Mrs. Lois Schneider retired as a billing clerk in 1992. We asked her to sit down with Jessica Johnson, who has served Baldwin EMC for seven years and works as a billing analyst.
Jessica Johnson: I understand you worked for Baldwin EMC for 23 years. What were the different positions you held?
Lois Schneider: Oh, I think I did a little of everything! When I first came on board in 1968, that was when the office was in Robertsdale and I was hired as a cashier and receptionist. Several years later I moved on to (member) accounts.
J.J.: What was the process when someone opened an account? Today, we put everything in the computer on a work order and it automatically goes to the correct department.
L.S.: No, we had to write everything out on cards! If it was a new service, we would ask them when they would be home and set up a convenient time for our guys to go out there and set them up. There were no computers sending anything anywhere, at least not in those early years. We had to get up and walk the work orders over to the appropriate department.
J.J.: Now it’s all on a computer.
L.S.: I remember when everyone thought computers would save so much time. I think, in the end, they’ve just created more work.
J.J.: What about the meters? Now we click a button to get a reading to come in.
L.S.: Back then, the guys would have to go out to the homes to get a reading. They would call us to go see which ones needed to be checked if we’d noticed anything off in the billing.
J.J.: Did you have billing cycles?
L.S.: Oh, yes! We had several – three or four, I think, by the time I left.
J.J.: We now have 15.
L.S.: Goodness, but you have a lot more meters than we did back then. Baldwin County just keeps growing, doesn’t it? When I drive down these county roads where there used to just be farms, now there are more and more houses and subdivisions.
J.J.: What was one of your favorite things about working here?
L.S.: Well, I really liked being with people – my co-workers and the customers. When I was growing up I was actually quite shy, but taking a job as a cashier where I was out in front of the public every day, that really changed me. I liked seeing my “regulars” every month and I knew everyone by name. And of course in the office, it was just like a big family.