As we all deal with the new realities brought on by the coronavirus, I want to assure you that Magic Valley Electric Cooperative is here to help you. We have always had an Emergency Operations Plan that has served us well in a variety of circumstances, from hurricanes to flash floods. Early in this crisis, our staff updated that plan with a special emphasis on ensuring we can continue to provide the reliable electric service you have come to expect from your electric cooperative.
So far, that is exactly what has happened. We know that after a sufficient supply of food and water, electricity is the No. 1 thing you need to maintain some sense of normalcy as we hunker down in our homes. With that in mind, keeping the power flowing is Job 1 for everyone involved in maintaining the electric cooperative system.
That starts with our generation cooperative, South Texas Electric Cooperative, which has taken extreme measures to ensure its workforce is healthy and its power plants are functioning as needed. It extends to Magic Valley Electric Cooperative, where business may be a bit unusual, but our service remains the same.
We thought you might want to know some of the steps we have taken in order to keep your power flowing. We’ve closed our lobbies to prevent the spread of the virus. Instead, we are encouraging members to use our website, magicvalley.coop, mobile app, phone payment option, our drive-thru window, drop box and the “good old” U.S. Postal Service to pay bills.
We have also decided to postpone the Annual Meeting that was scheduled for April 13 as a safeguard against the coronavirus (COVID-19). The decision is based on a statewide recommendation and advice from state and local health care officials to limit large gatherings. A new date will be announced at a later time in Texas Co-op Power.
Many of our employees are working from home. We’ve divided departments into shifts so that they can practice social distancing even when in the office. If you call, the phones will be answered as always.
We have separated our line crews from other employees and even from each other, to limit the possible spread of the virus. Trucks are being relocated so that lineworkers can head to the job site without coming to the office. New routines are in place for contractors working on our system in order to keep them at a healthy distance from our employees and each other.
Our management team has met frequently to fine-tune this plan. We are in constant contact with the other electric cooperatives in Texas and with Texas Electric Cooperative office, which in turn is working closely with our national association. We are also in contact with the Public Utility Commission of Texas as well as city and county emergency management officials.
So far, it is working well, and everyone has adapted to the new norm. That’s because we’ve done this before. Nothing brings out the best in our employees better than a crisis situation. It’s kind of like gold that has been tested in fire…stronger and more beautiful!
Our focus here is on doing our part to keep your life as normal as possible through this situation and beyond. The cooperative way of doing business has brought us this far, and the cooperative way will help us through this crisis.
All the best to everyone. Stay healthy, stay home, and we will get through this together the cooperative way!