Valley Electric Association Inc., like many companies and organizations, has made several shifts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a “message” on the co-op’s website from Mark Stallons, CEO of Valley Electric, it was stated that Valley is taking several actions—one being the suspension of disconnections for nonpayment, including for broadband and electric consumers directly impacted by the public health emergency.
“We have also waived late fees and deposits for customers who experience financial hardships related to COVID-19 or are unable to pay due to self-isolation,” the address stated. “Valley Electric Association encourages those affected by COVID-19 to please contact us for payment arrangements and help with applying for government assistance programs.”
Valley is also encouraging member-owners to use “electronic means to manage” their broadband and electric accounts. Valley’s administrative offices at 800 E. Highway 372 were closed to the public on March 16 due to the current health crisis.
Customer service is still available through vea.coop and through the SmartHub app, where member-owners can pay bills, apply for services and view usage. Consumers can also call 775-727-5312 for assistance.
Valley is also asking member-owners to keep their distance from crews out in the field for safety reasons.
“To ensure you continue to receive safe, reliable electric and broadband services, our crews are performing essential and critical functions,” the message stated. “Please help keep them and yourself safe by keeping a minimum six-foot separation.”
In the message from Stallons, it was stated that, “We will continue to work with federal, state and local authorities to ensure we are well-positioned to serve our members and consumers. During these uncertain times one thing is certain, our members are our neighbors and our family.”
The planned annual district meetings were postponed as of mid-March. In a March 14 press release, Valley stated that the voting process would be extended. Also, the co-op’s annual meeting was postponed for 30 days, where “the bylaw voting process will be extended accordingly,” the release stated.
Additionally, all planned meetings at the conference center have been canceled indefinitely, “including open board of director meetings, committee meetings and currently scheduled event rentals.”
Board meetings won’t be open to the public, but they can be accessed at https://vea.coop/about-us/board-of-directors/board-meetings at the scheduled time of the meeting.
Participation by Valley’s employees in large group meetings was canceled for 30 days, according to the mid-March release. And all employee travel was also canceled for 30 days at that time.
“We will continue to monitor the events and will reassess our response to this fluid event as necessary,” the release stated. “Events will be rescheduled accordingly, as space is available, and we will provide at least 14 days advance notice of any rescheduled event.”
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