Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives send mutual aid assistance crews to assist Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida
ECE Co-op Linemen Tyler London, Gary Baker, Stacy Bourne, Lael LeBlanc, Trevor Cheatwood and Jody Gilroy prepare to leave for Louisiana.
Help is on the way for 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 miles per hour, only a few miles shy from 157 m.p.h., 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, five distribution electric
cooperatives in Oklahoma are en route to Louisiana where they will assist with restoration
efforts in the coming weeks.
Oklahoma co-ops are working under the coordination of the Association of Louisiana Electric
Cooperatives and have been 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 112,000 members; its service area is comprised of 8,887 miles of line. As of
Tuesday morning, DEMCO reports 78,058 outages, nearly 69% of its membership remain
Given the extended nature of the restoration period, line crews are likely to rotate in upcoming
weeks, according to Derec Janaway, safety and loss control director for the Oklahoma
Association of Electric Cooperatives.
Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives will join the mutual aid effort alongside crews from 32 states
and the District of Columbia, according to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). 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 number one 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 are sending crews on Tuesday, August, 31, 2021:
• East Central Electric Cooperative, based in Okmulgee – 6 crew members
• Kay Electric Cooperative, based in Blackwell – 6 crew members
• Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, based in Vinita – 8 members
• Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, based in Norman – 7 crew members
• Southeastern Electric Cooperative, based in Durant – 4 members
“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.”