CEO’s Message – December 2022

Lighting up members’ lives

Les Moreland headshotWiregrass Electric Cooperative wants to be our members’ trusted and preferred energy and quality of life partner. I believe we are walking in that mission in 2022, and I’m proud to say we will continue in that direction for years to come.

We realized a little over four years ago that broadband today is like electricity was in 1939 — an indispensable tool to access essential services and an important way to level the playing field for rural areas. Our partnership with Troy Cable, a C Spire-owned company, allowed us to build a fiber internet backbone to our four offices and 15 substations. This was an ambitious endeavor that greatly improves communication, both internally and externally.

That partnership, Broadband for the Wiregrass, also provided 10,000 of our members with access to our high-speed fiber network with speeds up to 1 Gbps. So, when we’re talking about improving the quality of life in rural communities, we’re not just talking about energy anymore. We’re also talking about powering the technologies made possible by electricity.  The internet now plays an integral role in everything from education, medical care, farming, business and more. We’re proud to be on the leading edge of providing that essential service to the businesses and residents in our communities and will continue to work to extend that vital resource to everyone in our territory.

Our vision statement is to light up members’ lives and power through storms together. We’re going to keep the lights on — that’s the bare-bones promise of being an electric utility provider. But, the meaning of our vision statement runs deeper than that. It’s also about making life a little brighter for our members by, for example, being a good corporate citizen. Our investment and initiative with the spec building next door to our Hartford headquarters has helped Geneva County, our Wiregrass partners and state of Alabama to recruit new industry that’s delivering 80 jobs to the area. That kind of venture will have a direct impact on you and future generations.

Powering Through Storms

We all know what it means to power through a storm together. When the power goes out, our line crews work all night to get the lights back on. Even when that storm’s not in our backyard, our lineworkers leave their families to go help our neighbors in need.

That cooperative spirit was evident in Florida after Hurricane Ian knocked out electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses. Wiregrass workers joined co-op linemen from all over the country to restore service quickly so people in hard-hit areas could start assessing the storm’s damage and get busy rebuilding. I’m thankful we had so many volunteers on the Wiregrass team who enthusiastically embraced the cooperative spirit and headed to those storm-torn areas right away.

As we look back at the last year, Wiregrass Electric powered through its own storms, hardships and obstacles that we encounter every year. But, instead of focusing on those challenges, I’m inclined to reflect on the many blessings that helped us overcome them and our co-op’s continued progress as we journey through uncharted waters.
Thank you for trusting us, and we hope you have a wonderful Christmas holiday.

Les Moreland
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative