Making a Difference

OEC Foundation Board Grants $55,000 to Local Organizations, Families

In October, the OEC Foundation approved $55,000 in grants to local organizations and families. Grants are made possible thanks to thousands of members who choose to round up their electric bills to the nearest dollar each month. Their generous donations go towards Operation Round Up (ORU), a program that provides funds for worthy causes throughout our service area.

“As always, its incredbly rewarding to give these grants to people in our community,” said ORU President Beckie Turner. “It is an astronomical reward to know that everything we take in, we’re going to give back.”

Fostering Futures, formally the Citizens Advisory Board, Assistance League Norman, and the Salvation Army of Cleveland County received $10,000 each. The board also awarded grants to several other organizations. The American Red Cross of Central and Southwest Oklahoma received $7,500 for local disaster aid, Mission Norman received $5,000 for their residents, Blanchard Special Olympics received $2,000 for team supplies, and the Amber Fire Department received $4,000 for personal protection equipment and other tools.

“These are all incredbile causes we are proud to support here at OEC,” said OEC Education and Outreach Programs Director Tory Tedder-Loffland.

Individuals also received assistance with eye care, purchasing hearing aids and dentures, and help with groceries.

Approximately 80 percent of our members choose to round up their monthly bills, with the change going towards the OEC Foundation board to disburse. On average, this amounts to $6 per year per member, which helps support various causes and programs.

The Foundation board is responsible for carefully reviewing and selecting organizations and projects that will have the most impact, and OEC is proud to support such worthwhile initiatives.

“Our grants help larger organizations expand their reach to help more people who are struggling,” Turner said. “It’s wonderful to see how far just a few dollars given every month can go.”

Over the last 26 years, ORU has awarded more than $5 million in grants to various local nonprofit organizations. These organizations provide vital services to their communities, including meals, clothes, Christmas gifts and more.

In addition to providing essential services, these organizations build community cohesion and support networks. As a result, the impact of ORU’s grants goes far beyond the immediate recipients. By supporting these organizations, ORU is helping to create stronger communities and making a difference.

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Shop Local for the Holidays

What would you say if we told you it was possible to find the perfect holiday gift and support your local community this holiday season? The solution is simple. Shop local.

Read More »

Efficient Home for the Holidays

We all have our favorite season. Some people love crisp, cool weather and bundling up under a favorite blanket, while others prefer the warm temperatures summer brings and all fun outdoor activities that go with it.

But there’s one thing we can all agree on: high winter bills are never fun. Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is here to help you find ways to manage your home energy use and keep winter bills in check.

Read More »

Safety Above All Else

“Safety” is a universal word that is mentioned often and used loosely. Communities, large and small, and companies across all industries are committed to safety. Sports leagues, Sports leagues, at every level, tout their safety protocols, but when it really counts, steps to keep the public, workers, athletes and loved ones safe are often ignored in the interest of expediency or convenience. 

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The Power of Service

Oklahoma Electric Cooperative and OEC Fiber Employees Volunteer to Complete Much Needed Community Projects

Twenty OEC and OEC Fiber employees teamed up with Cleveland County Master Gardeners during United Way of Norman’s (UWN) Day of Caring (DOC). The annual service event brings together hundreds of volunteers from businesses in Cleveland County to perform much-needed projects for nonprofit organizations.

“I enjoy seeing so many members of our community come together to help out our often-struggling nonprofits complete projects they might not be able to perform due to budget restraints, staffing and the necessary time commitment,” said OEC Education and Outreach Programs Director Tory Tedder-Loffland, 

who also served on the DOC planning committee.

OEC’s volunteer group spent time repairing and staining benches and pergolas throughout the Master Gardeners’ grounds. The team also removed old raised garden beds and completed yard work around the property. It was a busy day filled with rewarding work for a deserving organization.

“It is especially rewarding to see the business community come together to make a lasting impact beyond just donating money,” said OEC Fiber social marketing associate Hunter Foster. “I love seeing everyone serve these nonprofits and our community as a whole.”

The mission of Cleveland County Master Gardeners, the organization with which OEC and OEC Fiber employees were paired, is very simple. 

“Oklahoma Master Gardeners are a vital part of Oklahoma State University Extension’s ability to provide consumers with up-to-date, research-based information on gardening and plant care. Master Gardeners has also become a popular volunteer activity that gives its participants a sense of community spirit, accomplishment and intellectual stimulation.”

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Shop Local for the Holidays

What would you say if we told you it was possible to find the perfect holiday gift and support your local community this holiday season? The solution is simple. Shop local.

Read More »

Efficient Home for the Holidays

We all have our favorite season. Some people love crisp, cool weather and bundling up under a favorite blanket, while others prefer the warm temperatures summer brings and all fun outdoor activities that go with it.

But there’s one thing we can all agree on: high winter bills are never fun. Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is here to help you find ways to manage your home energy use and keep winter bills in check.

Read More »

Safety Above All Else

“Safety” is a universal word that is mentioned often and used loosely. Communities, large and small, and companies across all industries are committed to safety. Sports leagues, Sports leagues, at every level, tout their safety protocols, but when it really counts, steps to keep the public, workers, athletes and loved ones safe are often ignored in the interest of expediency or convenience. 

Read More »
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Constructing Futures

Businesses unite to introduce teens to construction trade careers, including power line work

Students as young as middle school are preparing for life outside of school. That path often involves college and formal degrees, but one group of forward-minded entrepreneurs gives students more options.

Construct My Future, a week-long summer camp, is designed to allow teens to explore the many careers offered in the construction trades, many of which don’t require college education.

“A group of us in the construction industry got together and created a free summer camp for seventh and eighth graders,” said Will Blake, a founding member of Construct My Future and owner of Vesta Foundation Solutions. “We wanted to allow kids to learn about the wide spectrum of trades while making it fun.”

OEC was one of the many vendors instructing this summer’s inaugural camp. Linemen from OEC demonstrated how they safely climb poles, work on electrical lines, and taught electricity basics. In addition to learning about the electric utility field, kids had the chance to participate in the Live Line demonstration 

led by Energy Efficiency Solutions Specialist, and former  Journeyman Lineman, Daniel Lofland.

“This camp was a great marriage of a career fair type event mixed with some actual hands-on training like at a trade school,” Lofland said. “They were exposed to different careers but also handed tools and learned what it takes to do the work in those industries. Ours showcased the dangers our linemen work around every day and why we want the public to stay away from downed powerlines. We then strapped some hooks and a belt on some of the kids and let them try and climb a few poles.”

Students attending construction camp participated in immersive demonstrations from various vendors, each day exploring industries including carpentry, heavy machinery and HVAC, Blake said. Most presentations are hands-on, which sparks a serious interest in students.

“We were thinking we would need more video games and virtual activities to get kids excited because a lot of education these days is driven by technology,” Blake said. “But they were more interested in setting insulators on power poles than using virtual reality to repair HVAC systems.”

The tactile style of the OEC demonstration was the power behind the students’ evident interest in the field, as well as learning about utilities often taken for granted, Blake said.

“I think all of us as Americans take electricity for granted because we’re able to flip on a light switch without a thought,” Blake said, “but by getting involved with the electrical cooperative, students were able to harness up, climb poles and understand where electricity comes from and how it works. That’s not something they see in a classroom or experience on a video game or a cell phone.”

In addition to the hands-on portion, Lofland also discussed upward mobility, pay and benefits electric co-ops offer their employees.

“Rather than just teaching about the skill, OEC did a very good job expressing all the different opportunities you can have when entering this specific category,” Blake said. “That was a huge amount of value to not only us as board members, but the parents and the students.”

While college tuition prices are skyrocketing and job markets are flooded, often leaving students with few job opportunities, industries like the ones displayed at Construct My Future are ripe with opportunity.

“The fact is we have nearly 20% of our talent pool in the construction trades exiting the workforce in the next five to six years due to retirement,” Blake said. “We’ve experienced an ongoing need to bring people into our industry where there’s plenty of opportunities.”

While emphasizing career paths outside the traditional college, the camp is not discouraging anyone from attending college, Blake said. Instead, it shows students other options to explore after high school. By doing this, students can learn more about what they’re passionate about and make informed decisions about their future.

“We are not trying to discourage anyone from going to college, but rather educating them about opportunities in addition to college,” Blake said. “We’re trying to provide an open platform that allows student campers to experience it and decide on their own whether or not they want to continue down that path.”

One of the camp’s board of directors’ goals is to provide attendees with after-camp care and classes to provide licensure hours, ensuring quicker job placement and a better-educated workforce as they enter the field.

“Many folks are going back to construction or viewing construction as a reactive measure rather than a proactive measure,” Blake said. “We would rather it be a proactive choice, so it’s about these businesses uniting to create programs that allow students to make an informed choice.”

While striving towards a regular curriculum, the camp remains a free opportunity for students looking to explore career paths otherwise unknown to them. OEC and Construct My Future will continue their beneficial partnership for the foreseeable future.

“We look forward to continuing this relationship and participating in construction camp for many years,” Lofland said. “We love that we can talk a little about the trade but also drive home public safety aspects of electricity in a fun and engaging way. Seeing these kids’ wheels spinning as they think through questions about various things they have seen or encountered is always a highlight to me.”

Enrollment for next year’s camp opens in January, be sure to check their website, constructmyfutureok.org for more information at that time. This unique opportunity could spark a lifelong passion for a rewarding career in the construction industry.

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Shop Local for the Holidays

What would you say if we told you it was possible to find the perfect holiday gift and support your local community this holiday season? The solution is simple. Shop local.

Read More »

Efficient Home for the Holidays

We all have our favorite season. Some people love crisp, cool weather and bundling up under a favorite blanket, while others prefer the warm temperatures summer brings and all fun outdoor activities that go with it.

But there’s one thing we can all agree on: high winter bills are never fun. Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is here to help you find ways to manage your home energy use and keep winter bills in check.

Read More »

Safety Above All Else

“Safety” is a universal word that is mentioned often and used loosely. Communities, large and small, and companies across all industries are committed to safety. Sports leagues, Sports leagues, at every level, tout their safety protocols, but when it really counts, steps to keep the public, workers, athletes and loved ones safe are often ignored in the interest of expediency or convenience. 

Read More »
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Service-Driven Perspective

Our member service, subscriber support and engineering services departments are often the unsung heroes of OEC and OEC Fiber. The service departments work tirelessly to ensure you get the best experience with us. We sat down with a few team members to learn more about them. Here’s what they had to say:

Jeanie Lee, Member Services Associate

Q: Tell us about your family.

A: I’ve been married for 32 years, with two boys who are married, one bassett hound and one cat.

Q: What’s your favorite dessert?

A: Chocolate cake!

Chelle Aiken, Member Services Associate

Q: What community do you call home?

A: Norman!

Q: Spring, summer, fall or winter?

A: Fall, it’s football season!

Rosa Barringer, Member Services Associate

Q: Tell us about your family.

A: My husband Steve and I have been married for 14 years. We have three children and three grandchildren, and we love family vacations and spending time with them. Grandkids are the biggest joy, and I literally can’t get enough of ’em.

Q: What is your favorite fall activity?

A: I love pumpkin patches and hayrides. I feel it is a great way to spend time with family, have old-fashioned fun, get away from phones and television, and genuinely spend time together.

Melissa Alvarez, Member Services Associate

Q: What community do you call home?

A: Moore!

Q: What is your favorite part of working for OEC and OEC Fiber?

A: Serving OEC members and Fiber subscribers and giving back. I am proud of the company’s positive work and outreach to the community. It is the best place to work in OKLAHOMA!

Tiffany Carter, Member Services Associate

Q: Tell us about your family.

A: I have four animals! Two golden retrievers named Rowen and Goose and two cats named Luna and Jav.

Q: What is your coffee order?

A: I order it black with a hint of almond milk.

Linda Ammons, Subscriber Support Representative

Q: What community do you call home?

A: Norman!

Q: Apple or pumpkin pie?

A: I like pumpkin pie in the fall, but apple pie any other time. My favorite is lemon meringue, though.

Jarred Manning, Member Services Associate

Q: What community do you call home?

A: Norman.

Q: What is your favorite fall activity?

A: I love getting back to outdoorsy things in tolerable temperatures like mountain biking, hiking, camping and kayaking.

Lindy Wine, Member Services Associate

Q: Tell us about your family.

A: I have three boys and two Rottweilers.

Q: If OEC had a theme song, what would it be?

A: We Will Rock You by Queen!

Shana Gammill, Member Services Associate

Q: Tell us about your family.

A: I have a fiancé, two kids, a cat and a puppy.

Q: Spring, summer, fall or winter?

A: Fall because hoody weather is the best!

Share this article

Shop Local for the Holidays

What would you say if we told you it was possible to find the perfect holiday gift and support your local community this holiday season? The solution is simple. Shop local.

Read More »

Efficient Home for the Holidays

We all have our favorite season. Some people love crisp, cool weather and bundling up under a favorite blanket, while others prefer the warm temperatures summer brings and all fun outdoor activities that go with it.

But there’s one thing we can all agree on: high winter bills are never fun. Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is here to help you find ways to manage your home energy use and keep winter bills in check.

Read More »

Safety Above All Else

“Safety” is a universal word that is mentioned often and used loosely. Communities, large and small, and companies across all industries are committed to safety. Sports leagues, Sports leagues, at every level, tout their safety protocols, but when it really counts, steps to keep the public, workers, athletes and loved ones safe are often ignored in the interest of expediency or convenience. 

Read More »
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Focused on You

Electric cooperatives were created to serve their members. Because we’re a co-op, we’re able to adapt to our community’s unique needs. That’s the power of co-op membership. 

Fall is a busy time, and October is a particularly eventful month with school, community and sports activities in full swing. It’s also when all cooperatives celebrate National Co-op Month. 

When I say OEC celebrates Co-op Month, it really means we are celebrating you! After all, our co-op wouldn’t exist without you, our members. 

Our core business purpose is to serve as your electricity provider, but the larger mission of the co-op is to help make our corner of the world a better place. “Concern for community” is one of seven guiding principles that all co-ops share.

Similar to how our wires run through our service territory, our concern for community flows through all of our decisions––because being a co-op means being a responsible partner and good neighbor. 

OEC works to help our community thrive through initiatives led by our employees and local board that’s comprised of neighbors who live right here in our community. Because we’re local, we understand our community’s unique needs and strive to help meet them. 

We’re proud to support local youth through Youth Tour and scholarship programs. With your help, we offer Operation Round Up to provide assistance to our community’s most vulnerable. We partner with and support area foodbanks and other charitable organizations such as United Way of Norman and Transition House. 

The word “cooperative” is close to “cooperation,” meaning people working together towards a common goal—mutually benefitting one another and the larger community. That’s the essence of the cooperative spirit. Our employees and member-elected board members are invested in the community in which live and serve. 

Above all, as a co-op we put our members’ priorities first. As your trusted energy partner, we know that saving energy and money is important to you. That’s why we have numerous programs in place to help, including home energy audits and a variety of rates to fit your needs.

We want to empower you to manage energy use at home. If you haven’t already, I encourage you take a moment and download our app, MyOEC. Through the app, you can conveniently monitor and manage your energy use. And we’re of course here to help, so give us a call if you have questions about your energy bills.

OEC is continuously examining ways to operate more efficiently while continuing to provide the highest level of friendly, reliable service you expect and deserve. After all, we’re your local co-op. We were built by the members we serve.

Share this article

Shop Local for the Holidays

What would you say if we told you it was possible to find the perfect holiday gift and support your local community this holiday season? The solution is simple. Shop local.

Read More »

Efficient Home for the Holidays

We all have our favorite season. Some people love crisp, cool weather and bundling up under a favorite blanket, while others prefer the warm temperatures summer brings and all fun outdoor activities that go with it.

But there’s one thing we can all agree on: high winter bills are never fun. Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is here to help you find ways to manage your home energy use and keep winter bills in check.

Read More »

Safety Above All Else

“Safety” is a universal word that is mentioned often and used loosely. Communities, large and small, and companies across all industries are committed to safety. Sports leagues, Sports leagues, at every level, tout their safety protocols, but when it really counts, steps to keep the public, workers, athletes and loved ones safe are often ignored in the interest of expediency or convenience. 

Read More »
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