Exceeding Expectations

Members rank WEB high in providing reliable service

Bringing electricity to rural areas of Southeast Alabama was a massive undertaking more than half a century ago. Today, with the help of innovative technologies, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative is leading the way in assuring a bright future amid ever-changing challenges.

An electric utility provider is tasked with distributing power to its membership, but WEC goes beyond that call. As a cooperative, WEC commits to providing quality electrical service while also improving quality of life through a variety of programs and services available to all of its consumers. The principle upon which WEC was organized in 1939 — created by people, for people — has never wavered.

To review its performance and progress in maintaining high standards, WEC commissioned an independent survey this spring that returned encouraging insights into how members feel about the cooperative and its services. WEC’s Cooperative Attitude Performance Score (CAPS) — a benchmark developed specifically for electric utility providers — was 92%. These results indicate that members believe that WEC is a well-managed, trustworthy organization that truly cares about its members.

“This was a checkup for us to see how we are meeting members’ expectations, especially in areas that we can control, like reliability, communication and quality service,” says Brad Kimbro, WEC’s chief operating officer. “Members did score us high in those areas and provided promising feedback that we were meeting and exceeding those expectations.

“Of course, it makes us happy when our membership is happy with what we’re doing,” he adds. “We will continue to meet today’s challenges while focusing on making our services reliable and affordable.”

Overall, WEC’s CAPS was higher than the average 89% held by other electric service providers that commissioned the same study.

High Marks for Reliability, Member Service

Randomly selected members were asked to rate the cooperative’s performance using a sliding 1-10 scale for several variables. In many areas, members gave WEC an average score above 9/10:

  • Provides reliable electric service: 9.5
  • Has knowledgeable and competent employees: 9.5
  • Has friendly and courteous employees: 9.4
  • Restores power quickly after an outage: 9.3
  • Is an organization that is easy to do business with day to day: 9.2
  • Communicates effectively: 9.0

Results are compared with previous surveys to identify trends that can be used to improve service and satisfaction as attitudes and innovations evolve over time.

Baylee Anderson, a member services representative and lead cashier, helps members at the Hartford office.

For example, the survey shows that more members — 61% of respondents — are now aware of and using the Wiregrass Electric Cooperative mobile app to access services on their phones and tablets, up from 55% in 2020. It also illustrates that a higher percentage of members may be willing to invest in energy efficiency upgrades, especially if they save the consumer money over time.

“It’s always valuable to leadership at the cooperative to know areas in which we can improve and what our members expect from us,” Kimbro says. “These results help us to get to know the member better and, if necessary, can help us tailor services to meet the needs and desires of the people we serve.”

This survey was developed and conducted by Inside Information, Inc.®, Smithville, Missouri, as a customer research project commissioned by Wiregrass Electric Cooperative and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative. Results are based on feedback from 256 randomly selected members.