Fitting into the theme of Customer Care that's being highlighted with Energy Central's July 2021 Special Issue, the Energy Central Power Perspectives Podcast welcomed the CEO and General Manager of SEMO Electric Cooperative out of Missouri, Sean Vanslyke, to share his unique perspective of what makes the utility-customer relationship unique in the cooperative model of utilities. In doing so Sean provided examples from the aid to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the unique Camp SEMO program that gives all an insight into the inner workings of the utility, and the ability to reach and listen to more of the customer base.
The U.S. utility landscape stretches from large investor-owned utilities to tiny municipal utilities, but all utility leaders have much to learn from Sean's insights into treating customers fairly, respectfully, and as true partners, an advantage the electric cooperatives of the country can readily export as best practices to the rest of the sector. Listen into this episode to hear podcast host Jason Price and producer Matt Chester dig into the expertise that Sean brings from his extensive career in the industry:
The cooperatives were formed 80 some years ago because the IOUs traditionally wouldn't come out and serve the farmland because instead of having 10 or 20 or 30, or in some cases now in your larger places, 50 or 100 meters or even more than that per mile, we're out here serving people sometimes with one or two or three meters per mile. So as the generations change, and we go from the 30s to 40s, to the 60s, to 80s and 90s, and now into the 2000s, we're losing those stories of people who said, "Oh, I got to read last night because now I have light in my house." But I think now, though, after COVID people are starting to appreciate the co-ops even more because we're local. We're right here, they can come in, they can see us, but they could still reach out to us and talk to a person. And I still think that makes a big difference.
This entry into the podcast, like all of the series episodes, can be found on all major podcast outlets, including iTunes and Spotify, or it can be listened to directly on the Energy Central platform. Give it a listen and share your reaction in the comments.
Episode #40: 'Elevating Customer Care for Electric Cooperative Members’ with Sean Vanslyke, CEO and General Manager of SEMO Electric Cooperative [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast]
About Energy Central Podcast Series:
The 'Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast' Series features conversations with thought leaders in the utility sector. At least twice monthly, we'll connect with a Power Industry Leader to discuss compelling topics that impact utility professionals. Some podcasts may be a continuation of thought-provoking posts or discussions started in the community by an Energy Central Community Member. Others may be with an industry leader interested in sharing their expertise and doing a deeper dive into hot topics or issues relevant to the industry.
If you want to be a guest on a future episode of the Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast, let us know! We'll be pulling guests from our community members who submit engaging content that gets our community talking, and perhaps that next guest will be you! Likewise, if you see an article submitted by a fellow Energy Central community member that you'd like to hear about in more detail, feel free to send us a note to nominate them. To contact us, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Podcast interviews are free for Expert Members and professionals who work for a utility. We have package offers available for solution providers and vendors.