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  • Power Line Safety Reminders from Crawford Electric

    Can you imagine an electrical flash that burns hotter than the surface of the sun? What if we told you that the source of that heat was all around you — and more specifically, right above you?


    Power Line Safety
    Power lines play a crucial role in how your Missouri Electric Cooperatives deliver electricity to you in rural Missouri, but power lines can also be incredibly dangerous. This 2012 video produced by Crawford Electric Cooperative in Bourbon, Missouri, shows exactly what happens when people, animals, or trees make contact with power lines.

    “Electricity is always looking for that path to the ground,” the presenter explains.

    That means that anything that comes in contact with a power line has the potential to become the electricity’s path to the ground. In the examples in the video, you can see that a helium balloon, a metal pole, and a tree each conduct electricity when they come in contact with an overhead power wire.

    Steve’s Story
    When humans come in contact with overhead power lines, they can become electricity’s path to the ground, too. The result is a dangerous — but largely avoidable — electric shock.

    Steve, an employee of Pike Electric (a service partner of Missouri's Rural Electric Cooperatives), was nearly killed when he was shocked by an overhead power line. He talks to an audience of first responders and public works employees, explaining that he never thought electric shock — which left him hospitalized for three months — could happen to him.

    “I spent three months in intensive care and had 19 surgeries. They told me I’d never walk again,” he tells the audience.

    “It was preventable,” he says. “I really was the guy who said, ‘I’m only going to be there for a minute, and it won’t happen to me.’”

    Look Up and Live
    Power lines are a critical part of our infrastructure for delivering power to you, our rural Missouri Member-Owners. But power lines can also be dangerous. Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives urge you to, “look up and live,” before doing construction work, cleaning a pool, or trimming trees on your property.

    Awareness of the location of power lines on your property, when combined with using best safety practices, will help prevent you from causing the kind of electrical fires, disruptions, and shocks shown in Crawford Electric’s video.

    About Crawford Electric Cooperative
    Incorporated in 1940, Crawford Electric is a not-for-profit member-owned electric cooperative that provides energy services to residential, agricultural and commercial accounts in parts of six east-central Missouri counties.

    Crawford has more than 60 employees and serves more than 30,000 Missourians through almost 20,000 meters. Crawford’s physical plant consists of more than 3,300 miles of distribution line located within Crawford, Franklin, Washington, Gasconade, Jefferson and Dent counties. The system also includes the city of Bourbon. 

    Crawford Electric is the 15th largest of Missouri’s distribution cooperatives in terms of numbers of meters served as well as miles of line energized (source). You can visit Crawford Electric’s website, and the Cooperative is also on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • The National Electric Code (NEC) in Missouri

    When it comes to electrical safety, the National Electrical Code — or NEC — is the nationally recognized standard. The 1,000-page document is published every three years, and it’s up to states or local jurisdictions whether to adopt the code and how to enforce it.

    Does Missouri Adopt and Enforce the National Electrical Code?
    Generally speaking, states chose one of three options: 1) they adopt the NEC as state law and enforce the law statewide, 2) they only adopt and enforce the NEC at the local level, or 3) they opt for a hybrid situation in which the state adopts the NEC for certain situations, allowing local jurisdictions to adopt (or not) the code by their own will (source).

    In Missouri, our state Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety adopts the NEC and applies it to state-owned buildings. However, our local jurisdictions chose whether or not to adopt and enforce the code. (To find out if your community has adopted the NEC, contact your local city or county officials.)

    Whether or not your local jurisdiction adopts and enforces the NEC, the code is still considered the preeminent standard and point of reference for electrical safety in the United States.

    The History of the NEC
    The NEC was first published in 1897. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed and published the code since 1911, releasing an update every three years. The code is available in electronic and print versions, and the NFPA even publishes an NEC Handbook which includes the entire code, as well as helpful illustrations (source).

    You can get free, restricted access to the NEC here if you’re willing to register with the NFPA.

    Learn More
    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • Four Steps to Restoring Power After an Electrical Outage

    Video Credit: NRECA

    When the power goes out in Missouri, you know that your rural Electric Cooperatives step into action. But have you ever wondered exactly what happens behind the scenes in order to get your lights back on?

    In this post, we’ll share the four main steps that your local Cooperative takes when it restores your power after an electrical outage. Before we explain those steps, though, let’s talk for a minute about how your Cooperative gets power to you, our Member-Owners.

    From Generation to Transmission to Your Home
    Your Missouri Electric Cooperative has to generate electric power in order to share it with you. Most of that power comes from coal, wind, and natural gas power plants in Missouri and Oklahoma, but it can come from hydroelectric power plants or from distributed energy sources like our Member-Owner’s own solar fields, too.

    Power moves along high voltage transmission lines from the plant to your local substation, where it’s “stepped down” to a lower voltage. That lower voltage power is then distributed from the substation to your home.

    When your power goes out, your Cooperative follows four key steps to restore your electricity. Generally speaking, these four steps go in order from the biggest repairs on high-voltage transmission lines and substations to the smallest repairs on the tap lines and transformers outside your home.

    Your Cooperative might follow these four steps to restoring power after an electrical outage in order, or it might assign lineman to work on more than one part of the system simultaneously. Whichever approach your Cooperative takes, its goal is to restore power to the most people in your service area as quickly and safely as possible.

    Four Steps to Restoring Power After an Electrical Outage

    Step 1: Repair High Voltage Transmission Lines
    The first step in restoring your power is to repair any damages to the high voltage transmission lines that carry electricity over long distances, supplying power to thousands of Member-Owners.

    Steps 2 & 3: Inspect Distribution Substations & Main Distribution Lines
    If your transmission lines are in good shape — or once necessary repairs are finished — the next step in restoring power is to inspect your distribution substations.

    Distribution substations serve hundreds or thousands of Member-Owners, stepping high voltage power from transmission lines down to a lower voltage that your Cooperative’s main distribution lines can handle. Once linemen have inspected and repaired any damages at your substation, they can examine the main distribution lines that carry power your service area.

    Step 4: Examine Tap Lines
    When high voltage lines, distribution substations, and main distribution lines are all in proper working order, lineman can repair the tap lines that deliver power to the transformers outside of the homes businesses, and schools in your community. Lineman will also examine the transformers, themselves, when necessary. 

    Restoring Power as Quickly as Possible After an Outage
    Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives work tirelessly to get your power on again as quickly as possible after an outage. Our goal is always to restore power to the greatest number of Member-Owners in the shortest time possible, while giving priority to emergency and medical services.

    We use our best judgment in order to restore power quickly and safely. This post outlines four key steps your Cooperatives use to restore power during an outage, but this post isn’t intended to cover the detailed approach your Cooperative will take under every possible outage scenario.

    To learn more about how your Cooperative restores power after an outage, contact your local Cooperative office. If you’d like to learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, in general, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • Rural Electricity Jargon Explained

    Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives are dedicated to bringing you, our Member-Owners, safe, reliable, and affordable electric power. One of our Seven Cooperative Principles is Education & Training, and we take that Principle to heart.

    Today on the blog, we’ve got several helpful rural definitions to share with you. All of these definitions are related to rural electrification, and we hope that sharing them will help you to better-understand the value your Cooperatives bring to rural Missouri communities.

    AMEC
    The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives is the statewide association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, organized and controlled by member Cooperatives throughout the state. The Cooperatives formed the state association to realize greater economy by pooling services in one central organization.

    Among the services offered to member Cooperatives AMEC are: assistance with member Cooperative annual meetings; safety and job training for Cooperative employees; legislative research; public relations services; and publication of the monthly Rural Missouri magazine.

    Area Coverage
    This concept holds that all applicants in an area served by a rural electric system would receive electric service, the investment required to extend the service notwithstanding.

    G&T
    Generation & Transmission (G&T) Cooperatives are organized by other rural Cooperatives to act as the wholesale supplier of electric energy. REA loans are made only when adequate power is not available from other sources, power costs would be less from G&T than from other sources, or the security of the Cooperative is jeopardized by unstable or unsatisfactory power sources.

    In Missouri, G&T Cooperatives have pooled their power supplies and interconnected them with several power company systems. This pooling achieves maximum efficiency and dependability of service to consumers.

    NRECA
    The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is a nonpartisan, nonprofit service organization for the mutual benefit of its members.

    The Pace Act
    Passed in 1944, the Pace Act extended the repayment period for REA loans from 25 to 35 years. It establishes REA as a permanent agency and set the interest rate on REA loans at a flat 2 percent. In return, Congress made it clear that it expected to Cooperatives to provide “area coverage” — something not achieved under the shorter loan period and flexible interest rates applying to earlier years.

    REC
    Rural Electric Cooperatives (RECs) are nonprofit suppliers organized for the purpose of bringing electric power to consumers within specified rural areas. RECs are tax paying, free enterprise organizations, and RECs are owned and controlled by the people they serve.

    The REA of 1936 made available federal loans to Cooperatives and companies in order to bring electricity to rural America. These loans must be paid back within 35 years with interest. In exchange for the loans and the favorable interest rate, the Cooperatives and companies agree to provide area coverage with electric service.

    RUS (REA)
    The Rural Electrification Administration is the banker for the rural electrification program. Created in 1935, REA makes long-term loans to both cooperatives and companies for the purpose of bringing electric power to rural areas. The relationship between REA and the rural electric cooperatives is that of a banker to borrower. REA is a government agency under the Department of Agriculture.

    *All definitions taken from the AMEC Member Journal 2015

    Learn More About Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives
    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • The National Electric Code (NEC) in Missouri

    When it comes to electrical safety, the National Electrical Code — or NEC — is the nationally recognized standard. The 1,000-page document is published every three years, and it’s up to states or local jurisdictions whether to adopt the code and how to enforce it.

    Does Missouri Adopt and Enforce the National Electrical Code?
    Generally speaking, states chose one of three options:
    1) they adopt the NEC as state law and enforce the law statewide,
    2) they only adopt and enforce the NEC at the local level, or
    3) they opt for a hybrid situation in which the state adopts the NEC for certain situations, allowing local jurisdictions to adopt (or not) the code by their own will (source).

    In Missouri, our state Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety adopts the NEC and applies it to state-owned buildings. However, our local jurisdictions chose whether or not to adopt and enforce the code. (To find out if your community has adopted the NEC, contact your local city or county officials.)

    Whether or not your local jurisdiction adopts and enforces the NEC, the code is still considered the preeminent standard and point of reference for electrical safety in the United States.

    The History of the NEC
    The NEC was first published in 1897. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed and published the code since 1911, releasing an update every three years. The code is available in electronic and print versions, and the NFPA even publishes an NEC Handbook which includes the entire code, as well as helpful illustrations (source).

    You can get free, restricted access to the NEC here if you’re willing to register with the NFPA.

    Learn More
    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

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