COVID-19: Information for Members
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, Stearns Electric has taken steps to protect our employees’ well-being to be better prepared to keep your lights on. We have put together these updates for our members. Please refer to this page for the most up to date information the Cooperative has available.
Stearns Electric Offices Closed
In an effort to keep our employees and members healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak and continue to provide reliable electric service to our members, the Stearns Electric offices will be closed to the public until Monday, April 13. This includes both our Melrose Headquarters and St. Joseph Branch Office. Members can call our office at (800) 962-0655 with any questions or to report a power outage.
Please note, the offices could remain closed for longer. We will continue to evaluate as necessary.
In order to continue providing reliable electric service to our members, it is of the utmost importance that we keep our employees safe and healthy. By closing our offices to the public, we hope to help limit the potential for employee exposure to COVID-19. Please be aware that the Cooperative strives to provide superior service to all of our members at all times. However, during this volatile time, the response time our members have expected in the past may be delayed slightly as the Cooperative adjusts its practices to ensure the health and safety of our employees.
Annual Meeting Postponed
Stearns Electric Association’s Annual Meeting, originally scheduled for April 2, 2020 at the Melrose High School Auditorium, will be postponed. The Cooperative is following federal and state mandates as they occur and will select a new date. More information will be announced as it is available.
Information on the Annual Meeting details will be included and announced in future issues of Power Connection, on our website, www.stearnselectric.org/annual-meeting and our social media accounts.
Director Elections in Districts 1, 7 and 8 and the Election of Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws
The election for Board of Director in Districts 1, 7 and 8 as well as the election for the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaw amendments will remain open until the day before the rescheduled Annual Meeting. Information on the new election closure date will be announced as it is available in future issues of Power Connection, on our website, www.stearnselectric.org/annual-meeting and our social media accounts.
Stearns Electric will be responding to power outages throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, our response times may be delayed as the Cooperative adjusts its practices to ensure the health and safety of our employees. Members can report their outages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling the Cooperative at (800) 962-0655. Members can also report their outage by logging into SmartHub on their desktop computer, or downloading the SmartHub app on their smartphone or tablet. For information on setting up your SmartHub account, please visit https://www.stearnselectric.org/account-services/my-account/account-log-in/.
Bill Payment Options
Members can pay their Stearns Electric bills in many ways. Each office has a drop box available to drop off payment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also pay your bill electronically via SmartHub, by phone via SecurePay, or by mail. Find more information here: https://www.stearnselectric.org/account-services/billing-information/payment-options/. Stearns Electric’s Billing department is available for questions during regular business hours at (800) 962-0655.
Concerns about Paying Your Electric Bill
We realize this is a difficult time for many businesses and individuals throughout Minnesota, the country and the world. If you are concerned about paying your electric bill, please contact our Billing department during business hours at (800) 962-0655 as soon as possible to set up a payment plan. Do not wait until a late payment or disconnect notice arrives. We understand that unforeseen problems occur. Our member service representatives are ready to help you through those difficult times.
Load Control Information
Our wholesale power provider, Great River Energy, determines if and when there will be load control for our EnergyWise programs. Control times are subject to change as weather conditions and/or other variables affecting the load change. We only penalize for the generator run through during control times, which typically only occurs 2-3 times per year, or less.
Members who are signed up for load control programs will continue to be updated in the same format they are now. Members can also visit our website to check load control status and times: https://www.stearnselectric.org/save-money-and-energy/tools-and-resources/load-control/.
Power Grid Information
The National Rural Electric Association (NRECA) is monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously. NRECA is partnering with other trade associations and industry stakeholders, as well as the federal government, to keep its electric cooperative partners informed and up to date.
Electric cooperatives around the country, including Stearns Electric Association and our wholesale power provider, Great River Energy (GRE), are taking steps to ensure employee health in order to maintain critical infrastructure. Great River Energy has implemented its response plan and reviewed staffing needs to ensure the organization has the right people in critical roles to provide continued reliable electric service.
Stearns Electric employees will continue to respond to power outages as they arise. If you are experiencing an outage, please report it via SmartHub or by calling (800) 962-0655.
November 30, 2020
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