FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: March 23, 2020
CONTACT: Erin Campbell, IAEC - Director of Communications
DES MOINES, IA - Iowa’s locally owned electric cooperatives have put plans and processes in place to protect member-consumers and employees as they continue to provide safe, reliable power during the COVID-19 pandemic. Electric co-ops regularly practice and review emergency preparedness plans and have implemented their business continuity and pandemic response plans in response to COVID-19.
“Electric cooperatives have been taking steps to prepare for the evolving COVID-19 challenges while maintaining their commitment to the member-consumers and communities they serve,” remarked Chuck Soderberg, EVP of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. “Electric co-ops have a strong track record of preparing for many kinds of emergencies and scenarios. Processes are in place to continue providing safe, reliable electricity to power members’ lives in these uncertain times.”
To support these planning efforts, electric cooperatives are reviewing staffing with an emphasis on maintaining the availability of key personnel and supplies to ensure business continuity and the reliability of their energy systems. Co-ops and others in the electric sector operate with a well-developed mutual assistance program that enables shared resources and expertise during emergency situations. Continued close coordination between co-ops, local, state and federal officials will be essential during the next several weeks.
To protect the health and safety of their employees and members, many electric cooperative offices have closed access to the public and have modified, postponed or canceled upcoming annual meetings. Many co-ops offer alternative bill payment options, including payment by phone and mail, online payment, or payment drop-off boxes to avoid social contact. Members should contact their local electric cooperative for specific details.
If a member-consumer is experiencing financial difficulty, they may apply for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) financial aid by contacting their local community action agency. The Iowa Department of Human Rights recently extended the LIHEAP application period for eligible Iowans until May 31, 2020.
Concern for community is a core cooperative principle, and Iowa’s electric co-ops are willing to work with member-consumers who may have trouble paying their bills. Member-consumers should contact their local electric cooperative directly to discuss payment options if they are facing financial hardships.
About Iowa’s Electric Cooperatives:
Owned by the member-consumers they serve, Iowa’s community-focused electric cooperatives power the lives of 650,000 Iowans throughout all 99 counties and are committed to delivering power that is safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible. Built by the communities they serve, Iowa’s electric co-ops have also invested heavily in local economic development for decades.
The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC) is a trade association established to support the interests of member-owned electric cooperatives, including 37 distribution co-ops and eight generation and transmission co-ops. Formed in 1942, IAEC aims to unify and empower Iowa’s electric cooperatives through legislative representation, regulatory oversight, training and education services, safety programs, communications support and advocacy. Learn more at www.iowarec.org.