Clay Electric Co-operative celebrates new office opening
This month marks the culmination of Clay Electric Co-operative’s efforts to provide the membership with a modern and efficient facility. According to former CEO Edward VanHoose, “The old office building was at the point of spending more money for repairs than it was worth.” While the exact date hasn’t been set, we encourage our members to keep an eye and an ear open for the announcement of our official reopening.
Clay Electric Co-operative has been providing its members with electrical power for the last 75 years. Born during the years of World War II, Clay Electric faced many hardships and setbacks in its first years. Members at the time found supplies laid aside for the construction of the first powerlines on the system given up to the war effort. Although area farmers had organized the cooperative in 1940, the first lines weren’t energized until 1944. These hardships were borne with the quiet strength and dignity found in the greatest generation and in our midwestern culture. This year marks our 75th anniversary. It is fitting that this month finds us returning to the ground our offices have occupied since the cooperative was founded.
Our old office building at 7784 Old Highway 50 in Flora was our home until last year. Maintenance on the building was adding up quickly and the continued repair costs were becoming unreasonable. Your Clay Electric board of trustees made the decision several years ago to begin the process of designing and analyzing the cost and layout of a new building on the property. With a few good years and the refinancing of some debt on better terms, your cooperative was able to fund the building plan without increasing electric rates for our membership.
Clay Electric Co-operative’s new office has been designed to maximize the efficiency of both our frontline service staff and our line crews. An optimized layout for records and bookkeeping gives our office staff easy access to information to address the concerns of the membership. It allows them to troubleshoot problems and dispatch crews with better response times and information. Our linemen’s facilities have also been overhauled to give them access to more technology and information to better respond to outages both during regular business hours and on emergency callouts.
Efficiency hasn’t only been improved with our staff, but in the building itself. High efficiency geothermal heating and cooling technology provides a comfortable work environment and significantly lower energy usage than more traditional systems. By reducing our expenses, we ensure the best use of our member’s resources. As a cooperative, we are a nonprofit utility. Any money we collect over the cost of operation is paid back to our membership as capital credits. By lowering our offices operational costs, we put more money back in the pockets of our membership.
Clay Electric Co-operative is committed to providing our member-owners with safe, adequate and reliable electric service, superior customer service, and innovative energy solutions, all at reasonable prices.