As an electric cooperative, our top priority is always to provide reliable, affordable energy to you, the consumer-members we serve. Because we are a co-op, our mission is to enrich the lives of our members and serve the long-term interests of our local community. This mission has never been more critical than in recent months.
One of the seven principles that guide all co-ops is “concern for community.” To me, this principle is the essential DNA of Baldwin EMC, and it sets us apart from other electric utilities.
October is National Co-op Month, and electric cooperatives across the country are highlighting the many ways we “Power On.” Keeping this theme in mind, I recognize the essential role we play in serving a special community like ours.
Who would have fathomed in March that the COVID-19 virus would amount to a test of our community and our nation? The changing circumstances due to the pandemic have created both challenges and opportunities. Over the past several months we’ve all had to operate differently, and Baldwin EMC has stepped up to continue providing the reliable electric service that our neighbors depend on.
As an essential service, we faced the challenge of modifying our operations to safeguard business continuity. Our line crews and other employees began working on staggered schedules to maintain separation. Some staff worked remotely. In the office, we limited and modified meetings and gatherings to allow for safe separation. We also adjusted our walk-in office availability and in-person service calls to ensure the health and safety of our employees and our members.
For our members impacted by COVID-19 who needed help with their electric bills, we adapted our normal collections procedures and worked with those hardest hit to make special payment arrangements.
And while we certainly missed visiting with you in person, we found new ways to stay connected. For example, we partnered with the Wharf to host our first ever backpack drive, during which we collected your donations of school supplies for underprivileged families. We also maintained an active social media presence, so that you could stay up-to-date at a distance.
I tell you about all of these efforts not to boast about Baldwin EMC, but to explain how much we care about this community––because we live here too.
We’ve seen other local businesses rising to meet similar challenges during this time, because that’s what communities do. While the challenges caused by COVID-19 have been daunting, I hope you find it as encouraging as I do to see how everyone is pulling together.
In 1937, Baldwin EMC was built by the community to serve the community. During our 83 years, we’ve seen pandemics, natural disasters, economic recessions and several other obstacles that threatened the way we live our lives. Each one has taught us something new, and through all of them, we’ve done what we’ll continue to do – Power On.