Duncan’s Digest Keep It Clear – We Work Here
At SECO Energy we take pride in our expertly designed and well-maintained electric system that provides reliable power to almost 210,000 homes and businesses in our service territory. As the fastest-growing electric cooperative in the state (by meter count), SECO invests upwards of $50 million annually to construct new facilities to meet the growing demand for power and to upgrade aging infrastructure. We regularly inspect and stringently maintain our facilities. Within our 2,100-square mile territory, crews inspect substations, overhead and underground lines, poles, transformers, cabinets and more. We spend about $20 million annually trimming or removing thousands of trees that encroach on lines and threaten reliability.
SECO personnel routinely audit and perform work on equipment such as transformers and meters on members’ property. Field employees often find it challenging to safely access padmount transformers and underground facilities because shrubs or fencing have been placed in close proximity to the front and sides of the equipment despite the large warning labels. In maintenance and outage situations, the obstacles cause the work to take longer than necessary and most important, pose safety risks to our employees.
A few members also restrict SECO’s access to the meter with locked gates, fences, animals, overgrown landscaping, added rooms or porches and other obstructions. This results in unsafe conditions for employees and contractors and can cause readings to be estimated rather than actual – resulting in an inaccurate electric bill.
Per our Terms & Conditions, these obstructions are simply unacceptable and our cooperative is taking a firm stand on such violations. To raise awareness and draw attention to the safety issue, we have developed a communications campaign called Keep It Clear – We Work Here. The campaign renews SECO Energy’s commitment to employee safety in the field. As a SECO member, you are responsible for adhering to our Terms and Conditions of Service that include providing SECO personnel with safe, unimpeded access to our equipment located on your property.
Keep fences, shrubs and lawn ornaments at least ten feet away from the front of the transformer and three feet away from the back and the sides. Open gates, clear obstructions and relocate animals that restrict SECO’s access to metering equipment. Trim landscaping that blocks the meter face. If SECO is unable to obtain a clear view of the meter and record an accurate meter reading, the member may receive an estimated (and inaccurate) bill for that reading cycle.
In the spirit of customer service, we have practiced diplomacy and patience with members who have refused to comply with our safe clearance requirements. The Keep It Clear campaign changes our approach. Unimpeded, safe access to SECO’s transformers and metering equipment is a necessity.
As SECO personnel conduct equipment audits across our service territory, members with equipment obstructions on their property will be asked to clear the obstructions or trim the landscaping that impedes safe access. Our Keep It Clear campaign provides affected members with letters, door hangers, emails and other notifications advising members of the need for obstruction removal. If those notices are ignored, disconnection of service is a last resort but a step that will be taken in extreme cases.
The vast majority of our members follow the clearance rules and respect the reasoning. I thank you kindly. If you are planning a landscape project please be sure you maintain that compliance. If you buy a house in our area or if the service is in your name as the renter, you bear responsibility for access to the electric equipment on the property. I’m asking you to keep our employees safe by ensuring access to SECO’s equipment.
Greg Lovett – T&D Line Supervisor
Length of Service: 14 Years
“WE SAFELY RESTORE POWER.” Greg Lovett is a 14-year SECO Energy employee who is a T&D Line Supervisor working in Citrus, Hernando and Sumter Counties. Greg and his team help construct and maintain SECO’s $900 million electric infrastructure that delivers reliable power to members. A lifelong Sumter County resident, Greg and his family enjoy fishing and water sports. His family has come to expect the late-night phone calls to restore power outages. His family understandably worries about him, but Greg is confident in the expanded safety measures that SECO has adopted that protect him and his crew. When unexpected outages occur, Greg is often called to supervise responding crews. Safe restoration is always given the highest priority. During restoration, crews inspect and confirm that all equipment is safe and that lines are clear and in good working condition before re-energizing services.
Atlantic hurricane season’s busiest month is September, but the season remains active until November 30. Don’t let the cooling temperatures and fall decorations fool you – the threat of hurricanes and tropical storms remains active.
Visit StormCenter to familiarize yourself with its features. On the StormCenter outage map, you can view current outages in SECO’s service area, search for and bookmark your address on the map and view the current weather radar.
To enroll in outage notifications, click on “Manage Notifications” to add an email address or phone number. You can choose to receive outage notifications via email, text, voice or all three. Set times that you would not wish to be disturbed for each communication type chosen.
Check the status of an existing outage and a seven-day outage history using the “Check Status” tile. Choose “Report Outage” to report a current power outage. Locate your service location using the account holder’s last name and house number, or search by phone number or account number.
Use LightFinder to report an area light that is off or a light that shines all day. Search for either the pole number or address. Each light is represented by a light bulb icon. Green indicates the light is working. A red icon is a light that has been reported as malfunctioning. If the icon is orange it has been repaired in the last 24 hours. Inactive lights are represented by a gray icon. A blue icon is a member-owned light.
Have a question? “Contact Us” allows you to complete a web form in just a few clicks.
Overhead power lines and poles are easy to see, but you can be injured or killed by digging into an underground electric line. Before putting a shovel in the ground, the law requires you to dial 811 to request all underground utilities be properly marked so you don’t dig into a buried utility line.
Know what’s below – call 811 before you dig to avoid making contact with an energized underground line risking injury or an outage. In Florida, call 811 or visit www.sunshine811.com to arrange free location of underground utility lines. In Florida – it’s the law.
In July SECO News, we encouraged members to learn more about energy efficiency with SECO Energy’s online energy audit tool theHome Energy Assessment. Members who completed the Home Energy Assessment and provided an email address to receive energy-efficiency tips tailored to their home were entered into a drawing to win one of three high-tech programmable thermostats.
Congratulations to Evelyn Graddy from Eustis who is the winner of the Nest Wi-Fi thermostat; the Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostat was won by James Trimble from The Villages; and Frances Sciotto from Ocala is the winner of the Ecobee Wi-Fi thermostat.
In the August edition of SECO News, CEO Jim Duncan asked if SECO has your correct phone number or email address. Members who updated or verified their personal contact information by email, online or phone were entered in a drawing for a $300 SECO bill credit.
Jill Chandler from Paisley is the winner of the $300 SECO bill credit. Thank you to all who participated and watch for upcoming chances to win.
Read the full October SECO News online.