No Panic

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative scores well on COVID-19 response survey

Member Care Representative Blair Howard

Despite facing the most widespread pandemic in its history, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC) received high marks from members on its coronavirus response, according to a recent survey.

Eighty% of the 327 members surveyed rated WEC the two highest scores possible on overall response, and they awarded similar scores in several main categories. The survey asked respondents to rate the cooperative on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “very satisfied” and 1 representing “very dissatisfied,” on most questions.

More than 76% of respondents also awarded the top two scores to WEC on the subject of trustworthiness, and another 73% rated WEC either a 9 or a 10 on community concern.

“I am a teacher. I know many of my students’ families had power even though they could not pay due to being out of work,” one respondent wrote in the survey. “I appreciate Wiregrass Electric Cooperative taking care of them!”

WEC Chief Operating Officer Brad Kimbro says that while the pandemic provided unique challenges, the employees’ training and compassion guided the cooperative’s response.

“While we faced challenges we haven’t seen in our lifetimes, our longstanding practices for assisting members in times of need guided us through the difficult season,” Kimbro says. “Our culture of Just Enough Isn’t Enough reflects our dedication to providing acceptable solutions for both the member and the cooperative as a whole.”

Member Services Representative/Cashier Cassy Haveard

In addition to strong scores on the main tenets, WEC also performed well in several smaller subcategories of the survey. For instance, 79% awarded the cooperative the top two scores in business and service continuity — something reflected in one of the respondent’s comments.

“With all the confusion and panic around the COVID-19 pandemic, Wiregrass Cooperative never missed a beat,” the member noted. Rhonda Webb, WEC’s manager of Member Services, says, “We empower our member services representatives by giving them a wide range of tools and solutions to offer to our members who are struggling financially or otherwise.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association selected WEC and several other cooperatives to participate in the survey, which served as a research initiative that gauged the cooperatives’ crisis response efforts. NRECA emailed the survey to a random selection of WEC members in June, two months after the local response to the pandemic began in earnest.