One of the mainstay principles of Great River Energy’s business model is “cooperation among cooperatives.” That can mean sending additional crews out to an area to help restore power more quickly for a co-op’s members or sending financial help to cooperative service territories recovering from extreme storm damage.
Great River Energy’s board recently took action in just this way by donating $25,000 to the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives (ALEC). This donation will aid in the relief effort for co-op employees and their families facing significant damage following Hurricane Ida, the strongest hurricane to hit Louisiana in 150 years.
“We have a duty to help other electric cooperatives in times of crisis,” said Bob Bruckbauer, Great River Energy board chair. “There may come a time when our region is in need of assistance from others, and we know our fellow cooperatives across the country would step up in our time of need.”
ALEC reported at least 100 families of co-op employees from Dixie Electric Membership Corp. (DEMCO) and South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association (SLECA) faced damage and destruction in their own homes while they worked long hours to restore power in their communities.
SLECA’s headquarters suffered such major wind and water damage during Ida it needed to establish a tent city for many of its 1,100 lineworkers, vegetation management crews and support personnel as they helped rebuild the cooperative’s heavily damaged distribution system.
Local cooperatives that were less hard hit helped by sending personnel out to projects in SLECA and DEMCO’s service territories while ALEC coordinated mutual aid from out-of-state electric cooperatives.
Great River Energy also donated $5,000 of its emergency relief funds to the American Red Cross in light of the 900,000 people who were left without power due to Ida. These funds went toward shelter stays, meals, relief supplies and other assistance for those experiencing hardships.