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a publication centered on life in Mississippi.
Today is December 18, 2018

Editorial

Mississippi’s electric co-op crews stood ready to aid hurricane victims

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

Hurricane Florence was still hundreds of miles from the North Carolina coast when Mississippi’s electric cooperatives began preparations to help in the recovery from the massive power outages the storm was expected to inflict.

Not only did the hurricane bring down power lines in coastal North and South Carolina, but long-term heavy flooding made access difficult if not impossible for utility crews trying to rebuild the lines. Crews were forced to wait until the winds and floodwaters subsided due to safety concerns, and they faced additional dangers from falling trees and windblown debris.

Mississippi’s electric cooperatives marshalled a hurricane emergency force of 275 co-op line workers, who stood ready to help our friends in the Carolinas. But as it turned out, their own electric cooperative crews were able to handle power restoration that was impeded by flooding, so nearly all our cooperative crews returned or stayed home.

It’s important to note that electric cooperatives in North Carolina and South Carolina (and 19 other states) rushed to our aid after Hurricane Katrina ripped through Mississippi in 2005. Their emergency crews and equipment hastened our progress in rebuilding thousands of miles of power lines without sacrificing safety.

These out-of-state assisting crews proved invaluable in the fast, efficient and safe recovery from one of the largest power outage emergencies ever faced by Mississippi’s electric cooperatives.

We will never forget the help these electric cooperative crews gave us. And when disaster strikes any member of the nation’s electric cooperative network, we stand ready to help—just in case they need us.
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If you or someone you know is looking for a meaningful, rewarding career in Mississippi, consider working at an electric cooperative. Careers in Energy Week is Oct. 15-19, an observance that raises awareness for career opportunities in the state. Energy utilities, construction companies and manufacturers all need skilled workers to fill jobs as electric linemen, welders, plant operators, electronic technicians, machinery technicians and other middle-skill jobs. Find out more about job opportunities and training schools at GetOnTheGrid.com.

Mississippi’s electric cooperatives strongly support the development of a homegrown workforce, including lineman training programs at community colleges. Many of our new hires for line crews come directly from this 16-week program, which equips them with the basic knowledge they need to kickstart their co-op career.

I might be biased, but in my opinion, Mississippi electric cooperatives are fine places to work. They offer competitive salaries and benefits, and a stable work environment. Many employees stay at the electric cooperative throughout their career.

We offer a wide range of job opportunities, so you don’t have to be a lineman to work at an electric cooperative. A typical electric cooperative staff includes people employed in accounting and finance, member services, billing, information technology, warehouse operations, staking and engineering, safety and communications.
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October is National Co-op Month, a time to consider the value of consumer- and producer-owned cooperatives of all kinds in this county. Why is your electric utility a consumer-owned cooperative? Because local people created it to obtain electric service when no other utility would serve them. Electric cooperatives are all about service. We are responsive to your needs because we are owned by the people we serve.

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