Fall Foliage, Ovando, Montana

A Month Filled With Gratitude

Posted: November 1, 2020
Mark Hayden, GM

November is a month dedicated to expressing gratitude. When I look back on this year, grateful and thankful is exactly what I feel. Although the pandemic has put a damper on the better part of 2020, Missoula Electric Cooperative (MEC), our members and our employees have many positives to celebrate when it comes to the Cooperative.

Reaching our Members

Relating to, and reaching, our membership is extremely important to us. We knew it was time to embrace change and modernize our look, to appeal to our ever-changing and growing membership. Therefore, we began 2020 with the launch of a new logo and branding.

The logo was designed in-house, and paid tribute to our former design, which also featured a mountain to represent our service area, and a lightning bolt to symbolize the electricity we deliver to our members. When our team put their heads together to create the new logo, we added currents of water to represent not only the rivers running through our districts, but also to represent the flow of electricity, and our use of clean, renewable and carbon-free hydropower.

This logo would not have been complete without the addition of a horizon, which was added to signify that we are one – a cooperative united with our members.

Serving our Members

As a member-owned utility, MEC strives to uphold a commitment to service excellence, while delivering safe, affordable, and reliable electricity to its members. To ensure that we were upholding this commitment, we broke ground on the El Mar Estates Upgrade Project late this summer.

The residents living in Missoula’s El Mar Estates community were experiencing frequent power outages due to underground cable failures, as they reached the end of their useful lives. Our team was excited to launch this two-year project, which will replace underground power lines, installed close to 40 years ago, with modern, reliable lines.

We are grateful that this project is finally off the ground and that our members will start seeing improved reliability in the near future.

Representing our Members

ABROAD

MEC eagerly sent Lineman, Seth Hill, to represent MEC and its membership, on the Big Sky to Bolivia trip this February. Working in 110-degree humidity, Seth and 12 Montana Linemen, worked tirelessly, with minimal resources, to bring power to a remote village in the Pando region of Bolivia.

Not only was MEC grateful for the opportunity to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience, but we are grateful for the underlying message it brought back to the Cooperative. Seth put it best when he said, “The people of this region have very little, yet they are happy and make do with what they have.”

Representing our Members

LOCALLY

This summer, due to relocation, Susan Thraen, resigned from her role as Board President and District #3 Trustee. In late September, the Board of Trustees had the task of reviewing resumes and selecting a candidate to complete Susan’s term, until the Trustee elections in March of 2021.

While there were many worthy applicants, a semi-retired engineer from Florence, Garrett Pallo, was selected to assume the position. The Board and I are excited to welcome Mr. Pallo, who has a wide-ranging background that includes knowledge in the areas of business, finance, public administration and beyond.

We look forward to working with him as he represents our MEC members in Lolo, Florence and Idaho.

Feedback from Members

“SERVICE” is important to MEC and represents our statement of values (safety, employees, reliability, value, integrity, community and efficiency). These values are the core of what we do, and how we do it, every single day.

To ensure we are living up to our values and meeting our members’ expectations, we often solicit feedback via member surveys. We surveyed our members in 2012, 2015 and recently, in July of 2020.

The latest 26-question survey was sent to a random sample of 500 MEC members. These surveys are designed to not only collect feedback from our membership on a variety of important topics, but also to calculate the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score from four standardized ACSI questions regarding customer satisfaction. The ACSI index measures the satisfaction of US household consumers with the quality of products and services offered in US markets.

Since our first member survey in 2012, we have improved by 10% overall, raising the bar with each survey that’s submitted and scored, nationally. In 2012, MEC’s survey responses earned a 79% overall, followed by an 87% in 2015 and an 89% in 2020. These top-tier survey scores confirm that our members are grateful for the affordable, safe and reliable electricity they receive from MEC, every day.

From re-branding and trips abroad, to surveys and service reliability, MEC has proudly served our members for 84 years. As we enter November, a month filled with appreciation and reflection, we are truly thankful for the opportunity to serve our members, their families and communities.

We hope you enjoy a month filled with gratitude and wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!