SMECO newsletter

volume 66 - issue 5 - may 2016

SMECO President and Senior Vice Presidents. Front row, from left: Austin J. Slater, Jr., President and CEO; and Sonja M. Cox, Senior VP, Financial, Economic, and Employee Services, and CFO. Second row, from left: Kenneth M. Capps, Senior VP, Engineering and Operations, and COO; Mark A. MacDougall, Senior VP, External Affairs, and General Counsel; and Joseph Trentacosta, Senior VP, Information and Customer Services, and CIO.

Reaching out to members

Staying connected with customer-members means knowing who needs help. Whether we are helping customers save energy on electric bills, or helping them get back on their feet, the Cooperative difference means looking out for the members we serve.

Save energy and save money

SMECO offers many energy efficiency programs designed to help members improve the comfort and efficiency of their homes and businesses, as well as financially efficient ways to implement those changes. Members can visit the website to learn about the many savings and rebate programs available on lighting, appliances, water heaters, and more. The Cooperative also launched an online store on its website that features an array of energy-efficient appliances and lights for sale in one convenient spot—with increased discounts. Products in the online store help members save an average of 60 percent off the regular price. In addition to the convenience of having all the items in one spot, all appliances featured in the online store are eligible for SMECO rebates, making it even easier to get the most out of an energy-efficient appliance purchase.

Patriot Connect

In November 2015, SMECO launched the Patriot Connect program to help veterans and active military personnel who may be having a difficult time transitioning back into the community.

SMECO stands behind this country’s veterans. SMECO has many veterans among its employees. Pictured above is Joseph “Sundown” Swales. Sundown served for two years in the Army as a combat infantryman with one year in Vietnam. He earned the Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze service stars, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, a Combat Infantryman Badge, the Purple Heart, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm, and an Army Commendation Medal. Sundown also earned Expert Rifle qualification.

Media reports indicate that there is a high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among returning military personnel, and it has been at the root of an increased number of suicides. Nationally, as many as 22 veterans commit suicide every day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

SMECO's goal is to help someone who is suffering from a stress disorder get one step closer to a normal life. SMECO wanted to ease the burden and help smooth the transition by offering a few key services. For new customers, SMECO's customer service personnel are empowered to waive the service application fee and the customer deposit for eligible veterans and military personnel. For existing customer-members, customer service personnel may grant a payment extension to eligible veterans or active military personnel in need of assistance.

By making it easier for people with PTSD, combat stress, or related trauma to accomplish everyday tasks, the Cooperative hopes to help customer-members—people who have risked their lives in service to our country—with reintegrating into the community.

Members Helping Members

The Cooperative has been managing the Members Helping Members program for six years and the support continues to grow as customer-members join together to help neighbors who are struggling to pay their electric bills. In 2015, the number of participants grew to 1,700 registered contributors, as well as members who contribute lump-sum donations. In 2015, the amount of donations surpassed $63,000.

SMECO makes it easy for its members to sign up to add $1, $5, or $10 to their SMECO electric bill every month. Each month donations are sent to the Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, which administers the funds to those customer-members who seek aid and meet the qualifications.

Jake Moore, an apprentice lineman, joined other SMECO employees on September 9 to volunteer during United Way of Calvert County’s Day of Caring. Jake spent his day at the Arc of Southern Maryland.