Start of Summer Update

From The CEO, Steve Foss

It’s been quite a year so far and it’s hard to believe we’ve reached the middle of the year. I wanted to take time this month to talk about the global pandemic in our rearview mirror. We hope we can keep it behind us, but it has changed us all. 

The team here at FreeState is still taking precautions for the safety of our employees and our members. We’ve brought back the employees who spent the spring in their home offices, and we’re still maintaining social distancing and closely following CDC and KDHE guidelines. 

Both offices are back open to the public, but we do encourage you to use non-contact transactions if possible. In Topeka we have a drive-up window option for you. Of course, you can still come in to do business, and we’re keeping your safety in mind — we have signs up to help remind everyone about safe practices. 

I want to thank the employees here. We have some of the best in the business powering your communities, and even with a pandemic and most working remotely the business side of this cooperative didn’t miss a beat. All of our employees went above and beyond as essential workers to help keep your lights on. They adapted to the changes and made it work knowing how important power was to our members who started to work and learn attend attend school from home. 

I also want to recognize our Operation Round-Up Committee who met in late March and knew something needed to be done. They prioritized the applications of those helping in the moment like Perry United Methodist Church who installed blessing boxes as more people than ever were dependent on resources. They also partnered with Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas to create the COVID assistance program that specifically helped any member who had a hardship related to the pandemic like a loss of employment. 

The board of trustees also voted to delay any changes to the electric service charge that were proposed earlier in the year because they did not want to put any further burden on the membership. They also extended our disconnection grace period to June 1 to give those who needed it a little more time. 

Our member services department is working with members and we are also providing a list of service agencies on our website (https://bit.ly/helpagency) that may be able to further help those who need resources.

These acts are all part of the cooperative difference. Its people helping people and concern for community being demonstrated. Because we’re all in this together and keeping the lights on is a necessity.