CEO Message — July 2020

Giving honor where it is due

Les MorelandUsually, this space is dedicated to my thoughts about important developments in our cooperative or our region. This month, though, I am devoting some of this space to words from our valued members:

  • “Thanks for your promptness in restoring power for your customers. Moreover, thanks for working in less than desirable conditions.”
  • “We thank y’all for all of your hard work! Y’all don’t know how much we appreciate all of you!”
  • “God bless our linemen at Wiregrass Electric.”

These comments are only a sample of the dozens, if not hundreds, that Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC) received during a rough stretch of weather outages in April. We gladly echo these sentiments from our beloved members.

Romans 13:7 encourages us to give honor and respect to whom it is due. It is a great principle to live by, which is why we love when the first Monday in June, Lineman Appreciation Day, arrives. Our linemen are some of the most dedicated you’ll find anywhere.

Over about two weeks, we had four severe weather systems move through our service area. Outages twice totaled more than 1,000. In both instances, our crews were able to restore power to every member overnight and then went to assist neighboring cooperatives with their outages the next day. Incredible.

Our linemen are well prepared for any type of issue that impacts our grid. That includes hurricanes, as a news broadcast on WDHN so wonderfully documented in late May. If you missed it, visit the station’s website, Dothan First.

Being a lineman is not easy work. Power restoration sometimes occurs in rainy and windy conditions. Safety equipment is bulky and hot, especially in the summer. Inherently, these jobs have several risks, and linemen are on call year-round. Through it all, they triumph.

We are proud to call the 30-plus linemen that work for WEC ours. And while they don’t work for the accolades, your willingness to offer some kind words of gratitude, or even the occasional cake, are greatly appreciated. Those actions show why we have the best members in the world.

Speaking of which, your benevolence through the Operation Round Up Charitable Foundation continues to make a huge difference. Recently the foundation provided 22 scholarships to local graduates. As we know, education can change lives.

Please keep rounding up your bills to the next dollar. The few cents each month are making a world of difference in education and the community.

Finally, WEC is considering a change to its bylaws regarding the retiring of patronage capital, or capital credits, to its members. This change, if approved by your vote at the Oct. 16 annual meeting, will provide more flexibility in how your cooperative retires capital credits to members with outstanding debt.

The proposal allows WEC, at its discretion, to count a member’s capital credits toward bad debt at present-day values. It will provide your cooperative options to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible.

We thank you for considering a “yes” vote, and we appreciate all you are doing to make WEC the best cooperative possible.

Les Moreland
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative