I hope that each of you is healthy and taking care during this pandemic. COVID-19 has taken a toll on many things this year, including our Annual Meeting. At press time, we were in our second week of drive-thru registration and voting, and it is working well. We will consider using this technology for future in-person meetings to assist with mass registration. Thanks for taking the time to come out and take part in the business of your cooperative.
We have had a very active summer with thunderstorms and tornadoes. These storms have caused numerous widespread outages across our system. Thankfully, most have not caused major damage, but a few outages have been lengthy due to broken poles. There have been two extended outages due to our power supplier. We strive to provide fast, reliable restoration, but sometimes repairs can take longer, or in some cases, we have no control over the issue. We appreciate your understanding when this occurs.
Little River has contracted with the Cooperative Response Center (CRC) for several years now for our after-hours dispatch. These dispatchers will ask the questions from a script prepared by Little River. I know some questions seem annoying, especially when it’s obvious we are having bad weather and numerous outages and they ask, “have you checked your breakers.” The dispatchers are not in our area and are unaware of our weather conditions.
When conditions cause our outage numbers to increase significantly, we will have some of our staff come in and take over assigning crews to the outage locations. CRC will continue to take these calls, and many times a call will go to an automated system. The calls will be sent to us along with any information you may provide. In the past, we have made many trips to a residence and found that it was a breaker tripped on the member’s side of the service. This is very costly, and in an attempt to keep our costs low, we must ask that question and explain the cost you will incur if this does happen. We have had great service from CRC and, with our small staff, they greatly fill the needs of the service they provide for Little River and our members.
We are vigorously cutting and trimming rights of way to help with outage issues. This is an ongoing service and is extremely expensive. Little River’s outage numbers have decreased significantly due to this process. Our contract crews are doing a tremendous job and if there is an issue, they have been very willing to assist to resolve it. Little River’s policy follows guidelines set by RUS (Rural Utility Service) from which we borrow money to keep the cooperative running. The standard set by RUS is 15 feet from each conductor on each side of the existing right of way. These crews are to adhere to these standards and nothing more. Please keep in mind that anything extra would cost the cooperative and be passed on to our members.