Happy New Year! I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday season. The holidays bring us together and close the year with celebration and, my favorite, delicious meals.
2020 was a challenging year for everyone, your cooperative included. Little River had to make some changes in the way we do business. Our lobby was closed to keep members, as well as our employees, safe. The lobby is very small and if modifications were made to accommodate members, only two would be allowed in at a time. While our lobby remains closed, we continue to take payments, as well as applications for membership, through the drive-thru window. As soon as it is safe, we plan to reopen. Give us a call at (864) 366-2141 or visit this website any time for payments and service needs.
Little River had some positive highlights last year. We experienced growth unlike we have seen in years. During the pandemic, our new connections for service increased. Lower interest rates are probably the leading factor for new construction. Little River benefited from lower rates as well. We refinanced several of our higher interest rate loans from Rural Utility Service (RUS) and netted substantial savings. We will continue to monitor this and look for other ways to keep rates as low as possible.
Maintaining our system
We continue to focus on maintaining our system, an important part of providing reliable service for you, our members. LREC has substantially trimmed outages with the rigorous right-of-way work being done. Our goal is to have the system on a five-year cycle as soon as possible. We have endured some outages but not as numerous or lengthy, thanks to the work being done by our right-of-way crews.
Maintenance is the sustainability of any system. This year, Little River will begin to treat 10% of our poles and get to the recommended 10-year cycle. Those of you in the Crescent area, be on the lookout for pole treaters from McCulloch Utility Services, Inc. They should have their name and our logo on their trucks.
All other equipment, transformers, reclosers, and regulators will continue to be on a daily maintenance cycle. We are always on the lookout for preventative care.
Meter project completed
As of the end of 2020, we successfully changed all the meters on our system, except for a few that opted out of the program. These meters will provide readings, voltage, current, and load data, as well as outage notifications.
As you can tell, our crews have been busy with the new growth and upkeep of the cooperative. We are fortunate that the crews have remained healthy and safe throughout the pandemic. I would like to commend all our employees for their hard work and dedication. The employees are the backbone of this organization and each one takes their job very seriously. The membership is their concern and providing great service is top of the list.
I hope that each of you has a safe and healthy 2021.