A Message for You...
Steven C. Hunt, President & CEO
What a difference only a couple of weeks can make! Today as I write this article it is sunny and 52˚F and the traffic outside my office is booming. By the time you read this article we should be experiencing temperatures in high 60s˚F to low 70s˚F. As you recall, we recently suffered from Storm Pax the week of 2/9/14. This ice and snow storm raged havoc from the south up through the northeastern territories of the United States. The storm dumped as little as 0.25” to as much as 30.0” of snow in various parts of the storm’s path. In our service territories of Robeson, Hoke, Cumberland, Scotland and Moore counties, we were pelted with approximately 5.0” to 8.0” of snow and ice. This was my first major storm experience since my employment with the cooperative and it was an “eye opener”. You know the old saying of “fire by baptism”; well it now takes on a whole new light for me. It is amazing how your perspective on events such as this changes with age. I can remember as a young boy wishing for 3 feet of snow, so I could stay home from school and go out and play. As a teammate of LREMC my perspective is totally different as I was hoping the storm would totally bypass our service territories as I truly understand the “chaos” a storm of this magnitude can create.
I have spoken with many of you recently from the different communities and you have thanked me for keeping the majority of our “lights on” during the storm. Although, I must admit I enjoyed the accolades, I would be amiss to accept all the credit. The real credit goes to all the men and women of Lumbee River EMC. Our teammates really accepted the challenge and did so without reservation. Many of our teammates worked some very long hours in very intense, cold, wet and to be quite frank, very dangerous conditions. I am equally proud of those that directly restored power as well as those who left their families in the middle of the night to answer your calls on outage reporting. To post the results we were able to post truly showed the dedication of my team and the effectiveness of our programs such as our Right of Way (ROW) Program. We spend millions of dollars annually in preventive programs such as this and this storm served as confirmation that preventive programs are worth every dime we spend. Yes, we could minimize spending on programs such as this, but in my opinion, the outages we occurred during the storm would have been much longer in duration if our ROW program was sub-par. I am pleased to announce the longest continuous outage we experienced lasted approximately 33 hours compared to several days in neighboring territories. Also, in the midst of the battle our highest number of members without power was approximately 6,500 members. That sounds like a large number, but with a total count of ~60,000 meters to have only 10% affected by the storm is great considering the severity of the storm.
I am most proud we were able to work through these dangerous conditions without any injuries and/or accidents! Every single teammate was able to go home at the end of the day with all their fingers, toes, arms and most importantly, their life! This is a very dangerous business under normal conditions, but to add the variable of weather makes it even more dangerous. I am so proud of my team for working safely and efficiently, but most thankful for God’s hand of protection through it all!
Something you may have also noticed during Storm Pax is we made the decision to close our offices during this period of inclement weather. We tracked the office visits during the previous period of inclement weather and discovered office visits by the membership was only 5% of the normal office traffic. Based on this data it was the right decision to close offices as we were able to reduce the number of teammates we exposed to the dangerous driving conditions associated with the storm.
I also wanted to communicate with you the financial impact of Storm Pax as well. Although, there was a state of emergency declared by the governor there will be no FEMA money distributed as the financial expenditures did not reach the $13.5 million dollars threshold for the state. Of the eight cooperatives affected by the storm we posted the third highest storm expenditure at approximately $150,000. The storm expenditures for the eight cooperatives ranged from less than $1000 to in excess of $2.2 million. The cooperatives affected by the storm provide electrical services to 23 of the 100 counties that comprise North Carolina.
Once again, please join me in congratulating the teammates of LREMC for their safe work performance, their dedication to you the membership and the execution of the storm recovery plan!
Steven C. Hunt
LREMC Celebrates National Lineman Appreciation Day
Lumbee River EMC is recognizing April 18, 2014, as National Lineman Appreciation Day to honor the hardworking men who work often in challenging conditions all times of the day and night to keep the power on. We are recognizing all electric linemen for the services they perform around the clock in dangerous conditions to keep the power on and protect the public’s safety.“Electric linemen do not often receive the recognition they deserve,” said Steven Hunt,
Teachers: Apply Now for Bright Ideas Grants!
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, including Lumbee River EMC, are accepting applications for Bright Ideas education grants for the 2014-15 school year. Teachers in K-12 classrooms with creative ideas for hands-on learning projects are encouraged to apply for a grant up to $2,000. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are committed to supporting local communities, and last year, Lumbee River EMC awarded $23,000 in Bright Ideas funding directly to local teachers. Since
Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation is the recipient of Federal financial assistance from the Rural Utilities Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is subject to the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, and the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture which provide that no person in the United States on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, admission or access to, denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any of this organization’s programs or activities.