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Engineering/Operations FAQ

Why is there a 200-foot limit for secondary services?

Services are limited to 200 feet because of voltage drop. Generally, the longer the service, the more your lights will flicker when various loads start in your home. It is not possible to eliminate flicker entirely but, 200 feet, with the common loads we see in this area, is a good balance between flickering lights and cost/convenience. Some utilities limit their secondary service length to 100 feet. Shorter lengths are many times required where there are large air conditioning and compressor loads.


I understand that MEC only installs underground secondary services. Why?

MEC installs only underground secondary services due to the many problems we have experienced with trees falling through overhead services.


What size conduit do I need and how deep do the trenches need to be for my underground service?

MEC requires that 3” electrical PVC conduit be installed in a trench with a minimum depth of 36” . The customer must provide the trench from the meter site to the corner of your lot. MEC will install the wire in the conduit, provide any trenching in the public right-of-way, and will install any high voltage equipment that may be necessary to complete your service.


In case of a power outage, what do I do?

Our dispatchers have radio communications with our foremen and line crews at all times. This helps us respond quickly to a power outage. A line crew will be dispatched as soon as we know the location of the problem. Before we can be effective, there are several vital pieces of information that the dispatcher will need to know prior to dispatching a lineman. If you are prepared to provide this information when you report the outage, it will save time and get our crews heading to the location promptly.

•Your name, address and phone number
•The name as listed on your electricity bill
•When the power went out
•Did you check your breakers? (Most manufactured homes have two sets of breakers)
•Do your neighbors have power?
•Did you hear or see anything that could have caused the outage? (such as a tree falling on the line or a vehicle accident)

MEC has a different number for after hour power outages. Please call 541-536-2165 or 800-752-5935 to speak to a dispatcher. If the outage is extensive, the phone lines may be busy. PLEASE NOTE: Yard lights that are off and other maintenance that does not require immediate attention will be restored during regular business hours.

We know it is frustrating to be without power for any length of time. All of us depend on electricity during our day to day routines at home and at work. Be assured that we will proceed as quickly as possible when your outage is reported to us. We sincerely appreciate your patience during an outage.


Why does MEC remove the trees from under the power lines?

As a rule, MEC’s power lines are located within the County road right-of-ways, which we have been given permission by the counties to maintain. MEC has an obligation to all of its membership to provide safe and reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost. By properly maintaining the right-of-way, the majority of our tree-related outages are eliminated, and the time taken to restore power in case of an outage is reduced. Clear access to our equipment saves time and money if repairs are needed. Proper right-of-way maintenance not only saves money and time, it increases our reliability and service to our membership. For more information about our tree trimming efforts, contact the Operations Department at (541) 536-2126 option 6 or (800) 722-7219 option 6.


What is Call Before You Dig? How is it used?

“Call Before You Dig” is a slogan we use to promote safety and prevent accidental dig-ins to underground utilities which could result in injury to our members. The Central Oregon Underground Utility Coordinating Council handles the “one call” for locating buried utility facilities. To request a locate of the utilities on your property, call (800) 332-2344. Please prevent possible damage or injuries and call (800) 332-2344 today!


What permits, inspections or other requirements do you have for a new service?

To save time, all permits required by the Counties we serve (water, sewer, septic and building) should be secured before requesting service from MEC. Our Engineering Department will need a scaled, detailed, and dimensioned plot plan of your lot to accurately engineer your service. Before MEC will connect your service, your meter base and wiring must be inspected and approved “green tagged” by the Electrical Inspector from the county in which the property is located.


How does MEC read their meters?

In 2006, MEC launched the conversion of mechanical meters to Automated Meter Reading (AMR) meters to reduce operating costs. As of December 2011, every member’s mechanical meter was replaced with an electronic meter. AMR meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the co-op automatically recording the amount of electricity used. This “green” step is saving the co-op thousands of dollars per month in meter reading fees and fuel consumption.


Can I buy used power poles?

MEC does not sell used full-length power poles, however, all junk poles are cut into eight-foot lengths and are available for $4.00 each. They make excellent fence posts and parking bumpers. Contact our Warehouseman at (541) 536-7240.


Can I buy electrical wire or material from MEC?

No. MEC's policy is not to compete with local electrical and hardware distributors.


Can I get empty wire reels from MEC?

Empty reels and pallets can be acquired. Please contact our warehouse for more information. (541) 536-7240.


Can I buy used crossarms from MEC?

Yes - they are $2.00 each. Contact our Warehouseman at (541) 536-7240.

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