Power Lines

Downed trees and power lines

Helping Hands

As Father’s Day approached this past June, so did a weather pattern that brought with it a series of storms across Ohio. The storms appeared initially to be strong, to be sure, but not out of line with the usual tempests that sweep through the Midwest every summer.

As the co-ops organized resources to restore the systems to turn power back on to their members, the next several days brought alternating extreme heat and additional powerful storm systems that made the work of restoring service both more dangerous and more plentiful. Problems on AEP’s high-voltage transmission network resulted in more than 100,000 central Ohio homes and businesses having their power intentionally shut off for long stretches of time.

The renewable, green energy source, generated and transmitted by Buckeye Power for OEC members, has been available since 2017 when the OurSolar program was launched.

Reality check

The hours of bright sunshine that come with scorching Ohio summers often spur people to consider harnessing energy from the sky’s brightest star with rooftop solar panels.

Bright side

Demarco Deshaies of Rockridge in Hocking County decided to investigate solar as a backup after losing electric service for several days following a devastating February 2022 winter storm.

Beat the peak

Sometime soon — perhaps sometime this month, but certainly in July and August — you’re likely to see a “peak alert” notice from your electric cooperative. 

What’s the peak?

It’s important that consumer-members are aware of those peaks because electric rates for the entire year are based on the highest points of usage during the year, referred to as “peak demand.” 

Powerline

Filling the void

Anyone living in a rural area of Ohio knows there’s a problem with internet service.

The need for speed

Lack of high-speed internet access affects students’ ability to learn, individuals’ ability to work, and businesses’ ability to prosper, because every day the world is becoming more digital. Online classes, remote work, and Zoom meetings are becoming more and more the norm, and without broadband, those digital tools are simply unavailable. 

There can be no doubt that electric cooperatives will play a part in bridging that digital divide. 

Lineworkers operating in icy, snowy weather.

Duty calls

Lineworkers operate under dangerous conditions even on the best of days, so when Mother Nature issues a challenge, they’re more than prepared to answer the call. 

More than 40 Ohio lineworkers spent a good chunk of January in Virginia, helping to restore power to more than 80,000 co-op members after a storm there. Then in early February, 63 lineworkers from 20 cooperatives around the state jumped into action to help restore power to more than 30,000 Ohio co-op members when winter storm Landon put a coating of ice over some of the most difficult-to-reach areas of the southern part of the state. 

To maximize your solar productivity, ensure that your roof is in good condition and isn’t shaded throughout the day.

If you ask me...

March is the time of year when Ohioans are treated to an occasional teasing day of sunshine and warmth before winter reminds us that it’s not done just yet.

We asked a handful of energy advisors from across the state to get us started with some basic information and a few questions to ask as you do your research. All of them agree on the most important step: Contact your electric cooperative before signing any agreement. This is a crucial part of the procedure, not only to ensure that your array is built correctly and properly connects to the cooperative’s system, but also to get an understanding of exactly how solar is going to work for you. 

Voices for Cooperative Power

Electric cooperative communities are some of the best places in America to call home. We have majestic landscapes, deep-seated values, and a sense of connectedness like no other.

Some people may be wary of giving their name and information to yet another list. The last thing anyone needs is more junk email clogging their inboxes or more spam phone calls. But Voices for Cooperative Power is not junk mail. And members’ information will never be sold or given to anyone outside of the electric cooperative network.

Judy and Larry Mercer with granddaughter, Lily.

Key to reliability

Judy Mercer was just sitting down with her family — all 16 of them — for Thanksgiving dinner in 2014 when the lights in their house near Wingett Run suddenly went dark.

“I’ve lived in the country my whole life, so honestly, I’m used to it,” Judy says. “We were actually thankful because we knew that there were linemen already out working on the problem even by the time we called it in, but that was when we got our generator.”

Youth Tour chaperone with group of students

Watchful eyes

When Ohio’s electric cooperatives send about 40 high school students on a weeklong Youth Tour trip to Washington, D.C., each year, it’s often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students to not only tour the nation’s capital from a perspective that not all visitors are

Missy Kidwell, senior service specialist at Consolidated Cooperative in Mount Gilead, is assistant director of Ohio’s Youth Tour program. She had been involved in the process of selecting students to attend the trip for several years before she decided to attend as a chaperone. “Being able to see these students start out as strangers but then cultivate a lifelong friendship by the end of the week was pretty amazing,” she says. “I always knew it was an important experience, but didn’t realize exactly how special it was until I saw it in person.”

Carbon-free by 2035?

Over the last few months, Ohio Cooperative Living has taken a look at why we still need coal — an analysis of cost and reliability factors of different generation resources; a review of the sources of electricity used to power Ohio’s co-op member homes and businesses; an ex

ADDING TRANSMISSION

Hundreds of billions of dollars will be needed to build and upgrade the transmission system to carry more electricity from wind and solar. An MIT study found transmission capacity will need to be doubled, and recent transmission projects have taken as long as 17 to 20 years to complete.