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College Scholarship Applications Open Through Feb. 28

Peace River Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up Board of Directors has set aside $108,000 in scholarship funds for prospective and currently enrolled students of all ages at accredited colleges, trade, technical or vocational schools.

PRECO members and their dependent children—including legal guardianship—may apply. The applicant’s permanent legal address must be served by PRECO.

Online applications must be completed by February 28. High school or college transcripts must be received by PRECO via mail no later than March 7. Transcript requests take time to process, so contact your institution immediately. Your transcript can arrive before you have completed the online application.

Some restrictions apply. See the scholarship application for details.

Submit an application.

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Clearing a Path to Reliability

There are many ways that Peace River Electric Cooperative provides you with safe, reliable electric service. One of the most common—and crucial—programs is referred to as right-of-way clearing.

A right-of-way (ROW) is a strip of land underneath or around power lines that is your electric cooperative’s right and responsibility to maintain and clear. Trees must maintain a safe distance from conductors to minimize the possibility of harming people or disrupting electrical service. Specifications vary, but a general guideline for maintaining a safe ROW is 10 feet of clearance on either side of the primary conductors and all limbs removed above the highest wire on the pole. PRECO’s mission is to reclaim our ROW using a ground-to-sky method.

Maintaining a clean ROW is critical to keeping trees away from power lines and keeping your lights on. So far this year, trees, shrubs or bushes growing too close to power lines are responsible for 18% of PRECO power outages. Our goal is to reduce that percentage to maintain better reliability.

ROW clearing also helps keep your family safe by removing tree branches that may become energized due to close contact with a power line. PRECO’s lines can carry up to 14,400 volts, meaning an energized tree branch is incredibly dangerous—possibly deadly. Be mindful when around trees close to power lines and warn your children that climbing trees near power lines is extremely unsafe.

PRECO’s clearance contractor, Georgia Right of Way, removes branches and brush away from power lines across our entire system. This group uses skilled personnel to safely prune or remove trees using chainsaws, bucket trucks, woodchippers and more to keep lines free from hazards.

Our contractor, in compliance with national standards, prunes or removes trees that threaten your electric service. Providing proper clearance for repair crews and trucks helps them restore power faster during an outage.

Our commitment to safety is why we discourage our members and untrained contractors from pruning trees near power lines. If you are planning to remove or trim a tree near PRECO lines or if you spot a tree that may endanger the lines, please report it by calling us at 800-282-3824.

To learn more about our tree maintenance program and to receive information about how to keep the ROW around your home clear, visit our website at PRECO.coop.

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Youth Tour: Free Trip to Washington DC for 11th Graders

YOUTH TOUR: JUNE 13-18, 2023

Peace River Electric Cooperative is offering the trip of a lifetime to two ambitious students. If you are currently an 11th-grade student and your parents are members of PRECO, you are invited to apply for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Tour.

What is Youth Tour?

Youth Tour is an annual six-day trip to Washington, D.C. by thousands of students from electric cooperatives across the country. As PRECO’s delegate, you’ll tour monuments and historic sites in our nation’s capital, meet U.S. Congressional Representatives and make new lifetime friends. Plus, you’ll learn how electric co-ops help your community thrive and grow.

If selected, you’ll travel with approximately 30 – 40 other students and chaperones from Florida electric cooperatives as you see the best of D.C. And, best of all: it’s all expenses paid courtesy of your cooperative.

To learn more about Youth Tour or to submit an online application, visit PRECO.coop/Youth-Tour. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2023. Questions? Email Communications@preco.coop.

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National Co-op Month: Celebrating Membership

Fall is a busy time, and October is a particularly eventful month with school, community, and sports activities in full swing. It’s also when all cooperatives celebrate National Co-op Month.

When I say Peace River Electric Cooperative celebrates Co-op Month, it really means we are celebrating you! After all, our co-op wouldn’t exist without you, our members.

Our core business is to serve as your electricity provider. But our larger mission is to help make our corner of the world a better place. “Concern for community” is one of seven guiding principles that all co-ops share.

Similar to how the power lines run through our service territory, our concern for the community flows through all of our decisions. That’s because being a co-op means being a responsible partner and good neighbor.

PRECO works to help our community thrive through initiatives led by our employees and local board, who live right here in our community. Because we’re local, we understand our community’s unique needs and strive to help meet them.

We’re proud to support local youth through our Youth Tour and scholarship programs. With your help, we offer Operation Round Up to aid our community’s most vulnerable. We also partner with and support many area schools and sports programs.

The word “cooperative” implies everyone working together towards a common goal—mutually benefitting one another and the larger community. That’s the cooperative spirit. Our employees and member-elected board members are invested in the community where they live and serve.

Above all, as a co-op, we put our members’ priorities first. As your trusted energy partner, we know that saving energy and money is important to you. That’s why we have programs to help, including free home energy audits and our PrePaid Power program.

Through our SmartHub app, you can conveniently monitor and manage your energy use. And, of course, you can also give us a call if you have questions about your energy bills.

PRECO’s mission is to provide you with reliable electric service and excellent customer care at affordable rates. After all, we’re your local co-op, built by the members we serve.

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PRECO Making Significant Progress with Power Restoration

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Wauchula, Fla. – Today, an army of power restoration workers continued their assault on the heavily damaged electric system of Peace River Electric Cooperative (PRECO). Significant progress was made in replacing broken poles, cutting trees from power lines and replacing fallen electrical lines.

Power has been completely restored to every home that is able to receive power in Brevard, Highlands, Indian River and Osceola counties.

PRECO hopes to finish power restoration in Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk and portions of Hardee county within the next day or so.

Since power crews must navigate through or around flooded rivers and washed-out roads, residents in the hardest hit areas of Sarasota, southern Hardee and northern DeSoto counties should expect the restoration process to take longer.

Homes with extensive damage may need to be repaired before PRECO can safely restore electric service.

For updates, find us on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.PRECO.coop.

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Peace River Electric Cooperative (PRECO), a Touchstone Energy® distribution electric cooperative headquartered in Wauchula, Florida, provides electric service and energy solutions to more than 57,000 member/consumers in 10 central Florida counties: Brevard, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Osceola, Polk and Sarasota. Through over 4,000 miles of power lines, the electric cooperative has been in business since 1940 as a member-owned, not-for-profit organization.

 

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Crews from eight states converge to help PRECO restoration effort

Friday, September 30, 2022 

Wauchula, Fla. – Almost 600 workers from 34 electric cooperatives or contractors across eight states are joining the monumental PRECO restoration effort following Hurricane Ian. The workers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas are providing a major boost to the co-op’s own workforce.

“Cooperation among cooperatives is a core co-op principle. And in tough times like these, that principle of cooperation takes on new meaning,” said PRECO CEO Randy Shaw. “As we work together to restore power in challenging conditions, the strength and boost from these co-op workers is instrumental as we work together to overcome the unimaginable.

The power restoration process in the wake of Hurricane Ian is a marathon, not a sprint. We’re working to get the lights back on as quickly and safely as possible in unprecedented conditions.”

Over 100 workers arrived at PRECO before the storm. They started work as soon as Hurricane Ian’s winds no longer posed a safety threat. Over 300 workers arrived on site Friday. By Saturday, almost 600 workers and contractors will be out repairing Ian’s damage. Shaw said that this massive effort is necessary to restore power in as short a time as possible.

“Out-of-state work crews are the lifeblood of storm restoration efforts following a major hurricane like Ian,” said Shaw. “The crews and equipment will remain here for as long as necessary to complete this enormous restoration project.

That said, consumers in the hardest hit areas should expect the restoration process to last days. As we work together to rebuild our community, we continue to ask for patience and understanding from consumers.”

PRECO is following standard utility practice as it repairs and energizes its lines. Feeder and primary lines are repaired first, then secondary and service lines next. This method restores power to the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

Ian’s destructive winds blew utility poles to the ground and knocked hundreds of trees onto power lines.   The historic flooding washed out roads and bridges, cutting off access to many areas. Almost 90 percent of PRECO’s consumers were left without power.

For updates, find us on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.preco.coop.

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Peace River Electric Cooperative (PRECO), a Touchstone Energy® distribution electric cooperative headquartered in Wauchula, Florida, provides electric service and energy solutions to more than 57,000 member/consumers in 10 central Florida counties: Brevard, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Osceola, Polk and Sarasota. Through over 4,000 miles of power lines, the electric cooperative has been in business since 1940 as a member-owned, not-for-profit organization.

 

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PRECO Hurricane Ian Restoration Update: Day 1

Thursday, September 29, 2022 

Wauchula, Fla. – Hurricane Ian left almost 90 percent, or approximately 51,000, Peace River Electric Cooperative consumers without power. As of 8:00 p.m., power has been restored to approximately 30,000 homes and businesses. At this time, a significant amount of our service area is inaccessible due to road washouts, missing bridges and historic flooding.

Over 100 lineworkers from Arkansas and Oklahoma are working alongside PRECO’s crews. Another 300 workers are arriving tomorrow to assist in restoration efforts from electric co-ops based in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

By Saturday, more than 500 workers and contractors will unite to repair the damage caused by this historic storm.

“This massive effort is necessary to restore power in as short a time as possible,” says PRECO CEO Randy Shaw. “These crews will continue working until service is restored to all who can accept power.”

During the storm, our outage map server was taken offline for its protection. Therefore, map files are still being updated and the outage map may not reflect accurate totals.

“We are hoping to make tremendous progress over the next few days. However, power restoration is a very fluid and complicated process, so we cannot advise our members when we expect their service to be restored.”

PRECO phone lines will open at 8:00 a.m. on Friday. Offices will remain closed while we focus our efforts on power restoration.

For your safety, avoid all downed power lines. PRECO thanks everyone for their patience and understanding in this crisis.

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PRECO Shares Damage Assessment Information

Thursday, September 29, 2022 

Wauchula, Fla. – Hurricane Ian left a path of destruction across Peace River Electric Cooperative’s territory, dragging electric outages in its wake. Damage assessments began this morning and are ongoing. Initial reports indicate that massive damage has occurred to our electric distribution system. Restoration crews are mobilizing to make repairs.

Areas with the most damage are littered with broken poles, downed lines and massive amounts of debris. Many roads are impassable due to fallen trees and rising flood waters.

“This is going to be a long, tough road to recovery for our co-op and the community,” explains CEO Randy Shaw. “Due to the extreme damage to our system, we encourage consumer-members to prepare for outages lasting multiple days.”

Hundreds of lineworkers from electric cooperatives in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Georgia will assist with our restoration efforts.

“Please do not approach line crews as they work,” adds Shaw. “Any distraction could prove dangerous to them and you.”

Many poles and power lines will be on the ground until repairs are complete. PRECO reminds everyone to stay away from downed power lines. Downed lines may be energized and can cause extreme injury or death.

PRECO will follow the steps below in restoring power:

Step 1: Transmission Lines. These supply power to one or more substations.
Step 2: Substations. A substation serves thousands of homes and businesses.
Step 3: Main Distribution Lines. Each line serves a portion of members from each substation.
Step 4: Tap Lines. These serve smaller groups of members from the main distribution lines.
Step 5: Individual Services. These lines serve individual homes and buildings.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we strive to restore power to our community. For updates, find us on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.PRECO.coop.

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Peace River Electric Cooperative Takes a Direct Hit from Ian

Peace River Electric Cooperative (PRECO) took a direct hit from Hurricane Ian late Wednesday, resulting in extensive damage to the electric system and leaving thousands of the co-op’s consumer-members without power.

As of Thursday morning, 88% of PRECO consumers are without power due to fallen wires, damaged poles, and severe flooding.

“Much of what took us 82 years to build took Ian less than 24 hours to destroy,” said Van Crawford, PRECO v.p. of operations. “With catastrophic winds and significant flooding, Hurricane Ian is one of the worst storms to hit this area of Florida. The recovery and rebuilding effort will be a lengthy and complicated process.

“PRECO is currently conducting damage assessments, a key first step to developing a roadmap to get the lights back on as quickly as possible. I thank our consumer-members for their notes of support and ask for their continued prayers and patience in the coming days.”

The damage assessment process allows PRECO to strategically target power restoration efforts. Restoration crews are mobilizing now. Once preliminary damage assessments are completed and it is safe to dispatch work crews, PRECO will work tirelessly to restore power as quickly as possible.

More than 500 out-of-state lineworkers and contractors will join PRECO’s power restoration effort. Additional workers will be called in if necessary.

PRECO urges consumer-members to stay safe in the wake of the storm, as conditions remain hazardous in many areas. Consumers are encouraged to follow the following safety tips:

  • Stay away from downed wires. Always assume they are energized.
  • Avoid flooded areas. Long-term flooding along rivers and streams can persist for days following a storm. When approaching water on a roadway, remember: Don’t Drown. Turn Around.
  • Avoid crews working in the street. This will keep you and the crews safe and allow them to work on restoring your power.
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use only when necessary.
  • To avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, place portable generators outside in a well-ventilated area, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors and windows. Never run a generator inside, not even in your garage. Do not connect the generator directly into your home’s main fuse box, wiring or circuit panel.
  • Protect food and refrigerated medicine with ice in an insulated cooler. Foods will stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer if the door remains closed, and a half-full freezer will generally keep frozen foods for up to 24 hours. Check foodsafety.gov to learn more about when to throw out or keep food after a power outage.
  • Tune in to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.

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Peace River Electric Cooperative Closely Monitoring Hurricane Ian

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 

Wauchula, Fla. – Peace River Electric Cooperative is closely monitoring Hurricane Ian. As the storm threatens to intensify before making landfall, PRECO is finishing up storm preparations and staging crews and equipment.

Ian is expected to crawl across PRECO’s service territory throughout Wednesday and most of Thursday. Beginning tonight, we may experience tropical storm-force winds for up to 48 hours.

A storm of this magnitude is expected to cause extensive damage, so your power may be out for multiple days,” says PRECO CEO Randy Shaw. “Please prepare accordingly.”

After Ian has passed, PRECO will begin making damage assessments and power restorations as soon as it is safe to do so.

“Power restoration crews from Arkansas electric cooperatives are already arriving at PRECO’s Wauchula-based Operations Center,” adds Shaw. “By riding out the storm here, they can assist PRECO crews to restore power more quickly.”

PRECO has a proven emergency response plan designed to guide storm preparation and restoration efforts. The cooperative’s employees are trained to prepare for and respond to hurricane events.

For updates after the storm, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.PRECO.coop.