CEC Reopens Lobbies to Members

CEO Dave MarkhamFour months have passed since Central Electric Cooperative closed its lobbies out of concern for the health and safety of our members and employees. No one could
fully anticipate or understand then how disruptive and threatening COVID-19 would be to everyone’s day-to-day lives.

Daily routines took on a new look. Many people had to work remotely, safely quarantined within their homes. Countless people lost their jobs and continue to struggle to make ends meet. Trips to grocery stores created anxiety for many, while frontline service workers faced an unseen danger. Sadly, the coronavirus has taken too many lives.

Throughout these unprecedented events, Central Electric has diligently focused on delivering you the safe and reliable service you expect. We have faced our share of challenges, but CEC and its employees have shown ingenuity and adaptability to overcome them.

I take enormous pride in how our employees execute their daily responsibilities despite the disruptions and how we continue to help members who need financial aid to pay their electric bills. As a not-for-profit business, our success cannot happen without you—the members and owners of the cooperative. Many have stepped up to participate in CEC’s Project Helping Hand program, either by signing up or by making a one-time donation to assist fellow members. Words cannot accurately convey my appreciation for these acts of kindness and generosity.

We have passed a significant milestone in this saga. With approval from the state, Central Oregon has begun to reopen its businesses, parks, churches and outdoor venues. As for us, Central Electric is preparing to open its lobbies Monday, July 6.*

As I shared with members who participated in CEC’s first-ever annual meeting conducted by teleconference last month, we have undertaken the following precautions, with the health and well-being of employees and members in mind:

• One member in the lobby at a time.
• Standing floor sign with guidelines on precautions to reduce risk to members and employees when entering the lobbies.
• Reconfiguration of the lobbies, including the installation of plexiglass protective shielding at the front counters.
• Available face masks at the lobbies’ entrances for members who would like to wear one.
• Hand sanitizing stations for members’ use before and after meeting with a customer service representative.
• Frequent sanitization of the front counter where members conduct transactions.

I hope we have turned the corner with reopening the Central Oregon economy. However, I suspect we still have a long road ahead of us due to the continuing unpredictability and vulnerability of COVID-19. CEC continues to monitor updates and new guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on COVID-19. We will continue to adapt as needed to provide you with the best service possible.

On behalf of CEC and its employees, it is a privilege to serve you.

Dave Markham
President and CEO

*Since this was written, there has been a spike in positive COVID_19 cases throughout the state and the Oregon Health Authority’s recent modeling has predicted the trend will continue. As a result, CEC has postponed reopening its lobbies until Monday, August 3. We apologize for any inconvenience this may incur. Should you have any questions, please call 541-548-2144 and a customer service representative will assist you.