gainesville to assist in restoration efforts due to Hurricane Irma. As of Tuesday morning, Clay Electric estimated that 90 percent of its system was without power.

OEC met up with volunteer line crews from ­­18 Wisconsin electric cooperatives­­–more than 50 employees­–to join in Florida’s massive recovery effort, helping rebuild shattered electric systems in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s devastation. Vehicles were dispatched, including bucket trucks, pole-hauling trailers, and digging equipment. OEC took a bucket truck, skid steer and pickup truck.

The Florida Electric Cooperatives Association, a statewide trade group, put out a call for help last Thursday, anticipating Irma’s Sunday morning landfall and the huge storm’s potential to simultaneously batter the entire state.

Line superintendents from Wisconsin cooperatives got word of the request at a previously scheduled meeting in Stevens Point and immediately began planning their response, assessing availability of workers and equipment.

Those preparations were completed during a busy weekend. Early Monday morning, co-op vehicles began departing from local headquarters across the state from assembly points at Eau Claire, Oakdale, Portage, and Janesville. At least three multi-co-op convoys planned to reach Ste. Genevieve, Missouri by Monday night, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi by Tuesday night, arriving in Florida by late Wednesday afternoon.

Participating co-ops traveling southward include Adams-Columbia, Barron, Bayfield, Central Wisconsin, and Clark Electric Cooperatives, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Dunn and Eau Claire Energy Cooperatives, Oakdale and Oconto Electric Cooperatives, Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services, Price and Richland Electric Cooperatives, Riverland, Rock, and Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperatives, and Taylor and Vernon Electric Cooperatives.

The relief mission is similar to assistance rendered by Wisconsin co-ops 12 years ago following Hurricane Katrina. Personnel from 14 Wisconsin electric cooperatives were dispatched over a four-week period to Louisiana on a rotating basis, helping to rebuild a local co-op distribution system that had been almost totally destroyed.

It’s also similar—on a larger scale—to the ROPE (restoration of power in an emergency) program in which Wisconsin co-ops help each other shorten recovery times when severe weather damages local electric systems.

On three previous occasions since this past spring, ten Wisconsin co-ops have loaned out line crews in ROPE deployments to help others speed up rebuilding of storm-damaged systems. OEC was one of those co-ops that called for help after the big windstorm on June 11.

 

OEC is a member-owned, not-for-profit, generation & distribution cooperative headquartered in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin. In 1937, the cooperative was formed to serve electricity in rural northeast Wisconsin. Currently OEC serves more than 9,600 members throughout Oconto, Marinette, and small portions of Shawano County.

Any questions please contact Katie Jagiello at kjagiello@ocontoelectric.com or call (920) 846-2816.

July WEC News

Please click here to read the local July WEC News pages.

Inside the local pages: OEC Member Appreciation Picnic, Keep Food Safe During an Outage, and more.

Please click here to see the entire July issue of WEC News.

 

Congratulations to OEC’s Communications and Marketing Specialist Katie Jagiello, she has two photos featured in the July WEC News. The photos are two of OEC’s solar members.

Utility Phone Scams in Northeast Wisconsin

Phone Scam Warning

In this recent case, a caller claiming to be from WE Energies contacted a customer and demanded immediate cash payment to avoid disconnection. The caller indicated that the disconnection was irreversible unless cash was immediately provided. Upon checking with WE Energies, this certainly is NOT them making the calls.

If you receive this call and would like more tips or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at datcp.wisconsin.gov or call (800) 422-7128.

Reminder OEC Members: If you get a call that sounds suspicious, hang up immediately and call us at 1-800-472-8410.

May WEC News

Please click here to read the local May WEC News pages.

Inside the local pages: May is National Electrical Safety Month, OEC Annual Meeting Recap, Youth Leadership Congress, Keep Kids Safe as They Head Outdoors.

April WEC News

Please click here to read the local April WEC News pages.

Inside the local pages: OEC Employee Charity Focuses On Veterans, Appliance Recycling, Lives On the Line, Keep Yourself from having to Dig Out of Trouble .

OEC Promotes Dam Safety Awareness Week

Oconto County – Oconto Electric Cooperative joins the Midwest Hydro Users Group (HUG) in promoting Dam Safety Awareness Week April 2-8, 2017, as proclaimed by Governor Scott Walker. At a time when recreational and fishing enthusiasts are returning to the waterways, OEC and HUG wish to heighten the awareness of hazards near dams. Many of the accidents and fatalities that occur near dams could be prevented by using common sense, practicing safety, staying clear of dams and understanding the dangers to be found near them.

Oconto Electric offers these common sense tips to stay safe on rivers and near dams:

  • Obey all warning signs, barriers and flashing lights, horns and sirens. They are there for a reason and it can be extremely dangerous to ignore them.
  • Wear a personal flotation device (life jacket).
  • Leave your boat motor running to provide maneuvering power.
  • Stay clear of spillways. Changing currents and “boiling” waves can make boat control difficult near dams.
  • Reverse currents occur below dams, they can pull a boat back toward the dam into the spillway and capsize it.
  • Never anchor boats below a dam because water levels can change rapidly.

Oconto Electric Cooperative, owner of the hydroelectric dam at Stiles wants boaters, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the exceptional recreational resources found on rivers and dams in the region. People are urged to practice safe use of the areas so they can be enjoyed over and over again.