by General Manager Steve Stroshane
We're always happy to hear from our members
Throughout the year, Polk-Burnett creates opportunities for you to share your opinions and feedback. We know that our members have a valuable perspective and that's why we continually seek your input. Whether you respond to a survey or social media post, send us an email, or stop by our office or annual meeting to visit in person, we are always happy to hear from you. Connecting with you helps us keep pace with the priorities and needs of our community.
The energy industry is in the midst of significant change. Technology, smart appliances and demand for clean electricity are complex issues that affect us as we plan for the co-op's future. To adapt and thrive, we depend on hearing from you. Please share your perspectives. We're listening.
Looking ahead to 2020, we hope you will continue to share your opinions with us. Please watch for our surveys in your email inbox, and look for me, co-op employees and your board directors at community events and let us know how we're doing. We also invite you to attend our Annual Meeting and Member Appreciation Day June 5.
This is what you told us in 2019
Member Follow-Up Surveys
Twice a month, we send an email survey to members asking you to rate our service following recent transactions, including signing up for new electric service or transferring electric service to your name; applying for an EnergySense rebate; requesting service work at your home; installing a new meter for new construction; and reporting a power outage.
We received more than 1,000 responses in 2019.
89% say you are satisfied with your service.
Annual Member Satisfaction Survey
Each fall, we conduct a member satisfaction survey. This year, more than 2,500 members responded.
Our co-op satisfaction rating was 8.8 on a 10-point scale.
We also received 1,203 survey comments: 70% were positive!
1. Comments about overall service: 94% positive
2. Comments about customer service: 90% positive
3. Comments about reliable power: 73% positive
4. Comments about electric rate: 96% negative
This is how your co-op is responding: 2020 goals and 2025 vision
As a locally owned electric cooperative, we work to improve and adjust for the future, based on member needs and priorities. Our short-term goals and long-term vision include:
1. Controlling costs to defer a rate increase (see below).
2. Having the most knowledgeable, best trained, technologically efficient and service-oriented employees in Wisconsin.
3. Being the best technologically equipped co-op in the state, with the right employees in the right position to use technology to reduce costs, make our work more efficient and improve member service.
4. Having one of the lowest outage rates in the state.
5. Having zero lost days of work.
6. Growing energy sales through economic and community development (growth helps reduce costs per member).
7. Growing renewable energy when economically favorable.
Members like co-op, but many say rate is too high
Here's what we're doing
Like you, Polk-Burnett has tightened its belt since the economic downturn a decade ago. Since 2010 the co-op has:
1. Reduced our workforce by 18 employees. (We have 49 electric co-op employees, 18 are linemen)
2. Invested in technologies to improve member service and make work more efficient and cost-effective.
3. Held rates steady; NO RATE INCREASE since 2010. NO RATE INCREASE planned for 2020!
We work hard to keep expenses per mile of line lower than other utilities; however, rural co-op members pay a higher availability charge because there are fewer members per mile to share the grid's fixed costs:
Polk-Burnett has 6 members per mile of line to share costs. Other utilities have 20-40 customers per mile to share costs. We wish we could change that, but we can offer some suggestions.
Here's what you can do
Rates have not increased for a decade, but your bill may be higher because our lifestyles have changed. Consider how much hot water you use? How many TVs, routers, gaming consoles and receivers are in your home? Do you use AC, dehumidifiers or space heaters? How about chargers for cell phones and devices? Electricity powers our lives and we rely on it more than ever.
We encourage you to learn how much energy you are using and take control of your kWh energy charge:
1. SmartHub gives you information to avoid high bill surprises and make better energy decisions.
2. EnergySense rebates can help you make upgrades to improve energy efficiency and comfort in your home.
3. Our website offers helpful resources for saving energy and money.
Visit or call our member services team today, 800-421-0283, ext. 595.
The electric co-op was built by the community, for the community
As a cooperative, we exist to provide safe, reliable electricity for our members. Equally important is our mission to enrich the lives of the members we serve. We hope you will consider us as more than your energy provider, but also as a local business that listens and improves our local quality of life. Happy New Year from all of us at Polk-Burnett!