NEW ROADS - Every year at this time people in south Louisiana brace themselves for another potentially destructive hurricane season.

The 2013 hurricane season began on June 1 and continues through November 30.

Joseph H. "Jodie" Cotten, manager of Pointe Coupee Electric Membership Corporation, said, "Since we cannot stop hurricanes the only thing we can do is work on being better prepared and know what to do in case one hits."

PCEMC has no control over severe weather that can cause power outages, but the co-op can reduce the frequency and duration of outages through a vigilant right of way maintenance program.

Tree trimming and all phases of right-of-way maintenance are essential to ensuring reliable electric service.

This is particularly true in rural areas where so many miles of power lines are exposed. A major portion of all electric blinks occur when a limb comes in contact with power lines or equipment causing a momentary short circuit. If the limb is not cleared from the line promptly, a complete loss of power can result.

Right-of-way maintenance is so important to an electric system's reliability that PCEMC spends almost $849,000 annually to maintain its 1,029 miles of line. It takes 3-4 years for the cooperative to trim all the trees in its service territory just once. It takes 12 months to apply herbicides and mow all of the right-of way.

"Reliable electric service is our number one priority," said Cotten, "and our right-of-way maintenance program is vital in helping us meet the commitment to our members."

Members are encouraged to cooperate with right-of-way maintenance crews in order to insure reliable and safe service.

Pointe Coupee Electric Membership Corporation is an electric cooperative serving areas of Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes.

PCEMC currently has storm preparedness brochures, hurricane tracking charts and portable generator safety guidelines available at their office at 2506 False River Drive in New Roads.

Please stop by Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m. to pick up these helpful brochures. You can also go to our website at www.pcemc.org and download this information.