Rural Missouri - September 2013 - (Page 5)
Hart to Heart
Being the best in the business
by Barry Hart
ow are we doing? Those
involved with operating
your electric cooperative
need to know the answer to
that question. They want to know if
their plans and policies are providing
you with the affordable and reliable
service you need.
For this reason, wholesale power
supplier Associated Electric Cooperative conducts a survey every three
years on behalf of participating co-op
systems. The survey not only gauges
member satisfaction, but it also helps
us learn more about those we serve.
The results of the latest survey, a compilation of more than 9,000 completed phone calls, were released recently.
Some of the results confirmed what
we already suspected, while others
were a little surprising. For example,
the survey shows that more than half
of Missouri electric co-op members
are over the age of 55. That wasn’t
a surprise. The survey also showed
most members have had a long-term
relationship with their electric co-op.
More than half have been an electric
co-op member for at least 20 years,
and these members were the most satisfied with their cooperative.
Overall, you told us you are very
satisfied with the overall performance
of your local co-op. In fact, satisfaction levels were higher for electric
co-ops than for all other utility service
providers monitored by the American
Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
Our average ACSI score was significantly higher than any other segment of the electric utility industry.
In another benchmark of member satisfaction, 82 percent said they would
stay with their electric
co-op if given a choice
of suppliers. That figure is also significantly
higher than any other
Some of the highest
ratings in the survey
came in core operational areas such as providing reliable service,
restoring outages quickly and handling problems. These results seem
to validate the widely
held belief that electric
cooperative employees are extremely
good at their jobs.
On the other hand, the survey
shows we need to do a better job
communicating what we are doing
to ensure you receive good value for
your money. It’s clear members are
struggling with the economic realities
of today’s economy.
Electric co-ops need to share with
members the steps
being taken to contain
future cost increases,
while also pointing out
the value of electricity
in an era of rising costs
for other energy sources
such as gasoline.
In short, the survey
says we are good at
doing what we are in
business for, which is
providing electricity at
the lowest possible cost.
What we aren’t so good
at is pointing this out.
“Overall, you told us your electric cooperative
continues to enjoy high levels of satisfaction
across the state.”
It appears we also need to spend
more time demonstrating the many
advantages of belonging to a cooperative. While 45 percent consider themselves a member, about half identified
themselves as a customer.
Another important series of questions we asked concerned environmental regulations that will affect
your electric bill. Generally, you told
us you do not feel concerned about
issues such as climate change and 70
percent said they would not pay any
more to combat this issue.
We were pleased to see that members get most of their information
about their electric cooperative from
Rural Missouri. But we also spotted
a trend toward greater use of social
media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
You can expect us to step up our education efforts on these new media.
Many thanks to all of you who
took the time to respond to this survey. You helped provide us with critical information that will guide us in
our efforts. While we are excited to
see these high satisfaction levels, we
see plenty of room for improvement.
Rest assured, your electric cooperative will continue to work at being the
best in the business.
Hart is the executive vice president of
the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
Hearts and hands helping communities
by Marisa Christy-Kerns
any individuals living in
rural Missouri take pride
in the beauty of their
homes, land and communities. With this pride comes the
dedication to do what is necessary to
preserve this beauty.
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has the AdoptA-Highway Program where many
individuals and organizations adopt
sections of road in and around their
homes and communities. They give of
their time to keep the areas clean and
to preserve the beauty of the land.
Adoptions could be litter clean-up,
mowing, beautification or growing
native wildflowers and grasses. Whatever the adoption, it is the volunteers
in the program who make all the difference in the world in keeping Missouri beautiful.
When driving down the road, you
might notice a blue sign along the
road that reads “In Loving Memory of
(Name).” Those individuals are turning sorrow into smiles, as that sign
is a representation of an adoption
in the Adopt-A-Highway Program in
memory of their loved one. As they
are preserving the beauty of the land,
they are at the same time preserving the memories they have of their
loved one through this service. Their
hearts and hands are reaching out to
keep the roads clean
and beautiful for their
state and community,
all in the name of
their loved one.
Another sign you
may notice along the
roadside reads “Area
an organization or
business name below
it. It may be an area in
a park or near a business. These organizations are preserving a
piece of Missouri by
adopting the area for beautification.
From mowing the area, landscaping
or planting flowers or shrubs, these
organizations want this to be a spot
for people to enjoy, whether they are
stopping to rest on a park bench or
just driving by.
These are just a
couple of adoption
examples. The AdoptA-Highway Program
began in Missouri in
1987, and now there
are more than 4,000
groups and 40,000 volunteers in the program
that cover approximately 5,800 miles.
As coordinator of the
program for MoDOT’s
Northeast District, I am
proud to say we have
“Thank you to all Missourians for what you do
to help keep our state looking wonderful.”
417 groups taking care of 723 miles in
our 17 counties alone.
As you can see, there are numerous community organizations, church
groups, businesses and families that
make it a priority to help keep Missouri roadsides and communities
clean. These individuals are not only
community leaders, youth or families
of lost loved ones, they are all individuals putting their hearts and hands
to work toward the same goal — keeping their homes, land, communities
and the state of Missouri beautiful for
generations to come.
If you are not currently part of the
Adopt-A-Highway Program, but would
like more information, you can visit
our website at www.modot.org/services/community/adoptahighway.htm
or give us a call at 1-888-ASK-MODOT
(1-888-275-6636) and ask for the
Adopt-A-Highway coordinator in your
area. We would love to visit with you.
Thank you to all Missourians for what
you do to help keep our state looking
Christy-Kerns is a senior customer
relations specialist and Adopt-A-Highway
coordinator for the MoDOT Northeast
District in Macon.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - September 2013
Rural Missouri - September 2013
Scorching the border
Blasts from the past
Out of the Way Eats
Mowing down the competition
Hearth and Home
A place for Pershing
Rural Missouri - September 2013