OEC Foundation board grants $42,500 to local organizations, families

The OEC Foundation, Inc. board of directors met March 15 and distributed over $42,500 to local nonprofit organizations and families in OEC’s seven-county service area via Operation Round Up® (ORU). Transition House received the largest grant, valued at $10,000.

“Transition House provides a transitional living program to people with serious mental illness,” said Bonnie Peruttzi, executive director. “The grant will assist people as they work on recovery by providing personal essentials, apartment needs, holiday needs, etc. The intended outcome is to provide clients with basic essentials so they can focus their energy on their recovery work so they can transition to healthy, integrated community living.”

Cedar Country Fire Protection District in Noble, Pink Fire Department, Slaughterville Fire Department and Tuttle Fire Department all received $3,000 grants for various equipment needs. The Eden Clinic in Norman also received $3,000 to expand its medical services.

The board also awarded grants to Dibble Senior Citizens Nutrition Site ($2,500), Hope Medical Center in Lexington ($2,000), Tuttle Special Olympics ($1,500) and the Women’s Resource Center in Norman ($4,000).

Thirteen individuals and/or families received ORU grants totaling up to $7,566.83 to cover costs for hearing aids, vision care, dentures and dental care, as well as materials to construct a handicap accessible ramp.

“This board is extremely lucky to have the support of so many OEC members who round up their bills each month,” said Joyce Wallace, OEC Foundation board president. “I hope they know the positive impact they are having on the lives of so many people all across OEC’s service area.”

ORU is made possible by thousands of OEC members who choose to round up their electric bills each month to the nearest dollar. Applications — individual/family and organizational — may be found at www.okcoop.org/ORU. The next application deadline will be set at a meeting held on May 1.

Contact Tory Tedder-Loffland at 217-6726 or ORU@okcoop.org if you have any questions about the program or application process.

OEC Board Gives First Phase of Fiber Project Green Light

Following a lengthy process of feasibility studies, member surveys and research into fiber and broadband, OEC is set to kick off the first phase of OEC Fiber — a telecommunications subsidiary of OEC. This phase includes installing fiber communications to all substations located throughout our service area.

“As we begin running fiber lines from one substation to the next, we will offer members within a specified proximity to the line access to internet and telecommunications services via OEC Fiber,” said David Goodspeed, manager of fiber and broadband and OEC Fiber president. “This will be a slow-moving process as we work with contractors to ensure the service to our substations is reliable and functioning properly.”

The first phase (connecting our substations) is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year and will ultimately increase the reliability of our electric service as we are able to take advantage of its “smart” automation capabilities. Results from this phase will determine the next steps. While the potential for internet service availability in rural areas is exciting, the project will seem to move at a glacial pace for some.

“The board [of trustees] authorized this pilot phase and will use data collected from it to decide the feasibility of providing broadband service for our members on a wider scale,” said CEO Patrick Grace.

OEC’s service area, while more urban, includes a surprising number of members who don’t have access to internet service. Just as investor-owned utilities refused to build electric service to rural areas in the 1930s, companies are choosing not to invest in providing rural areas with dependable internet service today. It’s a remarkably similar story to OEC’s earliest beginnings and is a natural extension of our mission to increase our members’ quality of life through the safe delivery of highly reliable, reasonably priced electric service, innovative energy programs and exceptional member service.

Members may stay up-to-date as OEC Fiber progresses. Visit www.OECFiber.com(link is external) to learn more about the project and sign up to receive updates when they become available.

OEC named Tree Line USA by Arbor Day Foundation

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”8035″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Arbor Day Foundation recently named OEC a 2018 Tree Line USA in honor of our commitment to proper tree pruning, planting and care across our service area.

“This is the twelfth year straight OEC has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Line USA utility,” said CEO Patrick Grace. “Proper vegetation management is a top priority for us — evidenced by our two certified on-staff arborists — and we will continue to maintain our rights-of-way with careful consideration to the vegetation we come in contact with.”

Tree Line USA, a partnership between the Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, recognizes public and private utilities for pursuing practices that protect and enhance America’s urban trees. Tree Line USA promotes the dual goals of delivering safe and reliable electricity while maintaining healthy community forests.

“Trees are a critical part of urban landscapes all across the United States,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Service providers like OEC demonstrate that it’s possible for trees and utilities to co-exist for the benefit of communities and citizens.”

OEC achieved Tree Line USA by meeting five program standards. Utilities must follow industry standards for quality tree care: provide annual worker training in best tree-care practices; sponsor a tree-planting and public education program; maintain a tree-based energy conservation program; and participate in an Arbor Day celebration.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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