CEO’s Message: Planning for the Unexpected

December 2020

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

As we approach the end of another year, I think many of us find ourselves hopeful and eager to turn the page on 2020. But we also have a chance to reflect on our most recent trip around the sun. I don’t know about you, but as I look back I can’t help but think there are some things you just can’t anticipate.

At the start of the year, few would have predicted a global pandemic or the impact it would have on our daily lives. Even if they did, preparation can only take you so far. We know a thing or two about that in the electric industry. At Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) we work hard throughout the year to strengthen our electric system, but we know that a severe storm could strike and undo much of that work at any moment.

No system is invulnerable, which is why it is so important that we take the opportunity to plan ahead and act where we can. One way we are able to do that is through planned outages on our electric system.

While these outages can be an inconvenience, they are important for ensuring our system is ready when the unexpected happens. The cooperative might schedule outages to perform routine maintenance safely, upgrade our equipment or relocate lines for public infrastructure work.

You can read more about why planned outages are important to our electric system and what you can do to prepare for them in this newsletter. I encourage all of our members to take a moment to read about them so you can better understand the role planned outages play in maintaining reliable service.

This year also saw the most active hurricane season on record, with dozens of named storms. While SVEC was fortunate to weather these storms safely, the same was not true for some of our sister cooperatives across the Southeast. We were proud to live up to our cooperative principles by supporting those in need of help, sending volunteer crews to aid five cooperatives in three states.

SVEC was also excited to take part in several community traditions this fall, from the Live Oak Veterans Day Parade and Melody Church’s pumpkin patch to organizing another blood drive and donating more than 800 pounds of food to local families via Love INC.

Finally, I would like to wish all of our members a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. We may not be able to plan for everything that 2021 has in store, but you can rest assured that SVEC will continue to strengthen our system so we can bring you the reliable service you deserve.