Dedication during the storm
Cobie Harber has been with PEC for almost 25 years, and in 2017 she became the first female lead SCADA operator for the cooperative. SCADA operators are responsible for monitoring and controlling the PEC electric grid, processing outage reports, and dispatching lineworker crews to restore power where needed.
It’s a job that must be staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year. During normal conditions, operators work 12-hour shifts and take turns working nights and weekends.
During last February’s winter storm, not all SCADA operators were able to go home at the end of their shifts due to extreme weather and treacherous road conditions. Working long hours away from family was difficult on everyone — but their commitment to the membership kept them motivated. “The membership is our community. We live here too, this is our home,” Harber said. “I want members to know, the hardship they went through was not taken lightly. It’s hard to explain how difficult that was for all of us.” Harber said.
“We constantly monitor the weather and prepare and staff accordingly,” Harber said. These kinds of preparations are made year round, not just during the winter months. “We give it our all to keep the lights on every day of the year.”
The following are just a few of the ways PEC has prepared for winter weather in 2022. See more at pec.coop/pec-prep.
Our updated outage map allows members to report outages and search in real time for their address to see if their outage is registered. They can also find its status and the estimated time of restoration, if one is available. Members may report and track outages at pec.coop/outages.
PEC now offers a one-way text alert service. We can message members during an emergency. Log in to SmartHub at pec.smarthub.coop or call 888-554-4732 to verify your mobile phone number to ensure you receive these communications.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
UAVs allow us to quickly identify the cause and location of outages, so crews can focus their time on repairs. PEC has strengthened the program by adding more UAVs to our fleet and providing comprehensive training to our lineworkers.
The majority of system outages during storms are due to falling trees and limbs. New software has made the identification of areas in need of maintenance much more efficient.