New Year, New Beginnings
As we wrap up the holiday season, we close one chapter and another begins. This is my first time writing to you, as I officially assume the position of president and CEO on January 7, when my predecessor Mickey Miller retires. Congratulations Mickey and thanks for your years of service. We wish you well in your future endeavors.
Beyond the change of command, we also have several other changes in our workforce. Last October, we tragically lost Donnie Propes, a 48-year employee and one of the best men I have ever known. He will forever be missed, and his legacy at Nolin RECC lives on. This past year, we also saw the retirement of several other key employees who leave behind big shoes to fill.
Fortunately, we have a great group of eager, energetic leaders who are willing to pick up the baton and propel us forward. I am grateful for the opportunity presented to me, and excited about the task at hand.
I plan to use this space to convey important messages to you, our members. Last November, we experienced an ice storm that was somewhat unexpected. While we anticipated a weather event, I don’t think that many expected the level of precipitation and associated damage that was observed across our service territory. Approximately 11,000 members were affected during that storm. Our line crews and other field personnel, along with the help of contractor tree trimming crews and 47 line workers from neighboring cooperatives, were able to restore all members within four full days of the first outages.
Communication with our members is always challenging during chaotic times. I know that many members tried to reach us by phone and were not able to speak with our representatives. I also realize that one of your chief concerns is the uncertainty of not knowing when power may be restored. Collectively, we understand. Be assured that we will continue to explore the best possible ways to convey vital and important information at all times. I also want to recap the communication options that are available and how those tools can best serve the membership and our employees who are working around the clock to restore your power.
Communicating with you
Like a milking stool, the passage of information to Nolin RECC rests on three key pillars of communication: online services, phone and data that we receive directly from your electric meter.
All members with internet access can report an outage with key details through our website (www.nolinrecc.com) or by using the SmartHub app (available on Apple or Android devices).
For members who prefer to communicate with us by phone, we can be reached at (270) 765-6153. Members have the option of waiting to speak with a representative or leaving a detailed response through our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. As wait times can become very lengthy during a major outage, we strongly encourage the use of the IVR system, as that data is processed directly into our outage system. Since the November weather event, we have worked to revamp the IVR system to be more user friendly and to provide us with more valuable information. We certainly understand the desire to speak with a live representative, but resources can become very limited during a major outage. IVR responses will help us function most efficiently, effectively and help speed up restoration.
Lastly, our advanced metering system is integrated across our service territory. In nearly all cases, if your power is off, we know almost immediately. This differs dramatically from just a few years ago when we may have relied on you to let us know your lights were out. We use extremely detailed data available from your home meter to better understand the extent and nature of the outage.
While advanced meters can inform us of an outage, we still need members to alert us to hazardous situations. For example, you can leave us a message on the IVR with phrases like “tree on line,” “line down,” “line down with sparks,” “pole broken,” “transformer broken” or “saw explosion or sparks.” These are all very simple, but offer us a wealth of information to help speed up the restoration process. Remember, never go near downed lines for further investigation or attempt to remove trees from lines. Just provide us the best information you can from a safe distance or the comfort of your home.
We will continue to use our website, Facebook, as well as radio and print media to provide general outage updates. Though it is sometimes very difficult or nearly impossible to predict, as circumstances permit, we will also attempt to provide broad restoration timelines so our members can plan accordingly. I look forward to serving you in the years ahead. Collectively, we intend to make 2019 a great year for Nolin and our members. We hope that each of you also have high aspirations for the coming year. All of us at Nolin RECC wish you a peaceful and prosperous 2019.