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Thanks for a job well done!
Lineman Appreciation Day, April 13, 2015
Monday, April 13, will be a special day for the employees of Ozark Electric Cooperative who work so hard to keep your power flowing. That day has been designated “Lineman Appreciation Day” by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. In fact, we are honoring our linemen throughout the entire month of April. We would like to tell you about our linemen.

It takes a special breed of person to be a lineman. They must be willing to work high off the ground. Sometimes they are held there by only two steel spikes embedded in a pole. Other times they work from a bucket that seldom sits still.

They need nerves of steel to work inches away from high voltage power lines. They must wear special equipment and follow a rigid safety routine to keep from being hurt out there. It’s really a very dangerous job, but they will tell you it’s also rewarding.

They must be ready and willing to work long hours in the worst possible conditions: rain, sleet, ice, extreme cold and intense heat. They are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to spring into action when even one member is without power.

They brave chiggers, ticks, snakes, wasps and other critters that don’t always appreciate their efforts. They work in mud and dust. Their reward is often creosote-covered splinters, sore backs and sunburns.

They must be troubleshooters, electricians, pathfinders, mechanics, acrobats, and at times, diplomats when anxious members question them out in the field.

We wish you all could experience just once what linemen do day after day. It is hard work, and not many of us would want to do it. Yet, without exception, our crews love what they do. They know that their work keeps the power flowing. They take these storms that cause outages personally. It’s a challenge to them to restore power, because they know that someone’s life could depend on electricity.

We do believe linemen are at their best when the chips are down and some natural disaster has sent the rest of us running for shelter. That’s when they will load up the trucks and head into the fray like knights in shining armor.

That’s why the nation’s electric cooperatives have set aside this day to pay tribute to these courageous individuals. Please join us in praising these “high-wire heroes” for all they do. Follow and “like” our Facebook posts throughout the month to show your appreciation. Or send a note or just say hello and thank them in person when you see them in your area. Setting aside a day in their honor is the least we can do to say thanks for a job well done.

We’ll go out on a limb for you!
Right-of-Way program important to system reliability and your safety.
Spring heralds some annual traditions for most of us - like a drive with family to enjoy the budding spring foliage when the dogwoods and redbuds are in bloom or even planting new trees in our own yards. But there can be a drawback to this natural beauty - trees growing in and near utility lines can cause power interruptions. While we all enjoy the beauty trees add to our region, we think you would agree that we also want the comfort of knowing power will be available when it is needed. That’s where our right-of-way maintenance comes in.

Where we’re working. Ozark Electric Cooperative’s right-of-way maintenance work plan for 2015 includes a total of 800 miles of spraying. Independent contractors will be applying herbicides to the rights-of-way along the power lines that feed out of the following substations: Ash Grove, Bowers Mill, and Elsey. Also, in the next three years, we will be cutting 1,200 miles of right of way. If you see the crews working in your area, we ask you to remember that the important work they are doing is what keeps a safe, reliable, and affordable supply of power flowing to your home or business year round.

Reliable power. At Ozark Electric Cooperative, we’re committed to providing you with reliable, safe power. There are some power interruptions we can’t stop - high winds, ice storms, vehicles colliding with utility poles, and even squirrels and birds getting into our lines - but we do what we can to prevent other outage culprits. Weather-related events cause the majority of power outages - 19 percent according to a survey by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. But vegetation (trees, shrubs, brush) growing too close to power lines and distribution equipment leads to 15 percent of power interruptions.

Safe power. Reliability is not the only thing we are concerned with here at Ozark Electric. Safety is a HUGE issue! Do you have children or grandchildren that like to climb trees? If so, power lines growing in trees can be deadly to those loved ones if they come into contact with them or step on a tree branch that makes contact with a nearby power line.

Cutting back. Therefore, to “cut back” on potential tree-related power reliability and safety concerns, Ozark Electric Cooperative operates an aggressive right-of-way maintenance program. It’s a job that’s never done — by the time crews finish cutting and spraying along Ozark Electric’s more than 4,000 miles of distribution lines, vegetation has already started to grow back at the starting point. Therefore, an ongoing right-of-way maintenance work plan rotation is used.

We need your cooperation. Existing trees that grow into power line rights-of-way will eventually have to be trimmed, cut away, or sprayed in order to avoid power blinks, outages, and safety issues. Therefore, we ask you to please be proactive. Before planting trees and bushes in your yard, think about how tall they may grow and how wide their branches may spread. Ozark Electric Cooperative requires a clearance zone beneath and 15 FEET on each side of a power line. Choose tree varieties with care and plant with power lines in mind. Carefully selected and placed trees using the Tree Planting Guide (see “Safety Sense” link below then click on “Right of Way”) create a beautiful landscape, provide shade in the warm months thereby reducing your electric bills, and decrease the need for right-of-way maintenance which can be very costly to your Cooperative and ultimately to you.

Call 811. And don’t forget power lines are not just overhead. Be sure to call 811 or 1-800-DIG-RITE to locate underground utility lines FREE of charge before you start digging. Underground utility lines can be very dangerous to you if you hit one when digging or costly if you damage one and have to replace it.

Call us. To report vegetation you see growing into our power lines or if you have any questions about what type of trees to plant this Spring and where to place them, give our right-of-way department a call at 417-466-2268. We will go out on a limb for you!