Delivering exceptional communications and energy services has always been essential, but now those services are more important than ever. COVID-19 has completely changed the way businesses are operating and seeing the incredible ways our Members have navigated recent challenges to support their communities has made us so proud to serve these industries.

NISC Member San Isabel Electric Association (SIEA), based in Pueblo West, Colo., is just one of those organizations working diligently to serve members with minimal interruptions in light of COVID-19. San Isabel General Manager, Reg Rudolph, shared his thoughts on how the co-op is adapting in the transition to remote work.

“We had to quickly procure the necessary hardware for our employee base to work from home,” Reg said. “It’s been challenging because our virtual private network (VPN) has been struggling due to the number of users logging on and some of our employees are limited by their bandwidth and WiFi speeds at home. Providing some training for our employees on work from home procedures has been crucial to this transition.”

San Isabel has also closed their office to in-person payments and is taking extra precautions with their employees in the field.

“Field work has definitely been limited as we have to keep a safe distance from our members and one another,” Reg said. “Some of our larger jobs requiring multiple SIEA employees have been halted for the time being.”

Among the solutions helping Reg and San Isabel continue to serve members is Messenger, which they have been using to quickly notify members of changing practices such as suspending disconnects for non-payment, waiving fees and notifying members that their offices are closed to walk-in traffic. San Isabel has also been utilizing SmartHub to ensure their members are aware of changes in energy usage with many people working from home.

“Our Communications Team has been pushing out public information regarding increased electric usage when spending more time indoors,” Reg said, “and simultaneously marketing SmartHub’s Budget Gauge and Energy Explorer as part of a list of tips to reduce energy consumption. We are relaying this information to emergency managers as well as posting the information using ActivContent, social media, news media, our website and our newsletter.”

San Isabel is also ensuring their members are aware of economic relief efforts available in southern Colorado, posting a list of the efforts from Economic Development on their website and sharing with news media and emergency managers. 

“Essentially all utilities and telecoms are experiencing difficult times because of COVID-19,” Reg said. “Many providers are stressed and in very difficult financial times. Our customers and members appreciate that there is a business that is continuing to operate and meet their needs with reliable service and a friendly voice on the other end of the line. NISC is a big part of why San Isabel can continue to offer services to our members.”