Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative has dispatched a four-man crew to western Oregon to assist in restoration efforts for communities left without power after severe winter weather swept through the area. Fellow electric cooperative Consumers Power, Inc. – based in Philomath – sent out a call for assistance on Saturday, February 13 after ice and snowstorms caused significant damage to its infrastructure throughout its service territory, which extends from the coast to the Cascades.
OTEC answered the call for help as part of a mutual aid agreement through the Oregon Cooperative Network. OTEC had previously sent a crew to assist CPI during the destructive and deadly Labor Day fires in 2020.
“The cooperative spirit is alive and well,” says Mike Pommarane, OTEC’s Director of Operations. “We take great pride in our electric cooperative family and are always willing to be able to help fellow members in need.”
The top priority of each local Oregon cooperative, including OTEC, is service to its own member-owners and the safety of the communities they serve. Before committing resources to mutual aid requests, each co-op ensures it has ample crews available for all local needs, including routine maintenance and the cooperative’s own outage mitigation. Since OTEC currently has available resources and manpower, the decision was made to send a crew into the storm to help.
“This shows the power of the cooperative network and exemplifies the cooperative principal of “Cooperation Among Cooperatives.” said Pommarane, “OTEC member-owners can rest assured that if we found ourselves in a similar emergency situation, co-ops from across Oregon would be at our doorstep in a moments notice to help us.”