CEO’s Message: From Plan to Practice

January 2023

By Michael S. McWaters, Executive V.P./CEO

One of the best things about kicking off a new year is thinking about all the potential of the months to come. We make resolutions for all the personal and professional milestones we want to reach and the new activities we want to try. And, if we really want to follow through, we start considering how we can accomplish that.

Getting on that path takes a lot of planning and the ability to see what problems might wait ahead so we can minimize them. It’s no different for us at Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) as we look forward to an exciting year for our cooperative.

Not only are we continuing to find new ways to bring you the affordable and reliable electric service you need, but in 2023 we will take some major steps toward bringing high-speed fiber internet to our members. That means it’s also time to start considering some of the ways we’ll need to prepare our system for this new milestone.

That’s why, in this month’s newsletter, we wanted to take a look at how your cooperative manages vegetation in rights of way. If you’re not familiar with the term, right of way simply refers to SVEC’s right to keep the areas around our electric lines and equipment clear to reduce the chance that debris like falling tree branches will knock out your service.

As you’ll see, maintaining rights of way requires diligent work on a daily basis and the foresight to plan years in advance. After all, keeping thousands of miles of line clear is no small task. It takes the combined efforts of our own crews along with contracted help. And, while it can be painful to see our favorite greenery get trimmed back, those efforts keep the lights on for all of us.

Hanging new fiber cable on our existing power lines means our right-of-way crews will have even more work. You can read more about how the new fiber will impact the space around SVEC lines and what you should keep in mind when planting new trees and shrubs to make sure our new fiber service is just as reliable as our electric service.

It’s just one more way we’re thinking about the long-term success of this cooperative for our members. While other utilities might put an emphasis on short-term profits or shareholder dividends, SVEC is part of this community. And as such, we want to do everything we can to help it thrive tomorrow and for years to come.

So as we settle into this new year, I’d like to wish all of you good luck on your own resolutions and plans for the months ahead. We’ll be here making sure you have the service you need to make them a reality