Across the nation, 2020 has been an unprecedented year on multiple fronts. Together, we've faced a global pandemic and adapted to new remote work and school procedures; we've witnessed economic uncertainty spread quickly throughout the US, and we've watched a catastrophic wildfire season brutally sweep over the Northwest.
At Emerald People's Utility District, we know the hardships caused by these events have been felt by many in our community. Our hearts go out to all those who have been impacted during this difficult time and we assure you that we will continue to support our customers in the months ahead. Those who are struggling to pay their electric bill are encouraged to talk to our Customer Service team to learn about financial assistance, alternative payment programs, and other arrangements that can help.
Despite the year's challenges, Emerald has continued its mission to deliver safe, reliable, low-cost power to the communities we serve. Although many of our staff members continue to work from home, our customers receive the same care and personalized service we've delivered throughout our history. And when wildfire threatened homes and businesses in our district, Emerald crews worked with authorities tirelessly to operate our electric system safely and with minimal disruption. Our ability to do this was no accident.
System resiliency has been a key priority for the utility for many years now. To strengthen our electric system, we've adopted more aggressive vegetation management procedures, increased capital spending on line upgrades, and made substantial investments in advanced utility equipment to detect and isolate outages—all efforts to ensure our most important promise to you: reliable power.
We know this difficult period will pass and when it does, our utility will be prepared for the future. In recent months, Emerald has been busy creating a new strategic plan to follow into the years ahead. Approved by the Board of Directors in July, the plan focuses on the utility's customer-oriented goals and contains several exciting initiatives, including:
- Significant new investments in system reliability and resiliency
- Easier, more rewarding programs and tools for customers
- New, elective rate design options, such as Time of Use
Emerald's 2020 Strategic Plan is now available to view or download on our Your Utility page. We look forward to sharing more about our future plans in the months ahead.
Scott A. Coe