Little Rock, Ark. — Aug. 26, 2016 — Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas linemen have enabled more than 1,100 rural Guatemalans to receive electricity since 2013. The 13 linemen will travel to Bolivia in September to assist in providing electric service to remote Bolivian villages near Guayaramerian.

“The Bolivian mission involves assisting COSEGUA, a Bolivian electric service cooperative, to extend electric service to remote areas around Guaryaramerin,” said Duane Highley, president/CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “Our men will work with the Bolivian cooperative to provide electric service to areas that have never had service. This is similar to work that was completed in Arkansas in the late 1940s and early 1950s.”

According to Highley, the work of the electric cooperative linemen in Bolivia will result in more than 100 families receiving electric service to their homes for the first time. By providing assistance and support to the local electric cooperative, the Arkansas linemen are helping to ensure sustainability and continuity for the targeted region of Bolivia, he said.

Highley said that Arkansas electric cooperatives and ERMCO, a manufacturer of transformers, are donating materials, labor and funds to assist with the project. Cooperative crews will assist in construction of electric distribution line, related infrastructure and provide some training to local line workers.

Linemen and their respective cooperatives participating in the project are: Bill Bonds and Doug Evans with Petit Jean Electric of Clinton; Richard Freeland with Ouachita Electric of Camden; Kenneth Byrd and Clayton McMurray of Arkansas Valley Electric of Ozark; Gene Milton with Woodruff Electric of Forrest City; Shannon Strope and Aaron Yearta with Craighead Electric of Jonesboro; Hugh Starkey with First Electric of Jacksonville; William Thompson with North Arkansas Electric of Salem; Jimmy Sharp and Alex Wright with Southwest Arkansas REA of Texarkana; and Kevin Riddle with Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. of Little Rock.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.

For additional information, contact:
Rob Roedel, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 501.570.2296 or