Serving, no matter what
When it comes time to pen this column for the October edition, it’s hard not to reflect upon the happenings of 2018.
Wiregrass Electric Cooperative was in the midst of preparing for an annual meeting, a grand time to celebrate with our members and to reflect on the cooperative’s contributions to our communities. It’s always so much fun to interact with our members.
But Mother Nature had other plans. On October 10 of that year, Hurricane Michael became just the fourth Category 5 hurricane to hit the United States. The eyewall of that brutal storm crossed the eastern edge of our service area, and WEC faced a monumental task of restoring power to 18,000 members.
We knew we needed to work quickly. With many of our members dealing with debris cleanup or home repairs, we didn’t want power outages to further complicate matters. Despite having to replace more than 500 utility poles, we managed to restore power to everyone in a little more than a week.
While we remember the pain of October 2018, we also recollect the fervor of our employees as they assessed the damage, implemented a plan and attacked the problems. We recall the dedication needed to endure many long nights and days.
During those tough days our employees exemplified WEC’s motto, “Just Enough Isn’t Enough.” And the memories of that time embody why part of this year’s annual meeting theme is “Serving in emergencies.”
Now, 2020 has presented challenges of a different kind — mainly in the form of a global pandemic that has caused loss of life and livelihoods. Unfortunately, the Wiregrass wasn’t immune, encountering coronavirus cases and widespread business closures.
Our employees, especially our member services representatives, excelled in that difficult time. They provided a compassionate ear for members touched by the pandemic and found solutions that helped keep the lights on.
Answering the call during troubling times isn’t our sole focus, though. We have seen the mindset of “Just Enough Isn’t Enough” pay dividends, as noted in a recent member satisfaction survey.
In the survey, we once again received a composite score of nine out of 10 members satisfied on the subjects of care level, trustworthiness and overall management. We registered improvements in many subcategories. Our members especially praised the reliability of our electrical system, our quick response to outages, and the knowledge and friendliness of our member services representatives.
Efforts like these are why the other portion of our annual meeting’s theme is “Serving always.” Whether it is in times of hurricanes or pandemics, or just in delivering a quality service every day, we stand committed to serving you and serving you well.
We consider it an honor and privilege to do so.
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative