Member Matters: Powering on amid disruption brought by COVID-19 By Zac Perkins, CEO
As I write this at the end of March, the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic has disrupted many areas of our lives, closing school buildings and shuttering businesses. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this disaster.
To ensure we continue to provide electric service to our members while keeping them and our employees safe, we’ve implemented the pandemic crisis response plan at TCEC. We’re following protocols outlined in the plan and implementing guidance from state and federal agencies. Most of our office employees are working remotely and our line crews are staggered to practice social distancing as much as possible.
I never thought we’d see a pandemic like this in our nation and I don’t want to tempt fate by contemplating the disasters I thought were possible. We plan for the worst and hope for the best in this business but it’s usually Mother Nature we’re up against. My first concern has been for the people we serve and the employees who make that service possible. Keeping the power on with minimal disruption to our business and our members has been our goal. TCEC brought electricity to this area 75 years ago and we’re going to continue safely powering the communities we serve for years to come. That’s not to say this pandemic won’t change some of the ways we do business.
For example, many members come by our office in Hooker to pay their electric bill every month. With the lobby closed, those members have had to turn to other ways of making payments. Our members can do business with us from anywhere using any of these methods:
- SmartHub – https://tcec.smarthub.coop/
- Pay Now – https://tcec.smarthub.coop/PayNow.html
- Phone Payments – 844-203-6547
- Payment Drop Box – In the parking lot of office in Hooker
- U.S. Mail – TCEC, PO Box 880, Hooker, OK 73945
- PaySite Kiosks – Cash, Check and Credit Cards accepted throughout our service area. Find one at https://www.tcec.coop/payment-options.
TCEC understands the hardship many of our members may face amid the coronavirus outbreak. While we have suspended disconnections for non-payment and are waiving late fees as of March 31 when I’m writing this column, members will still be responsible for those bills when the pandemic has passed. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve reminded members to be mindful of their energy use and consider adjusting certain habits to avoid higher costs later. As we transition back to normal in the coming months and this grace period ends, TCEC will work with members who are behind on their electric bills as we always do. Those members must contact us at 580.652.2418 to see what options are available to them.
I encourage anyone with questions or concerns to contact us right away so we can address them. We will have another quarterly Virtual Town Hall to provide a cooperative update and answer your questions on Tuesday, May 19, at 8 p.m. Please mark your calendar to join us.