TCEC Employees in A.C.T.I.O.N
Over the last 80 years TCEC employees have often been found serving in the community. Having a passion for service to the communities we power is standard amongst employees here at the co-op. Local food drives, serving meals to young athletes, visiting nursing homes, building wheel chair ramps, raising money for charity, or donating blood; employees always find a way to give back.
In 2019, a bright idea amongst employees was given full support by management and the A.C.T.I.O.N Fund was born. A.C.T.I.O.N – A Cooperative Team Investing in Our Neighborhood is an employee directed giving program to allow employees to have a payroll deduction or make single contributions to a charitable fund managed by a committee of TCEC employees. The fund is used to make charitable contributions on behalf of contributing employees to various 501(c)3 organizations in Madison, Jefferson, Taylor and Dixie County. The fund is also used to assist employees and community members in need.
During the short time that TCEC employees have been in A.C.T.I.O.N – numerous organizations including Taylor County Special Olympics, United Way, Second Harvest Food Bank and Madison Farm Share program have all received A.C.T.I.O.N funds to help power the work they are doing for others in need.
The makeup of the electrical grid since the inception of Tri-County Electric Cooperative has come light years ahead from the day the lights were first turned on. The goal of just delivering power to our members in the early days has shifted to delivering power with the highest reliability possible.
Monthly, the Operations and Engineering teams meet for the purpose of reviewing and discussing reliability issues with a single focus of finding ways to improve service and reliability for our members. Valuable information is collected and analyzed and often results in action being taken by the Operations department.
Some of the initiatives completed during the last twelve months include:
Upgrades were made along seven miles of the Lovett circuit out of our Greenville substation. Larger poles and wire were installed on this circuit to increase reliability for our members.
Completion of Phase I of the replacement of damaged and/or aging wooden poles on the Cross City to Steinhatchee transmission line occurred in the fall of 2019. Phase II of this highly coordinated multi-crew project will occur later in 2020.
A large part of the Operations budget is designated for right-of-way maintenance. TCEC’s contracted right-of-way crews completed 600 miles of right-of-way maintenance in 2019. They are on pace to complete another 600 miles of cutting and trimming along the right-of-way coming from the Aucilla, Sonnie and St. Augustine substations in 2020.
Your Cooperative Finance department has successfully complied with all regulatory agencies requirements over the past year. We remain watchful over the cooperative accounts with various banks we have relationships with and we are always on the lookout for fraudulent transactions to help minimize our exposure to cyber threats.
Using best practices, your Cooperative’s Finance department has been able to obtain the maximum reimbursements from FEMA for all declared storms (Hurricanes Hermine, Irma and Michael) in conjunction with the 100% verification process implemented by the Florida Department of Emergency Management. These aforementioned achievements are all instrumental in maintaining the financial resources the cooperative needs to finance the numerous work plan projects and jobs required to provide affordable and reliable services to our members. We establish and maintain strong relationships with material and equipment vendors to ensure we are getting the best value for our purchases and the supply chain remains strong.
The department remains focused on monitoring of the checks and balances of all financial activities that are reflected annually in clean audits at the end of each year. We stand ready and committed to maximize the utilization of financial resources to ensure all strategic objectives of the cooperative are fulfilled in an efficient and effective manner.
The Engineering team is constantly analyzing and determining the areas of most critical need within the system to ensure system stability and reliability. Projects are constantly developed and implemented to remediate problem areas. A project that will be completed this year is a five-year effort of connecting all the Cooperative’s main circuits with full remote control from the centralized control center. With this remote control and data collection, the system control team can dispatch linemen and resolve outages in a much quicker fashion.
The advances in technology have created the emergence of the smart grid or self-healing grid. This is an initiative to put electronic devices in key locations to isolate areas that have a problem and to immediately restore power to as many people as possible through automatic switching. Your cooperative continues to implement projects every year to automate the distribution of power using smart grid technology.
Advances in technology have drastically changed the world we live in and the way we operate each day. The impact of technology on work has increased the rate of production and speed at which business occurs making our employees more efficient. What use to take hours now can take minutes. Messages and information can be exchanged instantly between co-workers.
Today, TCEC members have their electric cooperative at their fingertips with online and mobile account management options. Although it creates a convenience for members on the go, members have not lost the face-to-face interaction that they have enjoyed in our offices or drive-thru locations over the years.
Taking advantage of these advances in technology and implementing them throughout the co-op made the hurdles of the COVID-19 pandemic easier to manage. Thanks to online communication tools, technology enabled us to work more closely in some ways as we were required to work remotely. While employees were deployed to work distantly, with laptops, online phone systems, and other technology, there was little down time and employees were able to continue serving members, no matter their location.
For a brief period, because of COVID-19, TCEC made the decision to close its lobbies, and members though not able to come into the office, were still able to manage their electric account in person through the drive-thru, online or on their mobile device. Member satisfaction and excellent customer-service remains the top priority of the Corporate Services department.