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As an electric cooperative, our top priority is always to provide reliable, affordable energy to you, the consumer-members we serve. But our mission extends beyond that.
As a co-op, we strive to enrich the lives of our members and serve the long-term interests of our community—a charge that has been more critical in recent months than ever before. October is National Co-op Month, and as part of this year’s celebration, electric cooperatives across the country are highlighting the many ways we “Power On.”
Who could have fathomed at the beginning of the year that COVID-19 would test our communities and nation? The rapidly changing circumstances caused by the pandemic have created difficulties and opportunities for your co-op. Over the past several months, we’ve been challenged to operate differently, and Medina Electric Cooperative has stepped up to help our members.
One of the seven principles that guides all co-ops is Concern for Community. To me this principle is central to the DNA of Medina EC, and it sets us apart from other utilities.
The cancellation of many events made it more difficult to interact with members, but we have still been supporting communities behind the scenes. We kicked things off with a Camp Co-op giveaway, where members could enter their kids to get a kit in the mail to keep them busy before school began. We donated reusable and disposable water bottles, take-home folders, and even lanyards that keep lunch cards handy for students at area schools.
In September we hosted our first event—a drive-thru coffee mixer—at our corporate office in conjunction with the Hondo Area Chamber of Commerce. It went well and was nice to see some faces, and we hope to have similar events at other offices.
Throughout the summer, we waived late fees and worked with those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic to make special payment arrangements. In fact, our member service representatives made personal calls to more than 440 members and sent letters and emails to more than 1,270 members. They did an outstanding job working with these members at a very difficult time.
To ensure the reliability of your power, we modified operations to safeguard business continuity. Our line crews and other employees began working on staggered schedules and one to a vehicle, to maintain physical separation, and some staff worked remotely. We also closed lobbies to ensure the health and safety of our employees and valued members. We believe these measures were necessary to protect our community.
I tell you about these efforts to explain how much we care about the communities we serve—because we live here, too. While the difficulties caused by COVID-19 have been daunting, I’m heartened to see how the communities we serve have pulled together.
More than 80 years ago, Medina EC was built by the community to serve the community, and that’s what we’ll continue to do—power on.