I love the town of Mayberry. The
Andy Griffith Show has always been one
of my favorites. Everyone knew everyone.
If someone had problems the whole town
rallied to help. It is the kind of town many
people would like to call home.
My, how times have changed. Most of
us are too busy to be “neighborly.” While
I still think the majority of people are
good-hearted and honest, we don’t take time
to develop relationships with neighbors.
Barney’s silly antics would not be tolerated
in today’s society where we have grown to
expect efficiency and top quality service.
A member called recently more
than slightly upset because he had
received a notice that payment
had not been
received on his account and
he was subject
not understand why
we had not notified him
sooner, because he had always
paid his account and he was personally
offended. I am certain he
is a very conscientious member and this was
the first time he had received a disconnect
notice. If he had been living in Mayberry
the postmaster might have let him know he
had not spotted his payment pass through the
post office this month.
Here is the problem. IEC has grown to
be a co-op with over 18,500 accounts and
the processing and mailing of electric bills
are outsourced because it is the most cost-effective method. We have five employees
who take payments, handle new accounts,
schedule disconnects and reconnects, as well
as monitor past due accounts.
To offer the kind of personal
service this member expects is
possible – if we made the decision to add additional personnel
so each account could be personally
monitored. But how much is each
member willing to pay for that service?
At a time when the wholesale cost
of power is expected to increase
by double digit percentages for
each of the next few years, we are
looking for ways to keep IEC’s
costs as reasonable as possible.
That means doing more with less.
IEC Terms & Conditions of Service
have recently been re-written and updated
to reflect current member needs. They
are structured to pass the costs of service
to those who create the expenses. Today’s
members want reliable service at a reasonable
cost and are less willing to “share” the costs
created by a segment of the membership that
is habitually late in paying its bills or that
tries to tamper with its meter to receive free
Unfortunately, we don’t live in Mayberry and are not capable of knowing
everyone’s first name. We can’t watch each
account on a personal basis each month.
It is a real balancing act to provide quality
service while keeping costs low. We strive to
provide prompt, friendly service whenever
you call the Cleveland or Fairfax office with
payments, questions, or concerns about your
electric service. Aunt Bea or Thelma Lou is
not available to take your call, but one of our
cashiers or customer services representatives
will be just as happy to assist you.
by Karen Davis, IEC Office Manager