Manager's Report - April 2016
Critical Connections Behind the Power
April 11, 2016, is National Lineman Appreciation Day, a day in which we recognize the people who often work in brutal weather conditions to ensure we all have safe and reliable power. In fact, linemen are often first responders during storms and other catastrophic events, working to make the scene safe for other public safety officers. While lineman perform their work out in the open whether it is restoring power after a natural disaster, maintaining the lines or building new service—other workers provide expertise behind the scenes to help keep the lights on.
The Power Behind Your Power
The lineman out in the field works with thousands of volts of electricity high atop power lines 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, keeping electricity flowing and maintaining the energy infrastructure. Another “powerful” figure in the co-op is Dale Short, chief executive officer. Similar to the head coach of a team, he ensures that all the players (employees) understand their roles and perform them at a high level. He also must help recruit and retain talent, a significant challenge in today’s highly competitive hiring environment.
Promoting a Culture of Safety
The Operations and Engineering department ensures that the overall system is well maintained. This team plans ahead for future needs and continually monitors existing equipment and resources. An equally important area of the department’s focus is safety. Working with electricity is an inherently dangerous task, and helping to foster a culture of safety for all workers is a major priority. Members can count on the Operations and Engineering department for everything from lighting, heating, cooling and so much more.
Calling for Energy Efficiency
The Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) answer calls and questions about billing and energy use. CSRs can help you identify high-use periods and offer ideas on how to trim your monthly bill. The Member Services department is responsible for delivering superior customer service, and it all starts when you sign up for membership. This department also organizes the co-op’s annual meeting and handles special outreach to community organizations, including schools, and communications such as this magazine.
Delivering Timely Savings
The Accounting and Finance department oversees the financial well-being of Butler Rural Electric Cooperative, manages billing and collections and oversees any loans the co-op has received. The department generates electric bills that you receive either electronically or through regular mail, often on a date that you have specified using the latest technology to ensure timely and accurate bills.
While we are a member-owned cooperative and operate differently than investor-owned utilities, we are still a business. As such, the Accounting and Finance department ensures that expenses, such as electric power, equipment, new technology, upgrades to the infrastructure, and employee wages and benefits, don’t exceed revenues.
The Human Resources department handles recruiting, hiring, retiring, benefits and initial employee orientation as well as training for all employees. Education, training and information is one of the Seven Cooperative Principles and it applies to both coop employees and our members. Ongoing training and education is crucial to maintaining a skilled workforce to keep the co-op operating at an optimal level, while sponsorship of youth scholarships and educational trips through the Youth Tour program each summer provides area youth with educational opportunities.
Staying in Sync
People from the electric cooperative’s various departments work closely together to serve you because you, the member, are at the heart of everything we do. A cooperative’s concern for community is one principle that sets us apart from other businesses. From sponsoring a local school’s baseball team to supporting new jobs and industry through our economic development efforts, we stand as a driving force in our community. The electricity we provide literally powers our communities. And it takes every person in the co-op to deliver on this promise.
Butler Rural Electric Cooperative, together with 900 electric cooperatives nationwide, provide safe, reliable and technologically advanced service to 40 million Americans while maintaining a unique consumer-focused approach to business.