A Letter to Our Members
Dear VEC Members,
As we all deal with the new realities brought on by the coronavirus, I want to assure you that Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC) is here to help you. We have always had an emergency plan that has served us well in a variety of circumstances, from ice storms to tornadoes. Early in this crisis, our staff updated that plan with a particular emphasis on ensuring we can continue to provide the reliable electric service you have come to expect from your VEC.
So far, that is what has happened. We know that after a sufficient supply of food and water, electricity is the number one 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 the highest priority for everyone involved in maintaining the electric cooperative system.
That starts with TVA, which has taken extreme measures to ensure its workforce is healthy, and its power plants are functioning as needed. It extends to the 23 cooperatives that deliver electricity across Tennessee, and it includes VEC 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 germs. Instead, we are encouraging members to use our drive-through, our dropbox, online and phone payment options, and the U.S. Postal Service to pay bills.
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. Our call center has extended its hours temporarily. 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 to keep them away from employees. Deliveries are being quarantined.
Our management team and board are continually communicating to fine-tune this plan. We are in contact with the other electric cooperatives in Tennessee and with the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, which in turn is working closely with our national association, the state legislature, and Governor Bill Lee.
So far, it is working well, and everyone has adapted to the new norm. Nothing brings out the best in our employees than a crisis. It’s kind of like gold that has been tested in fire…stronger and more refined!
Our focus 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!
CEO and President
Volunteer Energy Cooperative