CEO Message — October 2019

Posted: October 1, 2019, 12:00 am

Working for you — that’s ‘The Wiregrass Way’

Les MorelandWe have stated in this space many times before that doing business with a cooperative is different than interacting with any other company, but it can never be said enough!

For 80 years, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC) has served its members and communities. We are here to serve you, and we are not just a group of investors living far away. You are the reason we were formed, and you are the reason we are still here.

Each October, we are reminded of our reason for existing when we celebrate National Cooperative Month. Similarly, we are also reminded of our legacy and mission, because October is our annual meeting. It is a great time for our Wiregrass community to come together in fellowship with each other and to celebrate all of the accomplishments from the past year.

This year’s meeting will be monumental — 80 years of serving you and doing things “The Wiregrass Way.” The Wiregrass Way means many things, but it always includes going above and beyond in everything we do. It means choosing safety as our top priority so our employees can go home to their families. It means providing reliable, affordable electricity to our members so they can have a great quality of life. It means working to provide broadband so our members and the Wiregrass can thrive. It means being good stewards of our members’ money.

That last point is very important to our cooperative, as we demonstrated this past year in how we handled the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Michael made landfall as a Category 5 storm. It left 18,000 members without power, damaged more than 500 power poles and downed 60 miles of electric line. This was a trying time for our cooperative but one that, with help from other cooperatives and contract crews from around the state, we handled well. It took nine days, 45,000 hours of work from 225 linemen, and $7.6 million to restore power.

We happily report that thanks to the work of WEC employees, this storm will have no financial impact on our members’ rates.

Thanks to our employees and their diligent documentation of all the work completed during this event, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has reimbursed us for 75% of the cost.

While not an easy process, we gladly managed it because it is our responsibility to fight for every eligible dollar so this storm would have no financial impact on you.

It is our goal every day to come to work and make your life better.

This column is being written during hurricane season, and we don’t know what storms we may face. But, rest assured, your cooperative is prepared to cope with the challenges.

That is The Wiregrass Way. It’s been the way we’ve served this area for 8 years, and it’s how we will serve it for 80 more.

Les Moreland
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative