• 63°

Southside Electric Cooperative closes area offices

Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) continues to keep the power flowing to its members across 18 counties, while also taking steps to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

As of the end of business Friday, district offices in Altavista, Crewe, Dinwiddie and Powhatan have been closed until further notice. Members can still check on their accounts and pay for the electricity they have used through the automated payment system or speak with a member service representative by calling 1-800-552-2118. They can use www.sec.coop, the Smart Hub mobile app or one of the 24/7 payment kiosks at each district office. These kiosks are on a sanitizing schedule.

To ease the financial burden on cooperative members and the community, SEC has suspended residential disconnections and related late fees.

Linemen for the Crewe-based distribution cooperative are maintaining power lines, replacing poles, updating equipment and responding to outages. They are also keeping social distance between themselves and members, getting their job assignments each morning outside of the offices and traveling separately when possible.

“The cooperative knows it has a responsibility to keep the electricity on at our members’ homes, farms and businesses, and that’s what we’re doing,” Vice President of Operations Brad Furr said. “At the same time, we are taking every possible safeguard to prevent spreading COVID-19.”

Many SEC employees are beginning their third week of working from home. All non-critical travel and meetings for employees have been canceled, and a task force monitors the coronavirus situation daily and acts appropriately as it looks out for the health, safety and welfare of members, local communities and employees. That will be paramount in this unprecedented health emergency.

SEC has reached out to the communities it serves by donating to a multi-county food distribution center and several school systems to help with their meals programs for students. One school system used the donation to purchase books for students who didn’t have access to the internet. Also, the application deadline for Southside Opportunity Fund scholarships was extended to April 10.

“The cooperative is grateful for our members’ understanding and patience as we all work together to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our communities. Ultimately, as we see this pandemic come to an end, together we can return to a sense of normalcy in our daily lives, stronger and more united than ever before,” President and CEO Jeff Edwards said.