CEO Message — May 2020

Posted: Friday, May 1, 2020, 12:00 am

Finding new ways to serve you

Les MorelandOur country has faced some difficult challenges during the last couple of months. The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we think about our health, our social interactions, and even how we do business.

Like many of you, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC) has been forced to take steps to change how we work so we can ensure the safety of our employees and members like you. Some of those steps have been difficult, like canceling our annual Youth Tour banquet.

Those of you who have taken part in this event before know how much it means to our cooperative to have an opportunity to honor some of the outstanding young people in our community. But the safety of our members and our community comes first, and I believe we made the right call.

That doesn’t mean a great event had to go to waste, though. Our cooperative was able to turn that letdown into an opportunity by giving back to the community in a different way. Rather than canceling the order for food that would have fed more than 80 people, we donated it to The Ark Dothan. Not only was the food not wasted, but it also went to a great cause and provided a boost for a local business in the service industry during a particularly difficult time.

In addition, the Operation Round Up board approved $1,000 in emergency contributions to the Wiregrass Area Food Bank in Dothan and the Geneva County Food Pantry. With that money, the Wiregrass Area Food Bank estimated it could purchase 40,000 pounds of food. Geneva County Food Pantry told us they expect that contribution to have a real impact on between 500 and 1,500 local residents in need.

We have also taken the necessary steps to ensure that our office lobbies are clean while remaining open to serve the members who need us. Offices are disinfected multiple times a day, and there is protective glass in place between members and employees to provide that extra peace of mind.

We have also employed Environmental & Hazmat Service to come into all of our offices to perform extensive cleaning that is in accordance with current CDC recommendations.

For those of you who want to do business with the cooperative without leaving home, WEC has several tools available to do just that. With our website and mobile app, members can pay bills, manage their accounts, get updates on outages, view their kWh usage and more, from wherever they are. You can also visit us at our drive-thru windows to handle business without coming inside the office or use our 24-7 phone service to pay your bill from home.

Meanwhile, WEC has been ready and waiting to respond to any outages that might come along. Our linemen, engineers and dispatchers have truly gone above and beyond to make sure our members can rely on a steady flow of power to their homes and businesses during this critical period.

We also know that some of our members have had a harder time than others during this pandemic. The economic strain has hit our community just as it has many others across the country, and the result is that some members have struggled to pay their bills.

I want to assure all of our members that we are here to help anyone who needs some extra assistance to pay their electric bill. We are ready to work with you because aiding members during times of hardship is nothing new for WEC. Our service representatives even give members a call before posting a particularly high bill to let them know what to expect and offer assistance.

This situation is no different. We will continue to be here for our members and find new ways to support our community as we work through this difficult time. And, as always, you can count on us to work hard every day to keep the lights on for you.

Les Moreland
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative