By Tia Lynn Ivey
Although it’s certainly not business as usual, Walton Electric Membership Corporation’s (EMC) electric service has remained reliable as usual during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“There have been no issues with electricity delivery due to the current pandemic,” says Chief Operating Officer Ron Marshall. “Our employees have even been able to help other EMCs restore power that were hard hit by spring storms.”
Walton EMC sent crews to both Snapping Shoals EMC in Covington and Hart EMC in Hartwell over the past few weeks when their systems sustained major damage from high winds and trees. The damage was especially heavy at Hart EMC when almost 45 percent of their customer-owners were without power at the height of last week’s severe weather outbreak.
Regular work, like responding to outages, streetlight repairs and service installations have continued, with crews practicing social distancing while performing these tasks.
“Our employees have adapted well to changes in the workplace,” says Marshall. “They took the measures we implemented to protect their health seriously and understand that our customer-owners depend on them to keep their essential electric power flowing.”
The co-op had implemented all of Governor Kemp’s requirements for critical infrastructure businesses even before his executive order was issued. Plans are to keep many of the practices in place for the foreseeable future.
“We will return to normal business operations as soon as possible, but not before it’s safe for our customer-owners and employees,” says Marshall.
The cooperative also took measures to help customer-owners who are financially affected by the crisis. Among those are:
•Expanding payment arrangements.
•Providing extended communication regarding billing and payment resources.
Walton EMC’s Operation Round Up also distributed $131,770 throughout the community in its March grants. “During times like these, the generosity of Operation Round Up is more important than ever,” said CEO Ronnie Lee.