Southwestern Electric Cooperative will continue to keep coronavirus mitigation measures in place through January. “To protect the health and safety of our employees and members, we will extend Southwestern Electric’s current office and remote work arrangement through the end of the month,” said CEO Bobby Williams. “Our management team is monitoring information from state and local health departments, as well as the CDC. We’ll continue to assess conditions and act accordingly as we move forward.”
The co-op’s current response plan calls for lobbies and drive-up windows to remain closed through January 31. “Our employees will answer calls and questions from our membership, and our line crews will respond to outages and make repairs quickly and safely, just as they always do,” Williams said.
In November, Illinois moved to Tier 3 of COVID-19 restrictions. The state emphasized the need for Illinois residents to follow the same safety guidelines that have proven effective for Southwestern Electric in curbing the spread of coronavirus within its workforce.
“While we have had employees contract COVID, by conscientiously following the guidelines we established early last year, we have kept eac
h other healthy and avoided spreading the virus,” Williams said.
Social distancing, weekly disinfecting by the cooperative’s maintenance service, daily disinfecting by each employee, wearing masks in common areas and bringing forward questions about possible exposure and symptoms have proven effective safeguards for the cooperative, he said. “The safety guidelines we’ve put in place have helped us protect ourselves, our coworkers, and our friends and family,” Williams added. “We all must continue to do our part to keep each other safe.”
In March 2020, the cooperative took precautions to safeguard the health of employees and members and curb the spread of COVID-19. Protective measures included adopting CDC health and safety guidelines, observing social distancing protocols, wearing face coverings when appropriate, and reviewing safety measures with employees. Those precautions have remained in place since last spring.
Williams encouraged members to manage their accounts, report outages and make payments using the co-op’s online payment portal, by using the SWEC IL app, or by calling the cooperative at (800) 637-8667.