As we all deal with the new realities brought on by COVID-19, I want to assure you that Roanoke Electric Co-op is here to help you. We have always had an emergency plan that has served us well in a variety of circumstances, from ice storms to tornadoes to flash floods.
Early in this crisis, our staff updated that plan with a special emphasis on ensuring we can continue to provide the reliable electric service you have come to expect from your electric co-op.
So far, that is exactly what has happened. We know that after an adequate supply of food and water, electricity is critical for upholding some sense of normalcy as we hunker down in our homes. With that in mind, keeping the power flowing is Job 1 for everyone involved in maintaining the electric system.
That starts with your co-op, which has taken extreme measures to ensure its workforce is healthy and its power plants are functioning as needed.
Just as you have made changes at home, we have also taken proactive steps during this pandemic to protect our member-owners, communities and employees and ensure that there is no disruption to our operations or services.
We’ve closed our lobbies to prevent the spread of germs. Instead, we are encouraging member-owners to use our drop box, mobile app, online and phone payment options and the “good old” U.S. Postal Service to pay bills.
Many of our employees are working from home. We’ve divided departments into shifts so that they can practice social distancing even when in the office. If you call, the phones will be answered as always.
By implementing remote working procedures and closing our lobbies to walk-in traffic, we are doing our part to protect our communities, while also making sure that key personnel are in place to seamlessly continue operations and provide you with high-quality service.
We have separated our line crews from other employees and have them working on alternating shifts to limit possible spread of the virus. Trucks are being relocated so that line workers can head to the job site without coming to the office. New routines are in place for contractors working on our system in order to keep them away from employees. Deliveries are being quarantined.
Our management team and board are meeting constantly to fine-tune this plan. We are in constant contact with the other electric cooperatives in North Carolina and with our statewide office, which in turn is working closely with our national association, the state legislature, state governor, and state emergency management agency.
So far, it is working well, and everyone has adapted to the new norm. That’s because we’ve done this before. Nothing brings out the best in our employees better than a crisis. It’s kind of like gold that has been tested in fire…stronger and more beautiful!
Our focus here is on doing our part to keep your life as normal as possible through this situation and beyond. The cooperative way of doing business has brought us this far, and the cooperative way will help us through this crisis.
As our state, nation and world have taken extraordinary measures to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, I am proud of the unity, resolve and strength of the shared response in our community. We are in this together, and by working together, we will overcome these challenges and find new ways to take care of each other during this critical time.
We are grateful to be a part of your community and honored to provide electricity and services that power your life. While work together to relieve the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, we are here for you, just as we always have been, and always will be.
All the best to everyone. Stay healthy, stay home and we will get through this together the co-op way!
President and CEO, Roanoke Electric Cooperative