A new season

By David Bailey, General Manager

April is a time when we see change almost everywhere. With so much farming in our area, the sowing of new crops is always an important event. I’ve always enjoyed participating in that by planting my own garden, even if my wife and I have had to scale back our botanical ambitions over the years.

This is also the time of the year when teachers and students can see the end of their school term, and when they can start making plans for the summer. And, of course, everyone can shed their winter coats to enjoy a short-lived Southern spring.

The warm weather will be more welcome this year than most, as we have all just come through a particularly chilling early winter. For many of our members, cold weather has meant surprisingly high energy bills. That’s why at South Alabama Electric Cooperative, we want to encourage our members to conserve energy at all times.

But I also know firsthand that conservation can be easier said than done. In my own home, I have tried to tell my girls that keeping the electric bill consistent means turning the thermostat down, not up, when it gets cold outside. They don’t always find that argument especially convincing.

Of course, not all of the season’s changes are welcome. This time of year often means the arrival of inclement weather, so I want to remind all of our members how important it is to have a plan. Make sure everyone in your family knows where to go and what to do in the event of a tornado warning.

In the coming months, SAEC will face its own set of challenges – albeit very positive ones. Tow months ago we shared a story with you about Angela Dykes, a cooperative employee retiring after 35 years. In the coming year, several more may join her.

As a result, we want to create opportunities for longtime employees to shine, like Dewayne McGhee, whose promotion you can read about in this issue. It also means welcoming new faces into our SAEC family and teaching them the cooperative way.

In addition, our area has experienced a great deal of economic growth. We’ve seen an economy that struggled in recent years pick up steam, and we have watched as local businesses benefited. With its $105 million expansion, Wayne Farms has become the largest employer in Coffee County. The recent announcements of a Conecuh Ridge Distillery and Kimber Manufacturing gun production facility in Troy only give our area more to look forward to.

I’m also pleased to welcome our new industrial member Rex Lumber. They announced plans to build a state-of-the-art lumber manufacturing facility in Pike County just last month. The sawmill is a $110 million investment in the local economy and is expected to create more than 110 high-quality jobs.

We’re proud to be an economic partner in Coffee, Crewnshaw and Pike counties where we serve. None of that growth would be possible without a robust and reliable electric system, but the work that goes into building and maintaining that system doesn’t often get the spot-light.

That’s why we’re proud to present the second part of our feature series on the journey of electric power in this month’s issue. It picks up after power has been generated and transmitted to take a look at what goes into distributing it to our members.

I’m proud to be a part of a cooperative that does so much for growth of our community, and I am excited to see what the new season holds.

 

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