Service in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic

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With some frequency, I make mention in these monthly reports that we’re keenly aware of the fact that Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative is member-owned.  That prominent aspect of our business model motivates the cooperative’s workforce to strive ever harder in the quest to supply you with the most-reliable electric service.

This motivation is having a strong bearing on our efforts to contend with the challenges presented by the coronavirus that’s now creating havoc around the world.  Immediately after it became apparent that this pandemic was likely to cause significant problems within our own service area, the Blue Ridge team went to work.

CDC protocols

Right off the bat, we familiarized ourselves with the various coronavirus protocols that had been developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  We then held meetings with all members of the Blue Ridge workforce to bring them up to speed on those protocols.  Next, we set about to integrate those codes into the operational fabric of our organization.

For example, one of the first actions we took was to close our office lobbies.  Obviously, this step was designed to limit close contact (and the potential spread of germs) between our employees and members and other visitors to the cooperative.  With the lobby closings, members continue to have available options such as using our drive-through windows to pay power bills and transact other business.  Employees in our member service center are still in place to answer telephone calls, as well as to use online means to address members’ needs.

I won’t spend time listing all the other measures we’ve employed to conform to the CDC instructions.  What I can relate is that the cooperative is attempting to maintain a work environment for our employees that’s both safe and healthful.

Our greatest asset

At Blue Ridge, we’ve long had the understanding that our employees are our greatest asset.  The quality of our operation is directly dependent on how well these folks perform their jobs.  My assessment is that they’re applying themselves quite well to their responsibilities. 

There’s a real understanding across our workforce that the cooperative has to keep our members connected.  We have to supply you with dependable service.  That’s why we’re exercising every possible means to protect our employees’ health.  Each day, for instance, our operations crews are continuing to build new power lines and to make improvements to existing facilities.  In spite of the reality of the coronavirus, we’re on the job and are intent upon sustaining that high level of service.

Electricity is a necessity; it is indeed an essential service.  Consequently, we’re endeavoring to take care of our employees so that they can keep on seeing that your service needs will be well met.

Jim Lovinggood

President CEO