I want to thank the members that attended Randolph EMC’s 81st Annual Meeting. I always enjoy talking with you directly and for some, since I see you only once a year, it’s turned into our annual family reunion. Everyone seemed to have a good time as they carried out the duties of being an owner of the electric utility. If you were not able to attend this year, please plan on attending next year.
Prior to the annual meeting, we sent a survey to every member who had an email address listed on their account. We had 573 members who gave their input.
This is a shameless plug—if you have an email account, please share it with us so you can stay up-to-date on relevant programs and services, participate in surveys and provide your input. You’ll also receive information about storm response efforts and other important topics that impact you as a member.
Over the next few AWARE columns, I want to work through the survey questions, how you responded and how the co-op stacks up. This month we’ll tackle a couple of the questions.
Our first survey question is, “How would you rate the co-op’s response to restoring outages during major weather events?”
The consensus among those who responded to the survey was you all are either satisfied or very satisfied with our storm and outage responses. Your feedback helps us know we’re on the right track to providing exceptional service.
We certainly remember 2018 as being a year of major storm events. With back-to-back hurricanes and a winter storm, all within the span of a few short months, thousands of members experienced extended outages and crews worked long, hard hours to replace poles and repair damage to the electrical system. We want your power on 24/7, but when that can’t be guaranteed, our goal is to restore it as safely and quickly as possible because we know you are counting on us.
When you think about responding to disastrous situations within our communities, like major storms, we often also think about the equipment and people involved in emergency services. Randolph EMC’s business model allows us access to low- or no-interest funds through the USDA that can be used toward economic development to help support new and existing businesses in our areas.
Through this program, we provided support for our local fire departments in Bennett and Robbins. We secured $720,000 to help these departments purchase expensive, much-needed equipment that can be used to serve families in their communities. We are currently working with other emergency response agencies to apply for these funds for this coming year.
Community involvement is one of REMC’s seven adopted cooperative principles that we pride our business model on. We want to inspire those within our community to help out their fellow members through donations or acts of service, which brings us to question two.
“Please rank the following community outreach programs in order of importance as a service to the membership.”
From the survey results, educational efforts were voted the most important outreach program that the cooperative should focus on, followed by community aid and youth programs.
Each year, REMC awards $12,000 as part of the Bright Ideas Education Grant program to support local teachers and students within our communities. We also perform live-line safety demonstrations to schools and leadership groups, and participate in career days and other school events.
Community aid was a close runner up with the People Helping People (PHP) program. REMC members contribute their spare change to help fellow member families who are facing hardships in their lives, and the PHP board of directors receives matching grant funds from CoBank and Randolph EMC to earmark $10,000 for community organizations as part of the Sharing Success Community Grants program. If you are not already contributing to PHP by rounding up your power bills to the next whole dollar, I encourage you to do so.
Last, but certainly not least, was youth programs such as Touchstone Energy Sports Camp Scholarships and Rural Electric Youth Tour Scholarships. You can read all about our sports camp attendees on page D and view a video about the wonderful educational opportunity the Youth Tour was from our 2018 delegate, Roman Ferrer-Diaz on at YouTube.com. Our 2019 Youth Tourist, Macy Henson, just returned from her trip to Washington D.C. and we’ll read all about her experience in an article in the September issue of Watts Working.
I can’t thank you all enough for being member-owners of this cooperative and I want to extend a special thank you to all of our survey respondents for being extra engaged in the direction of your co-op. Next time, we’ll dive deeper into more results from the survey and find out how you all feel about new technology advances and where you feel the cooperative should be placing our focus in relation to these advances.
Dale F. Lambert
Chief Executive Officer
Learn more about Randolph Electric Membership Corporation.