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YEC employees work together as a team to get the lights back on. To give you a glimpse of what it looks like from those working on the lines, we interviewed five operations department employees. Although their job titles, skills and years of experience are different, they all have a common goal to look out for you—our valuable members.
Zack Smith, Michael Hill, Brandon Fite, Tommy Huffstetler and Matt Craven all emphasize the importance of being prepared to stay safe and focused during storm work. When asked, all of them discuss keeping their equipment in good shape, stocking their trucks with materials needed to make common repairs, inspecting their personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure it’s in working order, stocking up on water and snacks and making sure they have spare clothes, especially dry socks.
As far as equipment goes, 11-year employee Michael Hill points out that one of the most useful tools during storm recovery is a chainsaw.
“In a storm, your chainsaw can be your best friend,” Hill says, “so I always make sure it is sharp and running properly.”
Tommy Huffstetler also talks about the necessity of charged batteries and working lights since many outages occur at night.
Just like our employees look out for you, they also look out for each other. Fite, who has only been at YEC for a year, enjoyed working and learning during the last storm.
“It was a great experience,” he says. “I had a great teacher, Matt Craven, leading me and showing me the ropes. I thought it was also great to see how all the guys had the same goal of making sure our members are taken care of and happy.”
That same preparedness also applies on the home front. Smith, a 14-year employee, adds, “When we have the luxury of time to prepare, I will make sure my family is safe, has a plan and is prepared with supplies if needed because, chances are, I won’t be there with them. That helps me focus on my work when the time comes.”
Being prepared helps, but storm recovery is hard work.
“Sometimes it’s tough; you really have to dig deep. Storms can be very physically, mentally and emotionally draining,” says Craven.
While our safety programs and procedures help safeguard our employees against hazards, their real motivation to stay safe lies with being able to go home to their families and helping their neighbors.
Huffstetler says he looks forward to “going home to my family the same way I left them and helping the community in a time of need.”
Craven adds, “We are motivated to always do all that is possible for the member, but we also want to get home safely to our families. My wife and kids are always on my mind, too.”
At the end of the day, they want to get the lights back on—no matter the challenge. Smith says, “For me it’s rewarding to overcome the challenges and help people get back to normal after being without heat, AC, lights, water and so on—possibly for hours or days.”
And it helps to know, as Hill says, “When the lights are on you get to go home to your family.”
They speak for everyone at YEC when they say they want to get the lights back on as soon as possible.
YEC understands many members have been affected by the recent storms in our area. During Easter weekend, approximately 25% of our membership, across our entire service territory, experienced an outage. This is the largest amount of damage we have seen in more than 10 years. We appreciated your patience as we worked to make repairs, restoring power to all accounts by the next day. As our crews work to safely repair damages from severe weather, we want our members to understand the work we do ahead of time to prepare and what it takes to get your lights back on. Vice President of Energy and Delivery Denny Lynn offers insight on storm work and life on the line.
What is the biggest challenge we face when we have a storm?
Lynn: We face many challenges during and after a storm. Challenges include staying safe in storm damaged working conditions and finding access through the damage to our facilities. Above all, we want to make sure our employees are protected and stay safe. There is also a struggle of balancing our strong desire to restore service quickly with ensuring the safety of our employees, making sure they receive proper rest and nutrition. It is also challenging to determine how to best utilize our available YEC resources to best serve our members, as well as acquiring other assistance and resources from other cooperatives and contractors.
What precautions do we take to prevent storm damage?
Lynn: YEC is proactive in annual preventative maintenance on all aspects of the electric distribution system. From our aggressive right of way schedule, to maintenance and upgrades to facilities on all parts of our system, we always have storms and excellent service in mind. YEC stays on an annual maintenance process, constantly working to make the electric distribution system stronger and better.
Why do some repairs take longer than others?
Lynn: Repairs that take longer are often due to the extent of the damages and the problems of access to lines and facilities. Our employees are well trained and proficient in performing restoration in difficult situations and challenging conditions, but these situations of extensive damage and difficult access do extend restoration times occasionally. Many people are involved when a storm hits.
Can you describe the teamwork that takes place at YEC?
Lynn: Every department and every employee of YEC is actively involved in the restoration process after a major storm hits. We all have a predetermined role that is part of the overall storm response plan. There is a great deal of support work that goes on behind the scenes, including food planning and preparations, answering calls and inquiries from members, coordinating the procurement of materials, continued maintenance and repairs of equipment, communicating with members on our restoration efforts, lodging for out of town crews offering assistance and organizing financial resources to pay for materials. I’m sure I haven’t listed each role played by our team, but you can see there are many key areas that are not readily seen on the forefront of the overall restoration effort.
Describe the hazards that come with storm work and YEC’s safety culture.
Lynn: Storm restoration work on an electric distribution system is filled with hazards of every imaginable sort. Large downed trees on power lines, safely handling and working with high voltage, working high in the air on equipment and climbing high voltage poles—all in adverse weather conditions, among debris, while being physically and mentally tired. The hazards often seem overwhelming to us, which is why we work so hard every single day, all year long, to provide everything that our employees need to perform our work safely and efficiently. This includes proper tools, well-maintained equipment, proper training, sound communication, good safety processes and procedures, a well built and well maintained electrical distribution system and, most of all, a strong culture of good safety habits, processes, procedures and protocols that protect our employees. We appreciate the consistent support from our board of directors to continue this culture of safety and education.
How do you approach storm damage? How do you decide what gets attention first?
Lynn: Our initial reaction and response in a storm situation is to quickly assess exactly what is “out” and what areas have been affected. That assessment is typically being done as YEC personnel are reporting to work. All electric utilities perform restoration efforts in a similar fashion. First, we work to restore main lines or feeders and main circuits, thus restoring service to the most members at one time as quickly as possible. Taps, or lines off the main feeders and circuits are assessed and repaired next. Performing restoration efforts in this manner has proven, time and again, power is restored faster for the entire electric system and all affected members.
Mending the Mess
YEC linemen documented the hazards they encountered before mending the mess to get the lights back on for members as quickly and safely as possible.
We realize a lot of our community has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Whether you have been out of work or have been personally affected by the virus, your co-op wants to help. A new program, Give $5, offers an opportunity for members to donate $5 or more on their electric bill for one or two months to help other YEC members in need— and YEC will match the donation up to $100,000.
This program was designed to provide a collective place to give. Many who want to offer a helping hand don’t know how to help or where to give. YEC saw an opportunity to partner with those who are willing and able to donate funds to make a difference and lift up those who have fallen on hard times. This crisis was unplanned, unimaginable and unprecedented, but together we can persevere and come out stronger.
Like your co-op, this is a program you can trust. Each dollar raised will be collected at YEC, recorded and appear as a tax deduction for the donating member. Furthermore, these dollars will be disbursed to four of the largest help agencies in our area to distribute to members to help pay their electric bill.
We know many of you are currently out of work and that you might benefit from this program. The first step is to contact our member services team so that we can help you manage your account. Our team is only a phone call away, ready and willing to help. If you are already behind on your payments or anticipate a financial crisis because of the virus, give us a call at (803) 684-4248.
We’re local people looking out for you. Our team is committed to helping you navigate these uncharted waters, one step at a time, while providing you with affordable, reliable energy.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Although our board of directors deemed it unsafe to host our annual meeting this month, I still have positive updates to share. As we continue monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, we will communicate plans for our annual meeting to all of you, including voting on your trustees, bylaw amendments and single-member districts. For now, I bring you the good news in print until it is safe to be together in person.
Your co-op is in great shape
We were able to retire the largest amount of capital credits at one time in our history to you in April 2020. Members received refunds totaling $2 million and, hopefully, this money came at a time when extra cash was needed most. The co-ops of South Carolina are working together to make sure the Santee Cooper deal is the best it can be for our members. We will not have a rate increase in 2020, and we do not plan to see one within the next two years.
New services provide benefits
As promised, we have continued working to find a way to bring high-speed internet to the unserved and underserved areas of our territory. We know this is key to keeping everyone connected to the world, and we want to do our part to help. We've also rolled out new energy services programs, offering technology at a lower cost for you. Learn more about the benefits of our whole house generator program and ecobee smart thermostat programs. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we are always looking out for you and researching new ways to enrich our communities and improve the quality of life in our area. Because of you, we have been able to give $3 million back to help those in need through our Operation Round Up program. We have also continued to be a vital part of economic development efforts in our area so that our members have more job opportunities.
I say all of this with gratitude for our membership, our communities and our employees. Local men and women here at YEC care about you and your families. Their dedication and determination to serve you is why we were able to respond to 99.75% of outages in 2019 within an hour of the first report, no matter the weather conditions or time of day.
These are just a few ways YEC continues to prove that we have your back and will always set the bar high to deliver reliable, affordable electricity to you. Thank you for another great year!
President and Chief Executive Officer
A hearty handshake. A slap on the shoulder. Maybe even a warm hug. You don't usually associate these types of behaviors with a business meeting. That is, unless you're talking about York Electric Cooperative's Annual Meeting. It's what makes us different bringing members, employees, trustees and our community together to engage with one another and participate in the business of their cooperative. Having such an event has always been an important part of serving you and thanking you for your membership.
Unfortunately, right now, the very things that make our annual meeting so special create an even greater risk to the communities we serve. York Electric's 2020 Annual Meeting of Members is suspended to prevent further spreading of the coronavirus.
Although unprecedented, this decision by your board of trustees is consistent with York Electric always putting safety first. The trustee election, bylaw changes and cooperative business that needed to be done on May 9, 2020 can be accomplished at a time when it's safer for us to be together again.
As you may know, these annual meetings are part of cooperatives' DNA and are required to happen as written into our bylaws. But a pandemic has no use for bylaws. Statutes and regulations don't make sense if following them is harmful for the people those rules are meant to protect. For example, YEC has limited personal contact with members, suspended account disconnections, increased social distancing for meetings, and increased employee communications detailing the signs of COVID-19 and guidelines to help prevent spreading germs in the office.
Although it has not been necessary yet, York Electric may adjust its office hours or even temporarily close. We strongly encourage you to visit this webpage, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or just simply call our member services team at (803) 684-4248 to receive the latest information on how our services have changed.
In the meantime, we're doing everything we can to prevent the spread of the virus. Our offices are routinely cleaned and disinfected. Our employees, especially those who interact with the public, adhere to strict personal hygiene guidelines and have been instructed to stay home if they are feverish or do not feel well.
As you practice social distancing or self-isolation, let me remind you of our remote account management services. With YEC's Member Portal, you can pay your bill, create a payment arrangement, request service orders, or report an outage on your desktop computer or using our mobile app. Our free YEC Mobile App also provides these services, along with our opt-in texting at 352667. If you haven't already, now is a good time to take advantage of them. Please call us if you need assistance.
YEC is always looking out for you, so I remind you all to stay in safe spaces, practice healthy habits and stay informed. We want to help you and our community stay well.
President and Chief Executive Officer
YEC will match the donations up to $100,000
We are asking for your support as we try to make a difference for those who need it most. Members can help those struggling to pay their power bills through a new initiative launched by York Electric Cooperative. The effort is intended to help those faced with growing electricity bills as a result of economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The voluntary program, called Give 5, allows cooperative members to help fellow members as hundreds in our area have lost jobs or seen their work hours reduced.
May 5, 2020
YEC has launched a new voluntary program, called Give 5, allows cooperative members to help fellow members as hundreds in our area have lost jobs or seen their work hours reduced.
April 4, 2020
In an effort to help limit exposure to COVID-19, these community agencies have changed or suspended normal operating procedures:
- PATH – York - Suspended assistance with utilities until further notice
- CAA – Clover - Closed until 4/19/20
- FMCC – Fort Mill - Suspended assistance with utilities as no one is disconnecting currently
- CCA – Rock Hill - Must schedule an appointment with limited staff and funding
April 3, 2020
YEC's online bill pay systems will be unavailable Saturday, April 4th from 7:30 am until approximately 10 am so that our Accounting team can issue Capital Credit checks as soon as possible. During that time, Member Portal, smart app, and remote pay station payment processing will be down. To get money to our members sooner during this crisis, YEC will be returning Capital Credits to members a month early.
For more information concerning Capital Credits, call our Member Services Department at 803-684-4248.
Capital Credits FAQ
Capital Credits are a benefit of membership in a member-owned utility. Each year, YEC uses the revenues that exceed operating costs as equity. These funds and borrowed capital allow YEC to serve a growing number of members while implementing the latest technology to provide the best possible service. As a not-for-profit utility, YEC later returns these revenues to the members who originally paid them in his/her electric bills.
Each year, our members receive Capital Credit checks. Members will receive Capital Credit checks in the mail unless the amount due to them is less than $15. If the member’s refund is less than $15, the amount will be distributed and printed on their utility billing statement as a line item credit. The amount of Capital Credits returned is determined by total revenues received over expenses for the cooperative and your total energy billings for the year. They are paid periodically with board approval after review of YEC’s financial status.
If you leave YEC’s service area, your Capital Credits remain in your name and member number until they are retired. Therefore, you need to make sure YEC has your current mailing address.
York Electric is a cooperative. A cooperative is owned by its members and does not technically earn profits. Instead, any revenues over the cost of doing business are considered “margins”. These margins represent an interest free loan of operating capital by the membership of the cooperative. This capital allows York Electric to finance operations and, to a certain extent, construction. The utility then returns this capital to the members in later years.
You should receive an allocation notice each year after a financial audit of York Electric has been completed. During the month of May, members receive Capital Credit checks in the mail unless the amount due to them is less than $15. If the member’s refund is less than $15, the amount will be distributed and printed on their utility billing statement as a line item credit.
Capital Credits are calculated by York Electric for every member who purchased electricity during a year in which the utility earned margins. No special action is required to start a Capital Credit account. Your membership with York Electric activates your Capital Credit account.
The amount of Capital Credits you earn in a given year is based upon the amount of electricity purchased. Each member receives a credit based on a percentage for each dollar of electricity purchased.
Not necessarily. The board of trustees must authorize a refund before you receive a check. When considering a refund, the board analyzes the financial status of the cooperative and will not authorize a refund if it is not in the best interest of the membership.
No. Allocated Capital Credits may not be used to pay current bills. While your electric bill is due monthly, you will not be entitled to your Capital Credits until the board of trustees authorizes a refund. This will take place over many years, since York Electric needs the funds to grow.
The representative of the estate can have the balance of Capital Credits transferred into the heir’s name and the balance will be paid out as the board of trustees approves refunds.
Your Capital Credits remain in your name and member number until they are retired. You just need to ensure that York Electric has your current mailing address.
March 31, 2020
We understand the anxiety you may be experiencing around this evolving situation, so we have created this dedicated area to address your many coronavirus cooperative-related questions and provide resources for assistance and information well beyond our own backyard. As the crisis develops or new information needs to be disseminated, we will update this section; feel free to bookmark this page and visit often.
March 27, 2020
Like you, YEC is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation. We appreciate your patience as we continue to serve you and look out for your best interests during this crisis.
We want to reassure you that our office procedures will not affect your electric service. Lineworkers are available to respond to outages, work will continue with service orders, bills will still be processed and mailed, and our members may speak to a YEC employee regarding any questions or concerns about their bill or service.
We also understand some members are experiencing unexpected financial circumstances right now. Can't make a payment? Please give us a call so that we can help: 803-684-4248.
From late March until further notice, penalties for delinquent accounts will be waived. No penalties will be assessed and disconnections for nonpayment on all accounts have been suspended.
Although YEC will not be disconnecting any accounts during this crisis, we would like to remind our members to stay on top of their bills. Since you are still responsible to pay for the electricity you consume, remember to keep your balance manageable and communicate with us to create payment arrangements.
York Electric is giving money back to members again this year – early!
To get money to our members sooner during this crisis, YEC will be returning Capital Credits to members a month early. In April, we will return $2 million to members who received service in 1997, 1998 & 2018. Members will receive Capital Credit checks in the mail. If the member's refund is less than $15, the amount will be printed as a line item credit on the electric bill. The amount of Capital Credits returned is determined by margins and a percentage of your total energy billings for the years listed above. Questions? Call 803-684-4248.
79th Annual Meeting suspended
Although unprecedented, the decision by your board of trustees to suspend our Annual Meeting is consistent with York Electric always putting safety first. The trustee election, bylaw changes, and cooperative business that should be done on May 9th will be handled when it's safer for us to be together again. Stay in touch with YEC online and through social media to track updates and learn how our team is working to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.
Burrell Foundation pancake breakfast postponed
Originally scheduled for Saturday, April 4, 2020, at Fatz Café in Rock Hill, the Burrell Foundation Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser – a delicious meal served by YEC employees in support of a great cause – has been moved to August 15. Please stay tuned for further details.
Activities for kids at home
Spark interest in electric safety with #LearnwithYEC! We have some fun games and activities for young people that will help them learn about energy and energy efficiency.
We're here for you
We are still able to serve our members in our drive through locations at both our York and Fort Mill offices, but we also urge you to use other methods to conduct your cooperative business. Please visit www.yorkelectric.net, try our YEC Mobile App, or call our member services team at 803-684-4248.
Our commitment to members runs deep. Your service matters to us because we work in the same community you do, and a lot of us get our power from the same place you do. The men and women who respond during an outage experience the same outages at their homes, too. We are real people, who value the same things as you do, answering the call to provide you with the safe, reliable and affordable energy you deserve. Enriching lives means helping our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends and family – you.
March 23, 2020
The lobby of the remote pay station in Rock Hill – at the Comporium office on Cherry Road – is closed, as well as our Fort Mill branch lobby; both are still accepting payments through the drive-thru.
March 20, 2020
York Electric Cooperative is happy to serve our membership. We are always looking out for you and our community, especially during a time of emergency and need.
Like other utilities in our area, YEC is postponing account disconnections for nonpayment until further notice to help our members. However, we urge our members to stay on top of their electricity use and their monthly bill. Please remember you will still be responsible to pay for the electricity you consume. Be sure to use our online arrangement system to manage your payments or reach out to our member services team for help if you are in a financial crisis.
As the threat of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, continues, York Electric Cooperative plans to close all outside member and public traffic to our office locations beginning Monday, March 23.
We will still be able to serve our members in our drive through locations at both York and Fort Mill offices but urge our members to use other methods to conduct their cooperative business. Try our free YEC Mobile App, use the Member Services Portal, or call our member services team at 803-684-4248.
We would like to reassure our members that our office procedures will not affect your electric service. Linemen will still be available to respond to outages, work will continue with service orders, member bills will still be processed and mailed, and our members will still be able to talk to a YEC employee regarding any questions or concerns about their bill.
Although no one at YEC has tested positive, we are following preventative measures to decrease the risk of spreading the virus. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are here to help and appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we navigate the effects of #COVID-19.
Scams related to the COVID-19 outbreak are on the rise. York Electric Cooperative members should be on the lookout for suspicious email, phone calls, or persons impersonating business employees or charitable organizations.
By keeping your contact information up to date, you can take full advantage of the services York Electric Cooperative offers. If we don’t have the correct phone number and email address linked to your home address, it makes it much more difficult for you to report an outage.
If you are not sure we have your current phone number, mailing, and email addresses, please log on to our Member Services Portal to check your account and make any necessary updates, use this update form, or call our member services department at (803) 684-4248.
March 14, 2020
Please know your health and safety is always a priority here at your co-op, and we are closely watching the national and local responses to the current pandemic and following guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as our own common-sense measures.
To that end, we strongly suggest conducting your cooperative business here at yorkelectric.net, by texting 352667, or through our free YEC Mobile App. Social distancing is the top recommendation for individual virus prevention, so please take advantage of the ability to do as much of your routine business via the internet as possible.
When bearing in mind limited contact, remember we’re here for you by phone at 803-684-4248, there are payment drop boxes at all our locations, and you have the option to pay your bill by mail
If you prefer to visit our offices, be aware that all transactions will be handled through the glass to keep our members and employees safe. We’ve also encouraged our staff to practice healthy hygiene and have taken extra precautions to keep our common areas clean. YEC employees have been advised to stay home if they exhibit any signs of illness and to see a doctor; we hope our members will follow the same advice.
We understand the anxiety you may be experiencing around this evolving situation. Please know we're committed to being responsive and flexible to your needs and are available to you at any time as we navigate and adapt to the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19.