For more than 60 years,
a publication centered on life in Mississippi.
Today is January 23, 2018

Editorial

Our New Year’s resolutions always revolve around you

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

Does anyone actually live up to their New Year’s Day resolutions? Whether we do or not, it’s interesting to think about how we could (and would) improve ourselves in the coming year.

Along those lines (no pun intended), your electric cooperative is constantly evaluating and refining its year-round efforts to make sure your electric service is the best it can be. This has been our mission since 1934, when Alcorn County residents organized Mississippi’s first electric cooperative, Alcorn County Electric Power Association in Corinth.

Today, 26 member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives together serve an estimated 85 percent of the land mass in the state.

Each cooperative is independent and locally owned, but they all work together to achieve common goals, like emergency power restoration. And each one remains true to its founders’ mission: to provide a valuable service, not generate profits.

In keeping with the spirit of the new year, I’d like to point out the ongoing resolve of electric cooperatives to help improve the quality of life throughout Mississippi:

• We make every effort to satisfy our members’ needs for high-quality electric service. Service to members is the reason for our existence. We call our customers “members” because they—not stockholders—actually own their cooperative.

• We work closely with local and regional partners in the state to bring new job opportunities to Mississippi. Business and industry must be assured they can receive top-quality electric service before they will consider locating or expanding their operations in the state. Electric cooperatives can deliver on that promise.

• We are diligent in working with state and federal elected officials to safeguard the reliability and affordability of your electric service. As long as electric cooperatives have existed, we have closely monitored legislative proposals in order to prevent any unintended consequences that could cause you to pay more than necessary, or worse, threaten the reliability or safety of our electrical system. No legislator or member of Congress wants that to happen, so they heed our counsel. We deeply appreciate their cooperation.

• Mississippi’s electric cooperatives work together to restore power as soon as possible during major outages. Rebuilding electric service is the crucial first step toward a community’s recovery from a natural disaster. We’ve developed an emergency work plan that provides for the sharing of workers and equipment to expedite the restoration of service. When the plan is activated—as it was last month when heavy snowfall caused outages across south Mississippi—it saves time and money through the efficient coordination of resources. Most important, our emergency plan helps crews return home safely. After all power is restored, we review the plan to see what improvements can be made.

• Electric cooperatives embrace new technologies that meet our high standards for efficiency, cost effectiveness, safety and reliability. Also, protecting our digital networks from intrusions by cybercriminals is a top priority. Every employee at your electric cooperative works toward this end.

Finally, I have to brag on electric cooperative employees. They are well trained and absolutely committed to serving their community. An electric cooperative is an integral part of the area it serves because it is staffed, managed and governed by local people.

Our employees know their work makes a difference in the community. Serving members, directly or indirectly, is fulfilling work.

Just ask any lineman how it feels to get the lights back on for a family on a cold, stormy night.

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