OEC Restores Power to All Members Following Last Week’s Tornadoes

NORMAN, OK—Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC) has completed power restoration efforts following devastating tornadoes that tore through Oklahoma last week.

“The storms initially knocked out power to 16,000 OEC members on Wednesday night,” said Brianna Wall, OEC manager of marketing and member relations. “Crews worked through the weekend to rebuild over 200 poles and nine miles of electric and fiber lines that were destroyed.”

While uprooted trees and debris slowed progress, OEC, OEC Fiber and contractor crews continued working diligently until power was restored for all members.

“Our hearts are with those who lost homes or worse, family members, during these storms,” said CEO Patrick Grace. “I’m proud of our crews who worked as quickly and safely as possible, spending long days away from their families, until all of our members had power restored.”

OEC Fiber crews have been working alongside OEC crews to ensure internet, phone and TV services are restored for members in the affected areas — some of which have been without those services since Wednesday evening.

“Our fiber technicians continue working diligently splicing and ensuring our services are operational as soon as possible,” said OEC Fiber President David Goodspeed.

The OEC Foundation’s Operation Round Up program is able to offer financial aid to anyone affected by the storms in OEC’s service area, regardless of their electricity provider. More information about this program and the application can be found at www.okcoop.org/ORU. Contact Tory Tedder-Loffland at 405-217-6726 if you have questions about the application or program.

“We thank all of our members for their patience, encouragement and kind words as we worked to restore power and internet service,” said Grace. “The communities of Cole and Etowah will be rebuilding for a while, and we will be with them every step of the way.”

Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is the state’s largest member-owned electric cooperative and provides electricity to over 45,000 members and 62,000 accounts in seven central Oklahoma counties. The service area includes approximately 2,200 square miles and 5,600 miles of line. To find out more about OEC, visit www.okcoop.org.

OEC Continues Power Restoration Efforts in Cole, Etowah

NORMAN, OK—Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC) continues work in the Cole and Etowah communities following confirmed EF2 and EF3 tornadoes that tore through the areas on April 19.

“As the storms rolled through, 16,000 OEC members lost power,” said Brianna Wall, OEC manager of marketing and member relations. “Our outage count is down to less than 200, and crews are continuing to rebuild the 200 poles and nine miles of lines that were destroyed.”

Crews worked through the night Wednesday and all day Thursday and Friday, restoring power to most members within hours. Construction of new poles continues Saturday and will remain until all members have power.

“Uprooted trees and debris blocking access is one of the main barriers at the moment,” said Vice President of Operations Marty Hayes. “Our guys continue to work diligently, however we’re in the stage of restoration now that unfortunately takes the most effort and resources as we work to rebuild.”

As crews restore power to OEC members, OEC Fiber subscribers will see their services restored as well.

“Our fiber technicians are working diligently splicing and ensuring our services are operational soon after the power comes back on,” said Senior Manager of Outside Plant & Fiber Technicians Joe Torres.

The OEC Foundation’s Operation Round Up program is able to offer financial aid to anyone affected by the storms in OEC’s service area, regardless of their electricity provider. More information about this program and the application can be found at www.okcoop.org/ORU. Contact Tory Tedder-Loffland at 405-217-6726 if you have questions about the application or program.

“Our hearts go out to members who have been severely impacted and displaced by these storms,” said Wall. “We thank all of our members for their patience, encouragement and kind words as we continue working to get power back on for everyone.”

To learn more about our outage restoration process or to keep track of our progress, visit www.okcoop.org/outage-map or follow OEC on social media.

Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is the state’s largest member-owned electric cooperative and provides electricity to over 45,000 members and 62,000 accounts in seven central Oklahoma counties. The service area includes approximately 2,200 square miles and 5,600 miles of line. To find out more about OEC, visit www.okcoop.org.

OEC Working to Restore Power in Wake of Powerful Tornadoes

NORMAN, OK—Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC) continues work in the Cole, Blanchard, Etowah and Little Axe areas following confirmed EF2 and EF3 tornadoes that occurred on Wednesday, April 19. While crews restored power within hours to most of the members affected by the storms, some remain without power.

“As the storms rolled through, 16,000 OEC members lost power,” said Brianna Wall, OEC manager of marketing and member relations. “The fact that we were able to restore power to most of those members in a matter of hours is a testament to our incredible line crews and supporting staff members.”

The storms destroyed more than 170 poles and nearly 10 miles of electric and fiber lines across OEC’s seven-county service area, something OEC considers to be a significant loss.

“Thanks to our years-long investment in improving our system reliability, we were able to restore power much quicker than we would have a decade ago during a storm of this magnitude,” Wall said. “The addition of fiber communications and smart equipment to our system helped reroute power from available substations so we could quickly energize homes and businesses. Because these storms hit very rural areas, however, we still have a lot of work to do.”

Crews worked through the night and into Thursday and made much progress, some of which occurred after fallen and damaged transmission structures were repaired. Construction of new poles continues Friday and will remain until all members have power.

“Thankfully, we have a great partnership with contractors who are aiding our crews in restoring power as quickly and safely as possible,” said Wall. “As our line crews restore power, OEC Fiber crews will be able to rebuild the fiber system in the affected areas to restore internet, phone and TV services to subscribers.”

The OEC Foundation’s Operation Round Up program is able to offer financial aid to anyone affected by the storms in OEC’s service area, regardless of their electricity provider. More information about this program and the application can be found at www.okcoop.org/ORU. Contact Tory Tedder-Loffland at 405-217-6726 if you have questions about the application or program.

“Our hearts go out to members who have been severely impacted and displaced by these storms,” said Wall. “We are so grateful to the members who round up their electric bills each month and make it possible for us to provide assistance during times like this. We thank all of our members for their patience, encouragement and kind words as we continue working to get power back on for everyone.”

To learn more about our outage restoration process or to keep track of our progress, visit www.okcoop.org/outage-map or follow OEC on social media.

Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is the state’s largest member-owned electric cooperative and provides electricity to over 45,000 members and 62,000 accounts in seven central Oklahoma counties. The service area includes approximately 2,200 square miles and 5,600 miles of line. To find out more about OEC, visit www.okcoop.org.

As Summer Peak Times Loom; OEC and OEC Fiber Unveil Automatic Outage Restoration

NORMAN, OKLAHOMA, May 23, 2022 — Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC) and OEC Fiber are pleased to announce the implementation of the Adaptively Controlled Electric System (ACES) Project. This innovative step toward a self-healing grid employs a group of automatic switches to isolate power outages and redirect electricity, creating a more reliable electric system for OEC’s 45,000 consumer-members.

A multi-year project, ACES is now in the pilot phase, where it has already impacted members by preventing more than 63,000 minutes of outage time. Already the most reliable electric provider among the seven counties it serves, OEC is again revolutionizing the way it provides power to its members.

OEC is now equipped to utilize the lightning-fast communication technology of fiber to better control its infrastructure. The speed and reliability of the fiber itself allows devices to remain in constant communication to prevent outages before they start by using a series of automated switches to isolate the outage and redirect the flow of power to restore service. This way, less members are impacted and line crews are more quickly able to identify the cause of the outage and make necessary repairs.

“The creation of OEC Fiber has brought connectivity to the middle of Oklahoma that wasn’t there before,” said OEC Manager of System Engineering Nick Shumaker. “We now have instant communication with all devices in the field by utilizing fiber, which is how we communicate to all of them in 1/1000 of a second to get up-to-the-minute data and get people’s power back online.”

Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is the state’s largest member-owned electric cooperative and provides electricity to over 45,000 members and 62,000 accounts in seven central Oklahoma counties. The service area includes approximately 5,700 miles of line in over 2,200 square miles. To find out more about OEC, visit www.okcoop.org.  OEC Fiber is a subsidiary of OEC run by employees who embody the same attitude and spirit of OEC you know and trust. Our expert partners, Trans-Tel, Conexon, Calix, and Momentum, not only bring decades of experience, but are dedicated to the subscribers we serve. Learn more at www.oecfiber.com.

 

OEC Announces New Solar Partnership with Norman Public Schools

A new solar farm will feature a unique partnership between OEC and Norman Public Schools, which will reduce the school district’s energy costs and provide educational opportunities for students.

Construction on the solar farm will begin soon and conclude by the end of 2020. When complete, the 15-acre, 2 megawatt solar farm is expected to generate the equivalent of nearly 30 percent of the school district’s total energy usage.

The partnership also features a Renewable Science Education Center, where students can visit the solar farm and learn about electricity, energy and careers in related fields. The project also aligns with the City of Norman’s Ready for 100 initiative, which calls for the city to be fueled 100 percent by renewable energy by 2030.

The solar farm will be located at 60th and Robinson in Norman and will feature 7,208 panels. The property is owned by Norman Public Schools and OEC will lease a portion of the land to construct the solar farm and an associated road to the facility.

OEC helps fight hunger, feed hope

Fourteen OEC employees on Aug. 22 spent the afternoon volunteering at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Moore Food and Resource Center as part of OEC Empowers, an internal initiative encouraging employees to give back to the communities we serve.

“The Moore Food and Resource Center is a vital part of the community of Moore that helps feed thousands of families each month,” said Brianna Wall, editorial and events coordinator. “Many of the employees who volunteered — including myself — live in Moore and are proud to give back to a community that gives us so much.”

Volunteers sorted produce, stocked the freezer and refrigerators, organized the warehouse, helped clients shop for groceries and offered smiling faces to all who came through the center that day.

“We could not have helped feed over 110 families if it weren’t for the efforts of OEC’s employees,” said Moore Food and Resource Center Director Skyler Parker. “We are grateful for their hearts to volunteer and for the leadership at OEC to allow them the opportunity.”

The Moore Food and Resource Center, located at 2635 North Shields in Moore, serves clients in Moore and south Oklahoma City. For more information and to learn how you can volunteer, visit
www.regionalfoodbank.org/MooreFRC

 

OEC, Little Axe Public Schools shine light on LED rebate program

OEC cut a big check to Little Axe Public Schools — $27,936 — as a rebate for the schools’ recent transition to LED lighting.

Little Axe replaced every light bulb on its property with an LED version totaling over 4,500 lamps.

“It was a pretty big initial investment,” said Little Axe Superintendent Jay Thomas. “But, we are already reaping the benefits.”

LEDs use 60 to 80 percent less energy than traditional lighting methods, estimates the U.S. Department of Energy. Quality LED bulbs will last 25 times longer than traditional bulbs which can more than make up for the initial investment. They have the additional advantages of burning cooler, being a more efficient task light and as they contain no mercury, they are more environmentally friendly.

Little Axe completed its retrofit in May and has already experienced a 12 percent kilowatt hour (kWh) reduction — significant savings considering it includes only one month of school. While Little Axe is the first school to take advantage of OEC’s LED retrofit program, it won’t be the last.

“We are ecstatic to offer this cost-savings program to the schools we serve,” said Tory Tedder-Loffland, OEC education and outreach coordinator. “We hope it alleviates some of the pain of recent budget cuts and helps create a positive educational environment for students.”

The LED retrofit program is a partnership between OEC and its power supplier, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative, and is available to schools, churches and commercial consumer-members. OEC also offers efficiency rebates for the installation of heat pumps and electric water heaters. Visit www.okcoop.org to learn more about our rebate program.

To find out more about the program and savings, contact Randy Harnsberger, key accounts manager at 217-6708 or randyh@okcoop.org.

OEC, National Guard partner for Cybersecurity Training

Oklahoma Army National Guard (OKARNG) soldiers are no stranger to working side-by-side with fellow government agencies at home and on the battlefield. However, during a two-week training event at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, soldiers from the OKARNG trained with a civilian agency — OEC — to better prepare for a threat on the cyber battlefield.

For the scenario that took place May 14-18, a fictitious transportation company known as Jet Black was attempting to roll out a nationwide turnpike system that was receiving a barrage of cyber attacks from threat actors. Soldiers from the joint, 10-member Defense Cyber Operations Element (DCOE) cyber response team, comprised of soldiers from the OKARNG and Arkansas Army National Guard, provided technical assistance to protect the fictional infrastructure asset.

The OKARNG invited Brad Keener, OEC information technology system engineer, to play the role of the IT department for the fabricated agency.

“As an IT professional, coming in and working with other IT professionals on a mock-chaos situation, it really is a unique opportunity to come in and test their skills,” Keener said. “Those soldiers were sharp. It was an absolute pleasure working with them.”

Lt. Col. Chris Douglas, OKARNG DCOE team chief, said working with OEC was his first time partnering with a civilian agency. He welcomes the opportunity to work with and learn from others in the future.

“When I was looking to get our team together to go to Cyber Shield, I was looking for a mission partner that was a non-government agency, civilian organization in our community,” Douglas said. “Since we as the Guard are involved in the local communities, I looked at electricity as one of those infrastructures. I thought OEC would be a natural partner with us because they are out in rural communities here in Oklahoma. Brad was able to step into that role and just run with it.”

The DCOE is strictly focused on cyber defense operations rather than offensive operations. Douglas said the role of the DCOE is to defend the terrain, fix whatever bad guys broke, assist the agencies with building a remediation plan and help defend the critical cyber infrastructure.

“It is a unique training opportunity for us because we are entering into their network to help defend it for them and we have no idea what it looks like,” said Douglas. “How can we step in and how can we defend that? What would we need to know and what would we need to provide? That was the fun part for us – to challenge our technical skills and figure out where and how the threat actors were getting in.

“Looking at real world scenarios, there are real threat actors out there,” Douglas added. “We look at those scenarios that are happening out there in the real world and we try to train for them; train like we fight.”

Keener said there is more to cyber security than the constant paranoia of a system being hacked. Rather than worry, he said he sees it as an opportunity for preparation.

“We are always investigating ways to harden our system to prevent these types of attacks,” Keener continued. “One thing I have considered is what it would take to bring somebody in and bring them up to speed on what we currently have. Moving forward, we are going to better prepare ourselves.”

“The IT industry is such a broad field that it is impossible to be an expert in everything,” Keener noted. “In an emergency situation, it is necessary to bring in somebody you do not necessarily know. Therefore, it is vital to have relationships already established before something goes wrong.”

“From our standpoint, if we had an event like this happen, for OEC, it was great to see the steps involved from the National Guard perspective on what they would need from us,” Keener said. “I think it’s a great benefit to establish this relationship with the National Guard before something happens. The more the Guard can do that, I think the better they serve, not only the community, but the nation.”

Oklahoma Youth Tour students spend unforgettable week in D.C.

Four area teens recently returned from an unforgettable trip to Washington, D.C. Known as Youth Tour, the all-expenses-paid, seven-day trip to the nation’s capital inspires the talented, hard-working students who have the opportunity to experience it.

The 70 students on this year’s trip were sponsored by 25 of Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives. Audrey Bradford from Amber-Pocasset High School, Jasmine Williams and Josie McFarland from Newcastle High School, and Lauren Berry from Westmoore High School represented OEC on Youth Tour in June. They were awarded the trip after successfully completing a presentation and application process. OEC Education and Outreach Coordinator Tory Tedder-Loffland attended Youth Tour as one of eight chaperones.

“Every year the contestants seem to get better and better,” said OEC CEO Patrick Grace. “We have the best and the brightest young leaders in Oklahoma, and I was honored to have them represent us this year.”

While in D.C., the students toured historic sites, attended a question-and-answer session with Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation and made new, lifelong friends. They also attended the national Youth Day with over 1,600 Youth Tour winners from around the country.

“It is incredible to watch the students evolve,” said Tedder-Loffland. “They start in awe of their surroundings, but through experiences like meeting their representatives and witnessing their humanity and accessibility, the students grow to believe anything is possible for them.”

Among the highlights of the trip were visiting the monuments and touring Mount Vernon, the Holocaust Museum and the Newseum. For most of the students, the most special moment was the private tour of the Capitol building.

Oklahoma U.S. Congressman Markwayne Mullin continued his tradition of giving the Oklahoma Youth Tour group a private after-hours tour of the Capitol. Congressman Mullin guided the group through areas usually off limits, like the floor of the House of Representatives.

“I am so grateful that [Youth Tour] allowed me to listen and interview the senators and representatives of our state,” said Bradford. “Most of them sacrifice time with their family and friends to run this country, and it put a deep sense of respect in my heart for our government.”

The purpose of Youth Tour is to give the students valuable insight into American history, while giving them the tools and the training necessary to succeed as young leaders in today’s ever-changing political climate. After all, the electric cooperative movement was born in politics in the 1930s.

“The history I walked on, the things I saw (both entertaining and eye-opening) and the people I encountered have all impacted me in a special way that has helped me grow as a person,” said Berry.

Williams echoed Berry’s statement, saying “I really feel like I’ve grown so much as a person throughout this whole experience.”

In addition to personal growth, the relationships formed during this week often endure into college and beyond.

“Walking the same steps as my heroes gave me a feeling of empowerment and optimism,” said McFarland. “One day, I hope to continue to walk in their footsteps, but as a career.”

Congratulations to OEC’s four well-deserved Youth Tour winners of 2018.

OEC Named 5-Star Co-op

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”7802″ img_size=”full” style=”vc_box_shadow_border”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]As an electric cooperative, we pride ourselves on engaging in the democratic process. We believe it is imperative for our collective voices to be heard. And that in doing so, we build a stronger future. As such, we are proud to report that OEC has recently been named a 5-Star Co-op Votes Cooperative. This underscores our commitment to and investment in all of our tomorrows.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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