A Moment with the CEO
BY SUZANNE LANE
KEPCo strives for excellence in providing safe, reliable, economical, and environmentally responsible power supply, exceptional support, and innovative services to our members and the Kansans they serve. This is our purpose and one we don’t take lightly.
To assure we are fulfilling this purpose in a way that provides our members with the best experience possible, we are once again requesting our members’ feedback. We are thrilled to be partnering with HR Partners, Inc., to facilitate our 2nd annual member experience survey this fall!
Last year we received very meaningful, valuable feedback from our membership. The key areas of strength included our diverse power supply portfolio, our rebate program for high-efficiency equipment, our assistance with the REDLG program, our engineering services company (KSI), and our regulatory and legislative advocacy efforts. Our areas for growth included communications and enhanced services/programs.
A survey’s success depends on three key actions: 1) listen openly and completely to the feedback, 2) formulate action items for the areas of growth, and 3) communicate the status of those actions. I am proud to report that since last year, we have focused largely on expanding communications, enhancing educational opportunities, evaluating services and programs, and revising our board committee structure, in order to respond to the feedback received from members.
If any of our members have questions about the survey, the feedback received last year, the status of the actions we have developed, or any other aspects of members’ experience, please let us know. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve our members and to assure we are providing the best member experience possible!
Be Prepared for Winter
Although it may seem a little early to be concerned with winter weather, particularly while we still are enjoying pleasant temperatures, now is the time to inspect and make any necessary repairs to your home or business. By being prepared for the hazards of winter, you are more likely to stay safe and healthy and avoid unpleasant and preventable surprises when temperatures begin to fall.
Take these steps to keep your home or business safe and warm during the winter months:
Winterize your home or office.
- Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
- Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
- Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
- Check for drafts around windows and doors. If leaking, caulk inside and out to keep heat from escaping.
Check your heating system.
- Have your heating system professionally serviced to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside. When the system is being serviced, make sure to install a new filter as well.
- Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
- Have a safe, alternate heating source available.
- If you do not have a working smoke detector, install one. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning emergencies.
- Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of CO, which is a deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check or change the battery when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
- Be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
KEPCo Employee Highlighted in RE Magazine
KELSEY SCHREMPP, KEPCo Executive Assistant and Manager of Office Services, was highlighted in the September 2021 issue of NRECA’s RE Magazine as a “Co-op Rising Star.”
This first-ever compilation of standout cooperative employees was conceived out of a desire to identify and showcase employees whose talents, dedication, and service have been critical to helping co-ops find the opportunities to thrive amid today’s myriad challenges.
Kelsey was nominated by Suzanne Lane, KEPCo EVP & CEO. A total of 83 nominations were received by NRECA and a panel of five judges were given the unenviable task of narrowing the field of candidates to 20 selections, whose commitment, enthusiasm, and uniqueness shone through.
Significantly, Kelsey was instrumental in helping KEPCo pivot to a virtual environment last year and this year, most notably implementing virtual board meetings to accommodate 36 trustees and numerous staff and guests. By determining how to use technologies “in ways we had not done before,” wrote Suzanne Lane in her nomination letter, “Kelsey streamlined processes, saved money, and engaged employees and members.”
Congratulations, Kelsey, for being selected to the inaugural class of RE Magazine “Co-op Rising Stars.”
Ceremonial Bill Signing for Recently Enacted “Move Over” Law
KEPCo was invited by Kansas Senator Ethan Corson to attend a ceremonial bill signing for Senate Bill No. 67, which was enacted into law this year. The bill is the “move over” requirement for motorists when approaching stationary utility and telecommunications vehicles. The intent of the bill is to help prevent accidents involving motorists and utility employees.
Susan Cunningham, SVP of Regulatory & Government Affairs and General Counsel, attended the bill signing at the IBEW 34 office in Topeka, along with Governor Kelly and numerous industry and trade representatives.
The bill requires motorists to move to a non-adjacent lane while on four-lane roads and highways when approaching stationary utility vehicles with flashing lights. When on a two-lane road, the law requires motorists to slow down when passing the stationary utility vehicle with flashing lights.
KSI Prepares for Additional Member Solar
KSI is preparing for another round of member solar projects in 2022. Five member cooperatives are moving forward with plans to install a total of nine megawatts of solar generation at eight distinct physical locations across Kansas. Activities such as land rights and preliminary engineering are currently ongoing with plans to energize the solar facilities prior to June 2022. KSI will again partner with Electricomm, Inc. to assist in ensuring a smooth installation and seamless interconnection to the grid.
“There were many lessons learned with the 2021 projects that will benefit the 2022 projects as we move forward,” said Rick Johnson, KSI Principal Engineer. “Being afforded the opportunity to start on the projects now, along with the experience gained from the first set of projects, is a tremendous benefit,” said Johnson.
KEPCo Participates in Co-ops Vote Events
KEPCo’s Phil Wages and KEC’s Leslie Kaufman recently participated in the Co-ops Vote event at CMS and a combined Sumner-Cowley and Ninnescah event at Sumner-Cowley’s office. The events were attended by cooperative personnel, Kansas legislators, and local elected officials.
Co-ops Vote is a non-partisan campaign that strives to inform both our members and candidates about issues important to America’s electric co-ops and the communities they serve, from the continued need for affordable and reliable electricity to broadband access and other rural economic development issues.
“Co-ops Vote has proven to be an extremely successful grassroots effort that provides the opportunity to discuss with Kansas leaders various issues facing rural electric cooperatives, as well as issues facing the communities they serve,” said Susan Cunningham, KEPCo SVP of Regulatory & Government Affairs and General Counsel.
Get to Know KEPCo Employees
MAURICE HALL, Senior SCADA/Metering Technician, has been part of the KEPCo family for eight years. Maurice was born in Long Beach, California and currently resides with his wife of 37 years, Brenda, between the towns of Garfield and Lewis, Kansas, east of Dodge City.
Maurice has over 30 years of experience in the utility industry, having previously work for companies such as Midwest Energy, Inc., Kinder Morgan, Inc., and Sunflower Electric Power Corporation.
He graduated from Larned High School and from NCK Technical College with a degree in Electricity. In his spare time, Maurice likes to hunt, train his bird dogs, go boating, and participate in anything outdoor or water related.
ROBERT HAMMERSMITH, Senior SCADA/Metering Technician, started working for KEPCo in 2007. Before joining KEPCo, Robert worked for Stutler Technologies, Corp. in Emporia.
Robert is married to Gina, and they have 4 children: Lucas, Logan, Isaac, and Lillian. He graduated from White City High School, attended Kansas State University and Emporia State University, and graduated from Flint Hills Technical College with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Network Technology.
In his spare time, Robert enjoys carpentry, disc golf, coaching in his community, and driving his ‘68 convertible.
Both Maurice’s and Robert’s responsibilities include installation, maintenance, and repair of SCADA/metering equipment and communication equipment used for billing, metering, SCADA operations, reliability, and load management. Robert also performs maintenance duties at KEPCo’s solar facility, Prairie Sky Solar Farm.
KEPCo Hires Information Systems Specialist II
CHRIS KERRY was hired in July as an Information Systems Specialist II providing support both for KEPCo’s IT needs and Load Management Center functions. Chris’ previous career experience includes positions with Vision Bank, the Kansas Museum of History-State Archives, and the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department-911 Division.
Chris graduated from Belton High School, the Electronics Institute, and DeVry University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Technical Management.
Chris is married to Rebecca and they have four children: Jacob (14), Adam (12), Levi (10), and Racheal (6).
Chris’ specific responsibilities include staff PC support, Load Management Center support, database management, and custom programming.
In his spare time, Chris enjoys physical fitness activities, home improvement projects, reading, and watching sports. Welcome aboard, Chris!