Last year was a challenge like we’ve never experienced. The COVID pandemic forced us to do things differently – pivot – adjust – reevaluate. It took some quick thinking and action from our team, but we were able to transition and continue delivering on our mission to provide reliable, affordable, friendly service to our members and communities.
If anything, the pandemic highlighted how well prepared and flexible our cooperative is in any situation. The technology already in place allowed us to transition our team quickly and easily to working remotely. Our established communication channels and relationships with our community partners allowed us to communicate our response plan to a broad audience. We leveraged our proactive member service programs such as the PrePay program and the strong personal relationships we’ve cultivated with our members to help them continue to pay their bills through difficult times.
In a year that could have been very tumultuous, our cooperative was able to operate seamlessly and maintain a very stable financial position, which is illustrated in the 2020 annual report. As you can see, our purchased power costs continue to make up the largest portion of our operating budget, but we remain steadfast in working to control expenses. Based on our equity ratio, we continue to be financially stable. Our cooperative is unique in that we have a higher percentage of commercial and industrial load compared to residential.
Moving forward, I am excited about the future of Decatur County REMC. As I’ve shared, we are undergoing a very intensive strategic planning process leveraging all key stakeholders including our team, our board of directors, our members, our community partners, and other industry experts. We are uniquely positioned to provide services and programs to move our communities forward and 2021 is the year we will forge the path.
In closing, let me be very clear – Decatur County REMC is for the members, by the members, and exists because of the members. We are forward-thinking and innovative. We are open and honest with each other. We are committed to making our communities stronger and we care. While there may be differing opinions, we welcome engagement – we can all work together to make our cooperative the best that it can be.
I encourage you to participate and engage as a member of YOUR cooperative by voting in the upcoming election, engaging with us through various platforms and reaching out when you have questions or concerns. My team and I are available 24/7 and we look forward to hearing from you!