President’s Message – June 2023

Preparing to Serve You Better

Jimmy Black headshotProviding reliable power to you is and will always be the top priority for Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative. These days, power reliability seems to be making news now more than ever.

As the energy industry continues to transition and more seg- ments of the economy are becoming electrified—such as vehicles, machinery and even lawn equipment—additional pressures are being placed on our nation’s electric grid.

With summer storm season upon us, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about a few measures we’re taking to ensure you con- tinue receiving the reliable power you depend on and deserve.

Modernizing Vegetation Management

Let me be the first to say I love trees and the charm they add to our communities, and I know you do too. While trees provide shade and add beauty to our area, you may be surprised to learn that overgrown vegetation can cause power outages.

We strive to keep the co-op’s power lines clear in right-of-way areas—the land a co-op uses to build, maintain, replace or repair underground and overhead power lines. This ROW enables Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative to provide clearance from trees and other obstructions that could hinder distribution power lines. The overall goal of our vegetation management strategy is to provide reliable power to our members while maintaining the beauty of our area.

Generally, healthy trees don’t fall on power lines, and clear lines don’t cause prob- lems. Proactive trimming and pruning keep lines clear and improve power reliability. Vegetation management entails on-the-ground, labor-intensive efforts involving dozens of workers assessing vegetation and overseeing the quality and completion of contractor work.

Planned Outages Improve Reliability

Although it may seem counterintuitive, we also maintain power reliability through occasional planned, controlled outages. By carefully cutting power to one area for a few hours, Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative can perform system repairs and upgrades, ultimately improving electric service. Planned outages can also balance energy demand, but only in rare circumstances. Rest assured, we will always notify you before a planned outage, so make sure we have your correct contact information on file to receive the latest notifications.

Vegetation management is an essential tool in ensuring power reliability and minimizing the risk of outages. As advancements become more accessible, we anticipate using additional technologies to ensure a consistent energy supply while managing the environment.

Lastly, I encourage you to follow Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative on social media to learn about the latest co-op updates.