In 1998, the Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees decided with the trustees from North Central Electric Cooperative to create a shared services federation called Federated Energy Services Cooperative (FESCO). Under this federation, both LMRE and North Central share staff in many departments, including accounting, billing, engineering, and marketing, while maintaining separate offices and line crews.
The November windstorms proved how beneficial the federation of LMRE and North Central is to serving members in the most crucial times, which sometimes gets lost during normal operations. Because of the close relationship between the two cooperatives, LMRE members didn't go without power any longer than was necessary.
A First Energy transmission outage started early Sunday, Nov. 15, leaving a couple of hundred members without electricity. While crews and operations staff worked quickly to reroute power from unaffected substations back to the affected members, the high winds and rain would prove detrimental only a few hours later.
LMRE crews worked throughout Sunday and into Monday morning, repairing storm damage that included many downed lines. At its peak, over 1,500 members had lost power. After LMRE crews worked through the night, 11 North Central linemen were brought in to give LMRE employees a much-needed break and continue repair work for the roughly 50 members still experiencing a loss of power. By Monday evening, almost all members had been reconnected.
Cooperation among cooperatives is typically referred to on a national scale, with aid coming from across state lines to help turn the lights back on for co-op members. However, LMRE and North Central have the unique opportunity to call in help much closer to home, under a management team that knows and understands both cooperative crews. When providing reliable and affordable electricity is the cooperative's primary objective, there's an undeniable benefit to having a partnership that can offer a quick helping hand whenever needed.