CEO Message – July 2022

Serving our members in times of uncertainty

Les MorelandIt’s no secret that we are in hard economic times. Everyone has their opinion as to how we got here and, of course, there’s plenty of disagreement to go around. But, whatever the explanations are, there’s no denying the truth: These are difficult times.

Inflation has affected just about every aspect of our lives. Food costs alone are squeezing our families, while our businesses struggle to keep up with new wages and to find reliable help. Fuel prices have increased to the point where our members who have a long commute are seeing a real difference in their monthly budgets.

For us here at Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, cost pressures continue to mount. Most of the energy we purchase and distribute to your homes and businesses is produced using natural gas. As natural gas costs continue to increase, so does the expense of supplying electricity to our members.

Further, supply chain issues have wreaked havoc on our ability to have basic parts for our power grid. In years past, if we needed a transformer, we could simply order one. Now, we have to wait. For some of our parts, that wait time can be months. These are, indeed, difficult times.

But, your electric cooperative knows how to manage through difficult times. We’re continuing to do what we’ve done for decades — serve our members, serve our communities and be excellent stewards of every dollar we’re given.

One way we serve our members is by making sure they can come to us when times are tight and a payment may be late. Our team members truly care and want to help. For any member struggling with paying their bill, we hope you’ll call us before the bill is due and give us a chance to help. We have multiple resources and ways to assist our members.

One way we serve our communities is by continuing to work with elected officials at the local, state and national levels so they understand the challenges of rural America. Through our partnerships with our wholesale power provider, PowerSouth, as well as the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, our voice is much louder than if we were on our own. We are advocating for you and for the Wiregrass to everyone who will listen.

We’re working every day to mitigate these many cost increases. Because of the oversight from every employee at this cooperative, we’ve absorbed every increase in areas where we have direct control. Forces beyond our control, like natural gas prices, have been reflected in our Power Cost Adjustment.

I’m very proud of that fact. To be clear, that doesn’t mean we will never need to increase power costs. There are so many factors out of our control. But, as a member, you can be sure that your cooperative is working to keep your energy costs steady and to help our members in any way we can. Because we’re with you — especially in difficult times.

Les Moreland
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative