By: Ken Schlimgen, General Manager
The coronavirus (COVID-19) presents unprecedented challenges for each of us as we adjust to changes in our daily routines. You should take some comfort in knowing your cooperative has a strong record for being prepared for emergencies that can interrupt the delivery of electricity.
We recognize that we provide an essential service to the community and must be prepared to keep our workplace and operations safe during emergencies. Typically, these emergencies have been weather related, but today, we are facing something much different. This pandemic is an attack to the human side of our business, and people cannot be replaced like broken poles or wires.
The health and safety of our members, communities, and employees is always our highest priority. During this challenging time, the cooperative has taken several precautions to limit the spread of the virus while maintaining electric service to our members.
Your cooperative is monitoring the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and our local health officials regarding how to protect our workforce. Our linemen and dispatch center remain ready to respond 24/7 if or when an outage occurs.
We have postponed our Annual Meeting to September 29, and we have closed our offices to public access. Our doors are locked, but we are fully staffed and ready to assist you over the phone, by email or through other means. We are encouraging members to use payment options such as mail, establishing an online account, or making payments by phone. If you are unable to utilize these payment options, there is a drop box located at the Mitchell Office.
We have eliminated employee travel to meetings and are limiting visits into our offices to material deliveries, cleaning services, and only absolutely necessary appointments. We have a large number of employees who are working remotely from their homes, and all our employees are practicing social distancing and proper hygiene.
If you have scheduled service work with us, be prepared to receive a phone call so that we can verify that our visit will be safe for both you and our employee. If you see crews working in the field, please respect their personal space and maintain a safe distance.
We are operating much differently than we were a month ago, but we are still getting our work done and keeping your power flowing. We are closely monitoring this quickly evolving situation and taking necessary actions to protect and continue serving our communities.
There are so many people in our communities that we need to recognize for their role in keeping us safe. Occupations like healthcare workers and emergency responders come to mind quickly, but let’s not forget occupations like farmers, truck drivers, janitors, postal workers, teachers, and workers supporting grocery, restaurants, and so many retail stores that we depend on. As you can see, this list is long and certainly not all-inclusive. We should also pray for our leaders who are making hard choices for the common good and offering words of assurance.
All of us at Central Electric know that COVID-19 is a cause for concern. Please be assured that as circumstances continue to develop, we will make decisions with the highest regard for the health and well-being for both you and our employees. I look forward to seeing you in person in September at our annual meeting.
Take Care and Stay Safe.