May 2024

Dustin Tripp

As mentioned in previous articles, your electric cooperative operates and maintains a comprehensive distribution system that consists of a network of 35 transmission to distribution substations, over 3,400 miles of distribution line that stretches across all or parts of 10 counties in southeastern Illinois to bring electricity to over 24,000 accounts in the rural areas.  To put the size of your Cooperative’s distribution system into perspective, if you would stretch our distribution system across the United States, it would start in Los Angeles, CA and stretch all the way to Portland, Maine and still have 300 miles left over. 

As you can imagine, your Cooperative makes significant investments in the distribution system every year to replace aging infrastructure and performs a variety of maintenance activities to ensure that members receive a reliable electric supply.

Unfortunately, events including storms, lightning and accidents do not allow your Cooperative to guarantee an uninterrupted electric service. Occurrences beyond your Cooperative’s control can damage the distribution system and disrupt the flow of electricity.  Anyone who requires the use of medical equipment that utilizes electricity should have an alternate source of electric power and communication on hand, such as a backup generators, extra batteries, flashlights, nonelectric telephones and cell phones, to provide for your life support and comfort in the event of an extended outage.

Do you have medical equipment that utilizes electricity in use at your home? If so, your Cooperative would like to know.  Your Cooperative has included the Medical Necessity Account Application form in this center section and on the website at that must be completed by the member, the physician and returned to your Cooperative in order to designate your account.  Medical necessity accounts will be identified in Cooperative records and at the meter, where a special seal will be installed to highlight the account’s status.  Your Cooperative will attempt to give those members advance notice of any planned outages and priority in the restoration of electric service whenever reasonably possible.

Please note that being designated as a medical necessity account does not guarantee that your electric service will not be interrupted.  That’s why members who depend on electrical equipment for a medical necessity should always have alternate plans in place in case the power goes out for an extended amount of time.

During an area-wide crisis, depending on weather conditions or the extent of damage to the electric system, accurate restoration times may be difficult to predict. Your Cooperative will do our best to provide you with all available information to help you make decisions. Everyone, but especially those dependent on medical equipment, should plan ahead for such situations. Your Cooperative remains committed to finding new and better ways to serve its members. Your Cooperative will continue to work diligently to improve and enhance the level of service and reliability that you receive.

See you next month and as always, “We’ll keep the lights on for you.”