MY CO-OP

About Coast Electric

Mission

We exist to safely provide our member-owners superior service and dependable electricity at the lowest possible price, and to improve the economy and quality of life in our community.

Coast Electric will be the best electric cooperative in the country. We will be valued and respected for providing superior service to our members at a competitive price, for improving the quality of life of our members, and making our community a better place to live and for developing our employees into a workforce envied by other organizations.

Our foundation, like rural electrification itself, is people. We value the people we employ, the members we serve and the community in which we live. We have been and will continue to be a caring, family-oriented organization working together for the common good of all, ensuring respect, integrity, fairness and honesty in our dealings. We value the trust that our members have placed in us to operate and manage their electric cooperative. We are an environmentally-responsible community partner, and we work hard to provide a safe and healthy work environment for our employees.

The Cooperative Difference

For more than 75 years, Coast Electric has provided excellent service to members. Coast Electric began in a little church on Highway 43 near Picayune. It was there, at Aaron Academy, that families and friends witnessed the coming of electricity to South Mississippi. It was there that Coast Electric Power Association brought a chance for growth, prosperity and a new way of life for the people of rural Hancock, Harrison and Pearl River counties. Coast Electric Power Association is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperative. As a cooperative, we operate by the seven cooperative principles.

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the general membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights – one member, one vote.

Members contribute to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.

Safety

In our daily lives, it’s easy to take electricity for granted. We flip a switch, and our lights come on. But it’s also easy to forget the risks, especially when you can’t see the dangers.

In our daily lives, it’s easy to take electricity for granted. We flip a switch, and our lights come on. But it’s also easy to forget the risks, especially when you can’t see the dangers. Be aware everywhere, and stay safe around electricity.

For more electrical safety information, go to Be Aware Everywhere.com.

Generators can be portable or stationary whole-house standby units. They run on a variety of fuels, such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas (NG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Each type has its pros and cons.

Portable generators are usually kept in storage and retrieved when needed. If portable generators are improperly connected to a home’s meter panel, voltage can be sent back to the power lines where a Coast Electric lineman is working and electrocute them. To avoid this dangerous situation, plug appliances directly into a portable generator. Always read and understand all safety instructions before using a portable generator.

Whole-house standby generators vary in size. They are normally placed within close proximity of a home and are permanently wired into the meter panel on the house. They can be wired to start automatically or manually. It is advised to have a dealer assess your home to determine what size generator you need for your home. You should always have a certified, licensed electrician do the installation. Always read and understand all safety instructions before using a whole-house standby generator.

Today in Mississippi

Today in Mississippi is the publication for electric cooperative members throughout the state of Mississippi with specialized content just for members of Coast Electric. We hope you will check out our publication each month for the latest news about Mississippi food, outdoors, gardening and information about YOUR co-op!

August Today in Mississippi Cover

Careers

Coast Electric strives to build a superior, member-service and cost-conscious work force team that is committed to its future and strength.

The association employs more than 245 skilled employees in the fields of engineering, member service, accounting, human resources, marketing, operations and maintenance.

The Mississippi Business Journal selected Coast Electric numerous times as one of the “Best Places to Work in Mississippi”. The journal started the “Best Places to Work” program to identify and honor places of business that have made exceptional contributions to their industries and to the communities they serve. Coast Electric was recognized in the large company category, comprised of businesses with 200-499 employees.

Coast Electric participates in E-verify.

Information about your right to work.

Coast Electric Power Association is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. We do not discriminate in our employment practices against qualified employees or applicants on the basis of race, gender, color, religion, age, national origin, disability, veterans status or any other basis prohibited by law.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online or at any USDA office, or call 866-632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C., 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

Applicants may apply online or in person for any open positions at Coast Electric, 18020 Highway 603, Kiln, MS, 39556 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Apply for available positions.

Coast Electric employs students who are enrolled in a cooperative education (work study) program. When available, positions include engineering, marketing, GIS, human resources and vehicle maintenance. Interested applicants may apply through their high school or college cooperative education department.

Broadband

Your electric cooperative is researching the possibility of offering broadband Internet service to south Mississippi residents. We believe that access to reliable, affordable Internet service is a necessity now more than ever. Our members are and will always be our main priority so our decision about offering service will be based on what makes the most sense for people we serve.

Learn more about the possibilities of broadband!

Vegetation Management

Coast Electric maintains approximately 13,000 acres of rights-of-way to provide dependable electric service to our member-owners. Our climate in south Mississippi means that vegetation in our rights-of-way grows quickly. Unfortunately, fast growing vegetation can create challenges for Coast Electric in the areas of safety, reliability and cost.

Coast Electric's vegetation management plan (VMP) has been established to:
• Help ensure the safety of our member-owners and employees.
• Protect the public from harm and protect electric facilities from damage.
• Maintain a continuous flow of electricity.

 

 

When managing distribution rights-of-way, no single approach can be taken.  The objective of this plan is to provide basic information regarding Coast Electric's vegetation management practices. 

Coast Electric's vegetation management practices include:

  • Removing trees and underbrush located beneath overhead distribution lines.
  • Removing vegetation that interferes with the routine maintenance of overhead and underground facilities.
  • Removing dead or hazardous trees that could fall and damage Coast Electric facilities.
  • Pruning trees growing close to overhead conductors.
  • Applying herbicides at low-volume rates.

Coast Electric's mission statement sets several high standards. 

We exist to provide our member-owners superior service and dependable electricity at the lowest possible price, and to improve the economy and quality of life in our community.

A successful Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) is an essential element needed for Coast Electric to accomplish our mission. Three important objectives of our VMP are safety, reliability and cost.

Safety

All electric utilities have an obligation to provide safe clearances between trees and energized conductors.  As a result, right-of-way (ROW) maintenance must be scheduled frequently enough to ensure minimal contact between vegetation and electric facilities throughout the entire length of the planned cycle. Coast Electric's ROW maintenance schedule is currently every three to four years. The amount pruned and/or cut during ROW maintenance cycles is based on the characteristics of the tree species, and the type and location of conductors. In some cases, a tree or trees may have to be removed to provide access to Coast Electric's equipment and safe clearances between vegetation and conductors. Tree removal may also be necessary to protect the public and provide a safe working environment for Coast Electric employees. Training is provided to help ROW personnel to identify trees in need of removal.

Reliability

We understand the importance of offering dependable electric service to our member-owners. Like most electric providers, a large number of Coast Electric's power interruptions are related to trees and/or vegetation. In 2007, the leading cause of Coast Electric's reported outages were vegetation and/or tree related. However, since 2007, the number of vegetation related outages occurring within the widths of Coast Electric's rights-of-way have dropped by over 60 percent. Furthermore, the number of outages caused by hazard trees located outside the widths of our rights-of-way has dropped by more than 95 percent since 2007.

Currently, healthy trees and/or tree limbs that fall during inclement weather contribute to a large percentage of our tree related outages. While much progress has been made, Coast Electric continues to seek cost-effective ways to reduce the amount of outages caused by vegetation and/or trees.

An effective VMP is more than just a commitment to reduce the number of reported outages. When outages occur, for whatever reason, clear rights-of-way allow restoration crews to locate and repair problems faster. Restoration times are greatly reduced when problems are quickly identified and repaired.  Reduced power interruptions and faster restoration times are better for our members. 

Costs

Along with promoting safety and reliability, Coast Electric’s VMP allows your cooperative to operate more efficiently. While a VMP can be costly, power outages and restorations can also be expensive. In addition, damages to Coast Electric facilities can occur when vegetation comes into contact with energized conductors. Consequently, power outages, restoration efforts, repairing damaged equipment and line loss negatively impact our annual operating expenses. Coast Electric's VMP helps us provide safe and reliable electric service at the lowest possible price.

Since 2010, right-of-way maintenance costs have dropped by 10 percent, mostly due to tree removals and selective herbicide applications. The ability for Coast Electric to reduce overall costs without affecting system reliability is a tribute to an integrated VMP.       

Coast Electric adheres to Rural Utilities Services (RUS) and the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) when managing rights-of-way. 

RUS Guidelines

The right-of-way shall be prepared by removing trees, clearing underbrush, and trimming trees so that the right of way is cleared close to the ground and to the width specified. However, low growing shrubs, which will not interfere with the operation or maintenance of the line, shall be left undisturbed if so directed by the owner. Slash may be chipped and blown on the right of way if so specified.

The landowner’s written permission shall be received prior to cutting trees outside of the right of way. Trees fronting each side of the right of way shall be trimmed symmetrically unless otherwise specified. Dead trees beyond the right of way which would strike the line in falling shall be removed. Leaning trees beyond the right of way which would strike the line in falling and which would require topping if not re-moved, except that shade, fruit or ornamental trees shall be trimmed and not removed, unless otherwise authorized.

RUS Part 1730.22 (c), Facilities must comply, be maintained, and be inspected according to the National Electrical Safety Code.

NESC Guidelines

Section 218 - Vegetation Management

  1. General:
  2. Vegetation that may damage un-grounded supply conductors should be pruned or removed. Vegetation Management should be performed as experience has shown necessary.

Note 1:  Factors to consider in determining the extent of vegetation management required include, but are not limited to:  line voltage class, species’ growth rates and failure characteristic, right-of-way limitations, the vegetation’s location in relation to the conductors, the potential combined movement of vegetation and conductors during routine winds, and sagging of conductors due to elevated temperatures or icing.

Note 2:  It is not practical to prevent all tree-conductor contacts on overhead lines.

  1. Where pruning or removal is not practical, the conductor should be separated from the tree with suitable materials or devices to avoid conductor damage by abrasion and grounding of the circuit through the tree.
  2. At line crossings, railroad crossings, limited-access highway crossings, or navigable waterways requiring permits:

The crossing span and the adjoining span on each side of the crossing should be kept free from overhanging or decayed trees or limbs that otherwise might fall into the line.

RUS & NESC Guideline Exceptions

It may be necessary to remove trees if excessive trimming is required for Coast Electric to comply with RUS and NESC specifications. When trees are located beneath overhead conductors, removal is often necessary to provide safe clearances. Most tree species in the southern United States have mature heights between 60 and 100 feet. Consequently, it is Coast Electric's practice to remove such trees to maintain the vertical and horizontal clearances mandated by the NESC.

During power restoration, the applicability of RUS and NESC standards may vary. For example, trees that are considered a potential hazard to the public and/or Coast Electric facilities are removed as quickly as possible without notifying the landowner.

Vegetation Management Specifications

Overhead Maintenance

Coast Electric's overhead maintenance practices include, but are not limited to:

  • Accomplishing specified minimum clearances around all primary and secondary conductors, including de-energized lines.
  • Multi-phase lines - 30 feet.
  • Single-phase lines - 20 feet
  • Open-wire secondary lines - 10 feet
  • Triplex or duplex secondary lines - 6 feet
  • Pruning over-hang clearance 30 feet or greater (measured from the highest phase conductor or shield wire).
  • Pruning trees to the most applicable standard between RUS Guidelines, NESC and/or ANSI A300.
  • When applicable, mechanically trimming trees as close to the tree-base as possible.
  • Clearing every pole structure and guy wire from trees, underbrush and/or vines (a minimum of 10 feet in width).
  • Cutting vegetation growing in and around fence-lines just above the top of the fence with the sides neatly trimmed.
  • Cutting stumps less than 6” in diameter 2” above ground level or less. Larger stumps will be allowed to exceed 2” in height at the discretion of Coast Electric's ROW Coordinator. No stumps shall be left in a condition that may result in injury or harm. Coast Electric is not responsible for grinding or removing stumps.
  • Cutting or topping hazard trees that may threaten the reliability of overhead facilities. Hazard trees may be dead, dying, diseased, damaged, leaning or otherwise structurally unsound. 

Underground Maintenance

Coast Electric's underground maintenance practices include, but are not limited to:

  • Cutting and/or mowing trees and/or vegetation from over buried conductors (10 feet minimum, 5 feet from each side of the conductor).
  • Clearing trees and/or vegetation from around electric facilities (10 feet in front and 5 feet from the back and sides).
  • Removing trees and vegetation that prevents access to and/or maintenance of underground facilities.
  • Coast Electric is not responsible for grinding or removing stumps cut away from electric facilities.
  • Decals listing planting zones shall be placed on electric facilities.

Herbicide Management Specifications

General

Coast Electric utilizes low-volume herbicide applications to control the vegetation growing within the association’s ROW. The key objective of Coast Electric's herbicide program is to eliminate tall-growing tree species from within the cooperative's ROW while encouraging the growth of low-growing grasses, flowers and plants. Coast Electric only utilizes herbicides that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture. The herbicides used are environmentally friendly and pose no danger to people, pets, wildlife or livestock.  

Coast Electric's herbicide applications generally occur six to 12 months following ROW maintenance and are considered sufficient when 98 percent of the targeted vegetation is controlled. Herbicide crews do not harm and/or treat any fruit, shade or ornamental trees, shrubs or bushes growing within maintained yards. Coast Electric's maintenance personnel have a working knowledge of the herbicides being used and have all federal, state and local licenses, certificates and/or permits required by law. We also require the presence of a licensed commercial pesticide applicator on every herbicide maintenance project.

Herbicide Specifications

Coast Electric's herbicide maintenance practices include, but are not limited to:

  • Mixing and applying herbicide formulations according to label directions and/or to manufacturers’ recommendations.
  • Using herbicides that are labeled specifically for use on utility rights-of-way.
  • The proper disposal of all chemicals and/or containers.
  • Locating sensitive and/or restricted non-vegetative rights-of-way locations where herbicides, as specified on the manufacturer’s label, should not be applied.
  • Transporting all necessary herbicides and herbicide agents safely from one job location to another.
  • Keeping all equipment in a condition that prevents leaks and/or spills.
  • Providing detailed records that include the:
  • location and date of herbicide applications.
  • name and amount of herbicides being applied.
  • applicators name and license number.   

 

vegetation management

Vegetation growing around electric facilities delays the amount of time needed for utility personnel to perform required maintenance and restore service following power outages. Please contact us at 877-769-2372 and ask for our right-of-way department before planting trees or shrubs near electric facilities.

Energy Resources

Variety is the spice of life. And the source of savings.

Coast Electric is one of 11 co-ops in Mississippi that is part of Cooperative Energy, a generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Hattiesburg. Cooperative Energy generates and delivers energy to Coast Electric's substations and Coast Electric uses that energy to power homes

Cooperative Energy Fuel Mix 20015 and 2019

and businesses in Harrison, Hancock and Pearl River counties.

Cooperative Energy provides power to Coast Electric and other member systems at a wholesale rate and has a diverse generating mix that includes natural gas, coal, nuclear, water (hydro) and solar. Having a broad mix of options gives Cooperative Energy the power to minimize the cost impact of any significant increases of a single fuel source.

Solar energy is becoming a larger part of Cooperative Energy's fuel mix as more solar generating resources are utilized to produced reliable, affordable energy for Mississippi residents. Cooperative Energy currently has five small-scale solar sites in locations throughout the state, including one at Coast Electric's Kiln headquarters, and one 52MW, 540-acre solar facility in Sumrall, Miss. Plans are underway for a new solar facility in the Delta.

Leadership

The Executive Staff

Ron Barnes, President and CEO
Tricia Gullett , Executive Assistant
Scott Brown, Vice President of Engineering
Archie Dickens, Vice President of Safety, Compliance, Right of Way, Fleet & Facility Services
John Holston, Vice President of Financial & Administrative Services
Guy Johnson, Vice President of Western Division Operations & Economic Development
Louis Lee, Vice President of Project Management
Bruce Marie, Vice President of Purchasing & Energy Management
Steve Pitzer, Vice President of Eastern Division Operations & Special Projects
Melissa Russo, Vice President of Communications, Public Relations and Member Services
Marilyn Sefton, Chief Human Resources Officer

Board of Directors

Hancock County Board Members
James Baldree, Position 1
Gil Arceneaux, Position 2
James Ginn, Position 3

Harrison County Board Members
Chuck Lopez, Position 1
Teri Eaton, Position 2
Gordon Redd, Position 3

Pearl River County Board Members
Richard Dossett
, Position 1
Frank McClinton,  Position 2
Doug Mooney, Position 3

Want to connect with your board? Email board@coastepa.com.

Advisory committee/Coast Electric Community Trust Committee

One benefit of cooperative membership is that leadership roles are filled by our members. Besides our Board of Directors, we have another committee of Coast Electric members that serve as our eyes and ears in the community. Coast Electric’s advisory committee members serve three consecutive one-year terms and spend time learning about our business and giving us new perspectives on our programs and services.

Advisory committee members also serve as the advisory committee for Coast Electric’s Community Trust. When local charitable organizations apply for grants funded by our Operation Round Up program, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation (GCCF) reviews grants to ensure they are eligible for funding and passes along applications that meet funding requirements to members of the Advisory Committee/Community Trust Committee for review. These men and women will work to determine which grants will be funded to making lasting, positive impacts in our local communities.

Hancock County Advisory/Community Trust Committee Members
DuJuan Bosarge
Paul Guichet
Lloyd Ramirez Jr. 

Harrison County Advisory/Community Trust Committee Members
Raymunda Barnes
Anderson Hill
EJ Roberts

Pearl River County Advisory/Community Trust Committee Members
Keith Cavaliere

Billy Joe Lee
Ross Watkins

Contact Us

If you are experiencing an outage or have any service or billing related questions or comments, please feel free to call 1-877-7MY-CEPA (877-769-2372) or email us at: call@coastepa.com. Our mailing address is PO Box 1028 Kiln, MS 39556.

Office Hours For All Locations-Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Call Center Hours-Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

24 Outage Reporting-1-877-769-2372

Robert J. Occhi Headquarters Building
18020 Hwy. 603
Kiln, MS 39556
Telephone 228-363-7000 or 877-769-2372
Map to this location.

Kiln Branch Office 
18020 Hwy. 603 
Kiln, MS 39556
Telephone 877-769-2372
Map to this location.

Bay St. Louis OfficeBay St. Louis Branch Office
1005 U.S. Highway 90
P.O. Box 2430
Bay St. Louis, MS 39521-2430
Telephone 877-769-2372
Map to this location.

Harrison County District OfficeHarrison County District Office
14082 Highway 49
P.O. Box 3302
Gulfport, MS 39505-3302
Telephone 877-769-2372
Map to this location.

Biloxi Branch OfficeBiloxi Branch Office
920 Cedar Lake Road Suite S
Biloxi, MS 39532
Telephone 877-769-2372
Map to this location.

Pearl River County OfficePearl River County District Office
6375 Highway 11 North
Picayune, MS 39466
Telephone 877-769-2372
Map to this location.

Poplarville Branch OfficePoplarville Branch Office
4679 Highway 53
Poplarville, MS 39470
Telephone 877-769-2372
Map to this location.

 

Affiliates

Coast Electric Power Association is one of 11 electric distribution cooperatives that owns Cooperative Energy, a generating and transmission cooperative based in Hattiesburg. Cooperative Energy serves more than 377,000 meters through its member distribution systems. www.cooperativeenergy.com

ECM represents 25 electric power associations that deliver electricity to more than 706,700 meters including nearly 614,000 residential meters. ECM provides various programs, including government relations, economic development, safety, job training and more. www.ecm.coop

NRECA is the national service organization for more than 900 electric cooperatives. Based in Washington, D.C., the association assists the rural electric program in developing policy positions on national issues. NRECA also offers services such as group insurance, retirement benefits, management training, conferences, consulting and safety training. www.nreca.org

CFC is a non-profit, member-owned financing organization created especially for electric cooperatives. Through direct loans and guarantees, CFC provides its members an assured source of private capital at competitive rates, plus a wide array of other financial services. https://www.nrucfc.coop/

CoBank is a national cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation’s rural economy. In addition to serving its direct retail borrowers, the bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving more than 70,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country. www.cobank.com

Touchstone Energy

Coast Electric is a partner in Touchstone Energy, a national branding alliance of more than 600 electric co-ops in 44 states. With more than 22 million customers collectively, the Touchstone Energy partner cooperatives make up the largest utility networks in the country.

Innovation, Accountability, Integrity and Community Commitment are the foundation of Touchstone Energy cooperative’s service to its members. Through these values, Touchstone Energy co-ops connect with the people they serve and earn the trust of these people every day.

Touchstone Energy identifies electric cooperatives as non-profit, locally controlled members of their communities. Cooperatives have a long history of commitment to reliability and safety, always making their member-consumers the number one priority. Touchstone Energy reiterates that message nationwide, distinguishing cooperatives from all other electric utilities.

The Touchstone Energy brand is a promise that cooperatives are consumer-driven businesses with strong ties to the communities they serve. Across the nation, Touchstone Energy cooperatives improve the communities they call home through economic development projects, education and volunteerism.

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