Another report card – September CEO column

James P. “Pat” Howle, Executive Vice President and CEO

THE BALANCED PERFORMANCE Scorecard I wrote about in the August edition of South Carolina Living magazine  is a tool electric cooperatives use to benchmark performance in mission critical areas. It’s a report card that uses objective data to characterize our individual performance and gives us a way to compare ourselves to sister cooperatives. It’s not the only one.

Another report card
A Residential Survey, which is conducted every three years by Central Electric Power Cooperative on behalf of all 20 electric co-ops in South Carolina has just been completed for 2012.

This year, the four American Customer Satisfaction Index questions were included. The numbers have not yet been finalized, but we have seen a preliminary report and have had a chance to review comments made by members who responded. If you were one of the members who responded, let me first say ‘thank you’.  We take the feedback from this report card to heart and use it as one of our planning guides.

Recurring themes
The comment section is my favorite part of the survey and most of them were complimentary. Service quality, reliability, response time, well-trained employees and pride in being a member were recurring themes. The few negative comments made were related to comparisons to Santee Cooper.

Overall, in spite of the fact our rates are higher than their rates, 75 percent of the members who responded said they would choose us if they were given a choice of utility provider.

Two separate utilities
There is a big difference between us and Santee Cooper. They have generation and transmission in addition to distribution. They have a fairly diverse customer base with a
good mix of commercial, industrial and residential customers. We are a distribution utility that primarily serves residential accounts and have to purchase power. We do not have the ability to generate power, so we have to purchase it and then deliver it to you.

Density plays a huge role in the cost to provide service. Our service area is rural, and we serve 13 meters per mile of line. Santee Cooper serves nearly 60 meters per mile of line. The cost of the mile of line is relatively the same. The number through which to divide the cost—13 versus 60—is not. This is one of the many reasons we work so hard to control the costs that are controllable.

Questions?  Please call us at 843.369.2211. 


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