CEO Message — June 2021

Storm Season Readiness

Roger Andrade headshotAs we welcome the summer, we prepare to enjoy the warmer weather and partake in outdoor activities that go with it. I, for one, look forward to summer activities like cooking out with family and friends, especially since it seems like we skipped it altogether this time last year. With spring in the rearview mirror, I can honestly say, I am much enjoying the greener landscapes. Although summer is a great time to enjoy life and vacation with the family, since the kids are out of school (for those of us who have school-aged kids at home), summer does bring conditions for severe and dangerous storms. Ever heard of the term, “Everything is bigger in Texas”? Well, that holds true when it comes to storms. As a state, we experience every type of weather condition, and at times all in a single day (I am not exaggerating here).

In our service territory, it is not a matter of “if” a storm is going to happen, but rather “when” and shortly after “how many”. Such reality is one of the many challenging aspects of serving the Co-op’s expansive and remote areas. Every year, we prepare for storm season in order to mitigate the impact, and most importantly, to reduce restoration times. Some of the key aspects of our storm preparedness involve having qualified contractors ready or actively working in various parts of our territory, in order to promptly redirect resources to areas affected. The same approach is utilized when it comes to materials and equipment; we try to stage in strategic locations, utilizing current maintenance projects as a means to cover as much area as possible. Another measure we take involves ensuring sufficient stocks of fuel at area offices to carry us through storms. This has made the difference between staying active in restoring power and having to shut down due to fuel shortages. RGEC also communicates with vendors to ensure that materials procurement will not be affected during storms.

  1. Stock your pantry with a three-day supply of non-perishable food, such as canned goods, energy bars, peanut butter, powdered milk, instant coffee, water, and other essentials (i.e., diapers and toiletries).
  2. Confirm that you have adequate sanitation and hygiene supplies including towelettes, soap and
    hand sanitizer.
  3. Ensure your First Aid kit is stocked with pain relievers, bandages, and other medical essentials, and make sure your prescriptions are current.
  4. Set aside basic household items you will need, including flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener, and a portable, battery-powered radio or TV.
  5. Organize emergency supplies so they are easily accessible in one location
  6. Sixty-three (63) days from the issuance of the bill unless a lesser period is agreed upon. If a request to avoid termination is made under this provision, the member must enter into a deferred payment arrangement and make timely payments, as specified. If the member defaults on the terms of the arrangement, RGEC may elect to terminate service. A deferred payment arrangement does not exempt the member from making payments for electrical usage incurred during the sixty-three-day extension period, or thereafter.
  7. Alternate Payment Plans.
    • Deferred payment plan. If not delinquent in paying more than two bills in the past twelve (12) months and unable to pay any or all of a bill, a member may qualify for a deferred payment plan. Such a plan requires that all subsequent bills be maintained current and that monthly payments are made in an amount not to exceed one-third of the outstanding balance. RGEC requires that a written form be signed and a copy given to the member to eliminate all doubt as to amount of payment and date due. Service will not be disconnected if the above terms are met in accordance with the deferred payment plan. The deferred payment plan may include a 5% penalty for late payment.
    • Members desiring alternate payment plans must call or come to a Co-op office to discuss/request an alternate payment plan.
  8. Service Reconnection. If service is interrupted for any of the reasons listed under Section IV of “Your Rights as a Customer”, service will be reconnected when all outstanding and delinquent bills are paid, and when a deposit is provided to RGEC. If deferred payment is agreed upon and executed, the service will then be reconnected.

Outage Two Way TextingYou can find additional resources at the following Ready website, and at Rio Grande website. Just click the Storm Center tab under the Information Tab drop-down menu. During times of prolonged outages, turn off major appliances, TVs, computers, and other sensitive electronics. Storms are unpredictable and their effects can damage your electronics during the storm, or while restoration efforts are taking place, due to power surges and other anomalies that may occur.

We make a dedicated effort to keep everyone updated on power restoration efforts, as well as, storm warnings when we see them. We encourage you to stay connected with us through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but we also recommend signing up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for emergency alerts and warnings.

Finally, it is our topmost priority to keep you informed and respond to your messages, phone calls and confirm power restoration. For that, we rely on the information we keep within our system as means to communicate back with the members. Please help make sure we have your most current contact information. This will help confirm restoration efforts. In the case of absentee landowners, we have a form that members can use to designate a contact person who can be included in the system to receive information on outage status and general account information. Please contact your local area office for the form.

I hope we don’t experience severe storms in the coming months, but nature will do what it wants to do. I strongly believe, that together, we can significantly reduce its impact. Empowering Communities; Enhancing Lives!

Need help registering for SmartHub? Call your local RGEC Customer Service Representative at (800) 749-1509 during regular business hours.