Where Are They Now? Retired Co-op Vehicles Report for New Duties
SECO Energy was about to place a retired line truck on the auction block, but Steve Balius had other plans.
Balius is not only the safety manager at the Central Florida-based co-op, he’s also a member of two committees overseeing a lineworker degree program at Lake-Sumter State College. Balius knew the program’s line truck was outdated, yet the functioning truck could be critical to training new generations of line crews, some of whom go on to work for the co-op.
“This program helps SECO, too. Line techs who have been with the company for 30-plus years are starting to retire,” Balius said. “We want to replace them with local students who want to stay in the area.”
Co-ops retire vehicles in their fleets based on mileage, age and maintenance needs. Vehicles not completely worn out by the daily rigors of line work go to auction. Sometimes volunteer fire stations, NRECA International or line schools put in special requests.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative sells retired vehicles through its online Surplus Marketplace or donates them to local groups through a charitable giving program. Since 2015, the Bismarck, North Dakota, G&T has donated 11 vehicles, including a Polaris Ranger, to fire stations, children’s camps and other nonprofits.
“Currently retirements are evaluated on a case-by-case basis,” said Micheal Farley, senior fleet administrator at Basin Electric. “We try to match a donation request with a pending retirement if such request comes in. Heavy trucks and equipment are rarely, if ever, donated.”
Often, the new owners put their own flair on the trucks. Trucks headed to volunteer fire stations get new coats of paint and logos. When Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative donated a bucket truck to Coopesantos, workers at the Costa Rican co-op nicknamed the truck “La Carolina” in honor of the Newport, North Carolina, co-op.
Take a look at our photo gallery to see how co-ops are meeting others’ needs with four-wheel versions of commitment to community.
Retired Co-op Vehicles Report for New Duties
A donation from Carteret-Craven Electric Co-op to Cooperativa Electrica de los Santos in Costa Rica was one of the first co-op trucks in the country to have automatic transmission. (Photo By: Juan Alberto Castro Duran)
Mission Regan’s Josh Willis checks out a 2009 Ford F-150, a donation from the fleet of CoServ in Corinth, Texas. Mission Regan’s previous truck was totaled in an accident. (Photo By: Ken Oltmann/CoServ)
Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Electric Co-op Training Center’s John Medved (left) and Alan Scruggs show off the school’s new wheels, a donation from Northern Neck Electric Co-op in Warsaw, Virginia. Apprentices will use the truck for hands-on training. (Photo By: Jeff Ferrebee)
In July, Unit 71 will head to the front of the class at the Power Line Worker Training School at Southside Virginia Community College. The line truck was a donation from Southside EC in Crewe, Virginia. (Photo By: Lauren Irby)
Every other year, San Patricio Electric Co-op in Sinton, Texas, auctions off retired vehicles to fire departments in its nine-county service area. The Tynan Volunteer Fire Department had the winning bid for this Chevy Silverado. (Photo By: Brittany Williams)
In Haiti, line crews at the USAID Pilot Project for Sustainable Electricity Distribution program have an easier time maintaining the distribution system, thanks to this 2002 Freightliner FL80 digger derrick from Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative in Friendship, Wisconsin. (Photo Courtesy of NRECA International)
When SECO Energy’s Kenny Rodrigue (third from left) returned from a mission trip to Haiti, he led an effort at the co-op last year to donate late-model service and pickup trucks and a reel stand to the Caribbean island country’s Caracol Community Electrification Program. (Photo Courtesy of SECO Energy)
Three of Basin Electric Power Co-op’s former pickup trucks now report for duty at the Wilton Fire Protection District. Over time, firefighters improved the F-450 engines and painted the exteriors from white to—what else?—red. (Photo Courtesy of Basin Electric Power Cooperative)