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Answering the Call

Oklahoma provides mutual aid assistance to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

Answering the Call

Photo courtesy of Kay Electric Cooperative

Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives were ready to answer the call for help from Louisiana’s electric cooperatives in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. The storm landed on Sunday, August 29, near Port Fourchon, Louisiana as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, a few miles shy of 157 mph, common in a Category 5 storm. The storm left more than 1 million people in Louisiana without power and about 130,000 in Mississippi.

Following the principle of Cooperation Among Cooperatives, linemen from eight distribution electric cooperatives in Oklahoma traveled to Louisiana where they have been assisting with restoration efforts.

Oklahoma co-ops worked under the coordination of the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives and were assigned to assist sister cooperative DEMCO, based in the East Baton Rouge parish, a hard-hit area. DEMCO is the largest electric cooperative in Louisiana serving more than 113,000 members; its service area comprises 8,887 miles of line. At the highest point, DEMCO reported 100,000 outages—nearly 88% of its membership—without power.

Given the extended nature of the restoration period, most electric cooperatives sent rotating crews, according to Derec Janaway, safety and loss control director for the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives.

Map highlighting states with electric cooperatives who sent crews to aid in efforts including Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (left) and Southeast Electric Cooperative (right).

According to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives joined the mutual aid effort alongside crews from 32 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to the industry standard safety protocols, line crews will follow CDC guidelines in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additional safety measures will be put in place to ensure crew members and consumers stay safe during restoration efforts.

“Safety is our No. 1 priority.  We ask for prayers over all crews and essential workers as they perform their duties so everyone can return home to their loved ones safe and sound,”  Randy Pierce, CEO and general manager of DEMCO, said in a statement.

The following electric cooperatives have sent crews:

  • East Central Electric Cooperative, based in Okmulgee 
  • Kay Electric Cooperative, based in Blackwell 
  • Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, based in Vinita 
  • Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, based in Norman 
  • Southeastern Electric Cooperative, based in Durant 
  • Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative, based in Stigler 
  • People’s Electric Cooperative, based in Ada 
  • Rural Electric Cooperative, based in Lindsay

Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have a total of 89 lineworkers assisting in the power restoration efforts following Hurricane Ida.

“Cooperation among cooperatives is one of the principles that guide electric cooperatives,” says Chris Meyers, general manager of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. “We are proud of the co-op crews that are lending a hand in this difficult time to help a sister cooperative. This is the cooperative difference at work. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the hurricane’s path.”


Mutual Aid Highlights:

  • Eight distribution electric cooperatives in Oklahoma sent 89 lineworkers to provide mutual aid assistance to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Ida
  • Linemen from Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives worked on power restoration efforts in the service area of DEMCO, based in the East Baton Rouge parish
  • Oklahoma co-op lineworkers joined in a massive power restoration effort alongside crews from 32 states and the District of Columbia OKL Article End