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Electric utility work to affect portions of North Fort Myers preserve trail

Electric utility work to affect portions of North Fort Myers preserve trail

Released by Lee County Parks & Recreation

Fort Myers, FL, May 30, 2013 — Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) will be conducting work on an easement through Prairie Pines Preserve in North Fort Myers that may restrict access to portions of the 18-mile trail system from now through this summer.

Equestrians, hikers and bird watchers should check www.Conservation2020.org or the Conservation 20/20 Facebook site before visiting the 2,654-acre preserve, which is managed by Lee County Parks & Recreation. Due to the nature of LCEC’s work, the access point from the parking area to the preserves’ larger trail system may open and close intermittently.

Power lines will be installed adjacent to an existing easement – an old railroad bed – that runs north-south through the preserve. The infrastructure will include concrete pads and poles and conductor for the transmission lines. Some trees and shrubs will be removed. However, project designers were able to utilize the existing driving access areas and locations void of vegetation that was provided by the old railroad line. Impact to the cleared area and wetland will be greatly reduced. 

“Currently tree chipping equipment and other heavy equipment is present – and that may decrease the peaceful nature experience for equestrians with horses more used to tranquil rides,” said Laura Greeno, a Conservation 20/20 land stewardship coordinator. Those using the preserve should maintain safe distances when machinery is in use.

The project is timed to coincide with the wet season, which typically leads to lower use of the preserve. Project work is not expected to occur on weekends, when more park patrons are present but it is possible that crews may work on Saturdays in order to keep the project on schedule.

Visit www.Conservation2020.org or www.lcec.net.

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LCEC Prepares for Hurricane Season

North Fort Myers, Fla. (May 29, 2013) – LCEC’s preparation begins long before a hurricane threatens to make landfall in Southwest Florida. To ensure LCEC has the resources needed for restoration, the organization cultivates relationships with power line and tree-trimming contractors, fuel companies, material vendors, food service vendors, other cooperatives and local agencies for back-up resources.

In addition, LCEC’s 400+ employees play a critical role in the restoration plan. Employees put their typical job responsibilities on hold to pitch in during restoration.

 Restoration Priorities

LCEC has a detailed restoration plan that outlines priorities of electric restoration during large power outages. LCEC’s plan first calls for restoration of essential services such as hospitals, traffic signals, shelters, law enforcement. Next, power is restored to the largest number of customers. The last to be restored are individual services or services that need to be reconnected after repair to their home electrical system.

 LCEC does not disconnect power before a storm. The utility lets Mother Nature run her course, and begins to restore power to impacted areas once winds are at a safe level.

 How customers should prepare for outages

  • Ensure that you have a back-up telephone if you use a cordless or other telephone that is dependent on electricity.
  • Have a battery-powered radio on hand and a supply of fresh batteries to stay aware of news and other information.
  • Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.
  • Residents on life support need to have an alternate plan in place to ensure the continuity of any life-support needs. This may include making special arrangements to spend time with a friend or relative during an outage or using a back-up generator.

What to do when the lights go out

  • Help keep LCEC’s telephone lines clear for emergency calls. Only call LCEC at 656-2300 to report downed power lines.
  • Visually check your weather-head (on the roof where your service drop connects to the pole) and your meter box to make sure it is not damaged.
  • Any damage to your home’s electric system must be repaired by a licensed electrician and inspected by a designated agency before power to your home can be restored.
  • Turn off your appliances.  This will protect them when service is restored, prevent electrical fires and lessen the chances of circuit overload when service is restored.  You may leave one light on to serve as a visual signal that power has been restored.

Storm Safety Tips

  • Stay clear of downed power lines. They may still be energized and dangerous. Puddles of water contacting downed lines are just as dangerous.
  • Don’t trim trees or remove debris located near downed power lines. If you must remove debris from your home, don’t pile it under or near electrical lines or equipment.
  • If operating a portable generator, keep it outside and in an open area. Carbon monoxide emissions can be harmful. Follow all instructions regarding safe operation. Do not connect the generator directly to your main electrical panel. If installed incorrectly, power could flow into outside lines and injure you, your neighbors or utility crews working in the area.
  • Avoid detaining LCEC employees or contractors while they are working to restore power. This can be distracting, can cause an accident and impedes the process.

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LCEC honored as Fit-Friendly Worksite by American Heart Association

North Fort Myers, Fla., May 20, 2013 – LCEC was recently honored through the American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite program. LCEC was recognized at the Gold Level, which means that the company: offers employees physical activity at the worksite, has increased number of healthy eating options available to employees, promotes a wellness culture onsite and embraces at least nine criteria outlined by the American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture.

As a Fit-Friendly Worksite, LCEC is considered a corporate trailblazer who has adopted the spirit of the initiative and has the vision to try improving the health and wellness of employees and the worksite. 

 ABOUT LCEC

Established in 1940, LCEC is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative serving Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Marco Island, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Everglades City, Immokalee, Ave Maria, and parts of Lehigh Acres. LCEC is committed to providing efficient, reliable, cost-competitive electric and emerging energy solutions and excellent service to our customers.  LCEC is also a major contributor to the local economy as one of the largest employers in Lee County with nearly 400 employees and by its support of many local agencies through charitable giving, volunteerism and environmental stewardship.

ABOUT FIT-FRIENDLY WORKSITE RECOGNITION PROGRAM

An award given by the American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life. initiative. It is intended to be a catalyst for positive change in the workplace across America and right here in Lee County. It recognizes worksites for making the health and wellness of their employees a priority.

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LCEC wins Grand All Image Award from Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA)

North Fort Myers, Fla., May 20, 2013 – The Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) announced the winners of its Local Image Awards on April 18 at Base Operations at Page Field. The Grand All Image Award, FPRA’s highest honor, together with an Image Award and a Judges’ Award were presented to the LCEC Public Relations Team and the Student Intern Miranda Moore for LCEC’s 2012 Holiday Giving Campaign. For this campaign, LCEC employees partnered with the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida to provide a bright holiday for local foster children and create awareness about the needs of the foster care system. Through the support of LCEC’s 400+ generous employees, hundreds of gifts were donated through the LCEC “Pack-a-Sack” campaign.

 ABOUT LCEC

 Established in 1940, LCEC is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative serving Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Marco Island, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Everglades City, Immokalee, Ave Maria, and parts of Lehigh Acres. LCEC is committed to providing efficient, reliable, cost-competitive electric and emerging energy solutions and excellent service to our customers.  LCEC is also a major contributor to the local economy as one of the largest employers in Lee County with nearly 400 employees and by its support of many local agencies through charitable giving, volunteerism and environmental stewardship.

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May is National Electrical Safety Month

North Fort Myers, Fla. (May 13, 2013) – Electricity is essential in today’s world. However, electricity can be a hazard if not treated with respect. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are 40,000 residential fires caused annually by electrical wiring problems and nearly three lives are lost due to electric-related fires or accidental electrocution. Most of these accidents can be avoided. LCEC recommends taking the following safety precautions – not just during Electrical Safety Month but year-round.

  • Outlets and Plugs – Check for loose-fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire. Never remove the ground pin to make a three-prong plug fit a two-conductor outlet. Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit.
  • Power Cords and Extension Cords – Make sure all power cords are not frayed or cracked. Do not place cords in high traffic areas or under carpets, rugs or furniture. Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis, not as permanent household wiring.
  • Light Bulbs – Check the wattage of all bulbs to make sure they are the correct wattage for the lamp or fixture. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely—loose bulbs may overheat.
  • Circuit Breakers and Fuses – Use the correct size current rating for their circuit. Always replace a fuse with the same size fuse. Create a circuit map that clearly identifies all outlets, fixtures and the major appliances each circuit serves.
  • Entertainment/Computer Equipment Look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs, and connectors. Use a surge protector bearing the seal of an independent testing laboratory such as UL, CSA, ETL or MET labs.

Visit www.electrical-safety.org for even more tips on staying safe around electricity.

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LCEC customers receive millions in equity returns

North Fort Myers, Fla., May2, 2013 – LCEC Board of Trustees recently approved a second quarter equity distribution of $5 million to current and inactive customers and an additional distribution of $7.5 million to memberships that have been closed since 2005. LCEC has returned more than $203 million to customers over the years, which is among the best among the 800 cooperatives in the United States.

Equity is the value of the investment customers/members make in LCEC. Customers provide a portion of the capital necessary to operate the business through the payments they make each month. Without this investment, LCEC would be required to borrow additional funds from outside sources to provide electric service, resulting in higher base rates. Each year, once operating expenses are paid, the amount that remains is the net margin. The Board of Trustees review the LCEC financial position  annually to determine if a portion of the net margins can be distributed to members.

Customers receiving a distribution of less than $250 will receive a credit on their bill and others will receive a check. Distributions will be made during the second quarter and customer can see their total equity allocation with their statement.

Visit http://www.lcec.net/equity/ for more information about equity.

ABOUT LCEC

Established in 1940, LCEC is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative serving Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Marco Island, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Everglades City, Immokalee, Ave Maria, and parts of Lehigh Acres. LCEC is committed to providing efficient, reliable, cost-competitive electric and emerging energy solutions and excellent service to our customers.  LCEC is also a major contributor to the local economy as one of the largest employers in Lee County with nearly 400 employees and by its support of many local agencies through charitable giving, volunteerism and environmental stewardship.

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