Good morning and congratulations on celebrating Rio Grande Electric’s 76th Annual Meeting with us today. I hope you are happy, healthy, and especially comfortable—we have quite a bit more to share with you this morning.
It is true! A lot has happened this past year at Rio Grande Electric and the happenings do seem to continue, and even so, all around us in the world today. From an operational standpoint, I can whole-heartedly assure you that Rio Grande Electric Cooperative remains POWERFUL in its mission to provide SAFE and RELIABLE energy services—because it’s who we are and what we do for those we are privileged to serve. Rio Grande Electric is a workforce of 162 dedicated employees, working hard out of SIX area locations to maintain 9,990 miles of energized line and 14,912 services in place, within a 35,000 square-mile service territory—serving the largest territory among all electric cooperatives in the contiguous United States, and most investor-owned utilities, for that matter. [INSERT SERVICE TERRITORY MAP]
With an efficient use of engineering resources and technology, field crews SAFELY maintained RGEC’s critical infrastructure and just in time, I might add—when civilization, as we know it, was threatened by the very nature of the living world. Steering through such dangers hasn’t been easy, nor cheap but we stayed the course and continued working towards improving the overall health of the distribution system and member experience.
Operations field crews alone have driven a little over 1 million miles and worked 111,000 hours, this year—performing maintenance, and of course restoring the extraordinary winter storm outages touching almost every service across Texas—in total, field crews have restored 3,415 outages. They connected 155 new services; and centered on 84 construction projects—conducting inspections, pole replacements and substation upgrades throughout the system.
With only 3 Lost Day Injuries—knock on wood—line work is both a craft and skill that RGEC Linemen take very seriously…every day, SAFETY, is their commitment to each other and their loved ones—and there’s still a lot of work to do, which brings me to the Construction Work Plan recently approved by RGEC’s Board of Directors—this report was developed by evaluating existing and projected system configuration, voltage levels, and load balance to provide us an orderly plan to carry out construction and other needed improvements for the next 4 years. –Year 1 work is scheduled for 2022.
HEALTH and SAFETY are at the core of our challenges this year; and our efforts to preserve a healthy workforce are purposeful—(PPE, social distancing, split-shifts, electronic communications, virtual meetings and the constant disinfecting and screening to name a few) allow us to align our commitment to serve and our vision forward. The sacrifices made do not go unnoticed. To the families of Co-op Employees, THANK YOU for sharing your loved ones with the membership and your communities. They are the heroes, giving selflessly to make a true difference in the world.
You see the linemen working in your area and immediately associate them with the Co-op, and maybe you’ve had the occasion to meet the customer service representatives at your local area office. But you may not have realized that there are a multitude of people working behind the scenes at Rio Grande,keeping things running smoothly day-in and day-out.
It’s unlikely you will ever meet the employees in the accounting or billing departments, for example, Or the GIS and staking technicians, or the project managers or systems engineers. And while they may not be as visible as the linemen, all these employees, and scores of others, are nevertheless important to the daily operations of the Cooperative. Like everyone at Rio Grande Electric Cooperative, they never forget that they work to serve you! If they're not serving your directly, they're serving someone who is.
My name is Theresa Quiroz, COO of Rio Grande Electric, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share this information with you. Thank you for taking the to connect with us today. Stay safe, and stay watchful, we still have more prizes to give away!