08:50 AM

Perspective: Behind the Scenes at Your Co-op

Have you ever watched a TV show about the making of one of your favorite movies? I’m a big "Star Wars" fan, so I always enjoy learning how filmmakers brought the fantasy worlds and characters of "Star Wars" to life on the big screen. When I watch one of those behind-the scenes shows, I’m always impressed how so many elements — from the storylines to set designs — come together to create such memorable films.

In "Star Wars,” my favorite scenes are the battle scenes. You can always count on a lot of action on the front line. Here at Jackson EMC, most of the “battle scenes” take place when our linemen are working to restore power after a storm. But just like a movie, a cooperative has many behind-the-scenes roles that work together seamlessly. With October being National Co-Op Month, it’s a great time to give you a behind-the-scenes tour of your cooperative in action.

Across the cooperative, you’ll find employees supporting each other to keep the lights on. For example, the work of our warehouse staff, ensures our crews have the equipment they need to restore power. Mechanics in our auto shops ensure each of our fleet vehicles is operating optimally for routine drives and challenging terrain, such as reaching downed power lines in remote locations. Our right-of-way crew leaders work with contractors to help clear vegetation near our power lines and equipment, which can make a significant difference in providing reliable electricity to homes and businesses. Meanwhile, our safety trainers educate all Jackson EMC employees on how to remain safe in their jobs.

For many members, their “opening act” is when they engage with one of our customer service representatives to set up service. Likewise, our district offices across our service area are like the backdrop. Each of those offices is maintained by our facilities technicians, who perform mechanical and electrical maintenance work in our buildings. In purchasing, our employees buy anything from electrical wire to bucket trucks to ensure the co-op’s efficient construction, maintenance and operation. Our finance and accounting staff helps ensure your cooperative’s finances are managed efficiently. To plan for the future needs of the cooperative, our strategic planning and analytics team gathers insights and data about our operations to take the next steps forward.

Over the years, the film industry has enhanced its technology to make movies more exciting for fans. I think the same could be said for our online and mobile app tools. Our information technology team helps develop, implement and manage the technology that’s the backbone for serving members. In addition, our technical services team manages our phones and radios, along with our more than 242,000 meters.

“Star Wars” movie posters are known for showing the host of characters fans can expect in each film. We also like to showcase what members can expect from programs that promote energy savings. Our residential energy advisors play a key role here in helping educate members about saving energy in their homes. Our business development managers work with commercial and industrial members to ensure they have the exceptional service they expect from their energy provider. District managers cultivate relationships with local leaders and legislators on community and legislative efforts that impact the co-op.

Like a movie set in the future, our planners look at what’s ahead for the cooperative. Our engineers, for example, play an important role in bringing you reliable electricity now and in the future. They develop long-range plans for where we should install new power lines and build new substations. We also depend on our engineers’ expertise to forecast our members’ energy needs and manage our power supply, such as energy generated by renewable resources. Every day, operators in our system control have a 24/7 responsibility to manage our distribution system.

Next time you go to the movies, remember the supporting staff that makes that movie come to life on the screen. And next time you have a chance to interact with your cooperative, think about our behind-the-scene “actors” that help keep the lights on. After all, it’s our electricity that keeps those movies playing! Rest assured, behind the scenes at Jackson EMC, there are some great people with the experience and knowledge to serve your cooperative and keep that electricity flowing!

Decreased demand for electricity during the winter enables Jackson EMC to pass savings along to you through lower electric rates. Winter rates begin in October and continue through April.

Have a story to share about the roles at Jackson EMC? Email me at [email protected]