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2020 Recap: A Year Like No Other

January 13, 2021

Over the last year, COVID-19 did not stop the Cooperative from serving our members. We achieved tremendous accomplishments in the midst of a global pandemic. 

RELIABILITY 

Safely delivering reliable electric service to our members continues to be our top priority. In 2020, Stearns Electric completed its four-year Right-of-Way vegetation management cycle. We also made several enhancements to our 33 substations and replaced 40 miles of overhead and underground lines. 

TECHNOLOGY 

We completed several technology goals in 2020 in order to successfully transition employees to work from home. These include the deployment of Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Multifactor Authentication (MFA) software to employee computers to establish a secure, encrypted connection, and Zoom video-conferencing for connecting with others virtually. 

We upgraded our service order processing from a paper-based process to an electronic work management system, which allows us to be efficient in allocating Co-op resources and managing employee workloads. 

MEMBER ENGAGEMENT 

Since we could not safely meet in person, we modified our 2020 events as best as we could. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our in-person Annual Meeting. We live-streamed the election results and created a virtual update instead. 

Our successful drive-through Donut Dash took the place of our annual Pancake Feed. Nearly 700 vehicles drove through our event to receive donuts, milk and school supplies. 

We worked closely with members to help them manage their account 24/7 through the use of their computer, smart phone or tablet. More members are using SmartHub to make payments and view energy usage. 

EMPLOYEE RESPONSE 

In March, nearly half of our employees transitioned to working from home. A number of office employees continue to work remotely. Most meetings are conducted virtually, and employees continue to wear masks in public spaces and practice social distancing. In addition, all board meetings are conducted virtually. 

Our offices remain closed to walk-in traffic, but are open for appointments. 

We look forward to continuing to serve you, our members, by safely providing reliable electric service, beneficial energy solutions and a positive member experience throughout the New Year. 

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