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Leading during COVID-19

Chris Meyers

When the new decade unfolded a few months ago, none of us could foresee the difficult times we would experience as the novel coronavirus (or COVID-19) first exposed itself in far-away countries, and eventually in the United States and in our state, cities, communities and even neighborhoods. The virus has caused much disruption to virtually every aspect of our day-to-day lives; as a result, we all have had to adapt to a new normal, working together to “flatten the curve” and do our part to keep more lives safe during this global pandemic crisis.

In the midst of trying circumstances, your electric cooperative also had to adjust its day-to-day operations to ensure your lights stay on, and you continue to enjoy safe, reliable and affordable electricity. Coop employees are no stranger to challenging situations; they work in challenging conditions including ice storms, floods, wildfires, in the aftermath of tornadoes and even dealing with vehicle crash situations. The truth is, co-op employees are not only well trained to provide the best quality service to consumers, they have servant hearts and genuinely care about their fellow co-op members.

In our commitment to provide this essential service to you, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have collectively incorporated different measures to ensure the safety of their employees and members; they have also updated emergency preparedness plans to manage risks and effectively anticipate and prepare for potential scenarios. Following Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines, electric cooperatives have closed their lobbies to the public while providing various means for interaction with members via mobile and digital platforms; most co-ops have implemented strategies for employees to work from home when feasible while not compromising the quality service that is delivered to you each day; still other co-ops have temporarily suspended disconnects and are working with members on a case-by-case basis to assist individuals or families who have been directly impacted by COVID-19, with the understanding that members are still responsible for their electric bill.

During this time of many unknowns, co-ops continue to innovate, adapt and lead with care and compassion. At the core of your electric cooperative, we understand that we are neighbors helping neighbors and will continue to care for one another and ensure your lights stay on.