By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ
At first glance, 2020 is a year most of us would like to forget. But challenging times test character and often bring out the best in people. These Top 10 stories of 2020 highlight CoServ’s giving spirit and commitment to the communities we serve, even through these challenging times.
Also, check out this Photo Gallery showing some of the biggest CoServ News moments of the year.
Pandemic forces CoServ to close building, send employees to work from home.
CoServ reacted quickly when the COVID-19 pandemic swept through Texas, closing the lobby to the public and sending Employees to work from home when possible. “We provide critical infrastructure services, so we cannot close for business,” CEO Donnie Clary said in March when the pandemic first hit Texas. Despite the challenges, CoServ continued to do what we’ve always done: providing uninterrupted energy to our Members and Customers.
CoServ sponsors socially distanced graduations at Texas Motor Speedway
In late May and early June, the COVID-19 pandemic put graduation ceremonies for thousands of North Texas seniors in jeopardy. CoServ’s Community Engagement Team’s strong relationship with area schools combined with our new Community Partnership with Texas Motor Speedway saved the day. TMS hosted 32 high school graduations where more than 13,500 seniors received their diplomas at the finish line on the NASCAR track. CoServ sponsored the two-week event.
CoServ Member gives first-hand account from front lines in a New York City hospital
Marcia Foster is a CoServ Member and nurse practitioner who lives in Frisco. She spent most of April in New York City caring for patients with COVID-19. She gave us a first-hand account of the fatigue, the grief and the pain of seeing patients surviving on life support without the comfort of their loved ones.
CoServ supports local FFA programs at livestock shows
CoServ started as a rural electric cooperative and, despite the rapid growth in recent decades, hasn’t forgotten its roots. That’s why CoServ has a special team that goes to Future Farmers of America shows throughout North Texas to support the next generation of livestock growers. They form relationships with the students and will bid on livestock to boost the price. When CoServ does win a bid, the student receives the proceeds and either keeps the animals or it’s donated to feed the hungry.
CoServ surprises seniors with $5,000 scholarships
With schools shut down in the spring, CoServ had to improvise to surprise high school seniors with their $5,000 scholarships. Because we couldn't surprise them in the classroom, our Community Engagement Team coordinated with teachers, counselors and parents so the recipient unknowingly hops on a video chat for an "interview". They had no idea CoServ was going to surprise them with a scholarship.
Watch one of the recipients react when they learn they received a scholarship.
CoServ works with Denton County on OPEN Grants, establishes COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund with $427k
Many businesses in Denton County had to shut down in the spring when they were deemed nonessential and even after the stay-at-home orders were lifted, customers were slow to return. CoServ partnered with Denton County to offer OPEN Grants of up to $10,000 to help qualifying businesses stay afloat. The primary source for the first round of grants was 20 years worth of CoServ Capital Credit retirements the county had been saving for a rainy day. The grant portal also utilized CoServ’s software license with WizeHive.
CoServ also established the CCF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund that contributed a total of $427,000 to social service agencies in North Texas to help individuals affected by the pandemic.
Snake fences keep critters away from critical substation infrastructure
CoServ is always looking for ways to improve electric reliability and that includes keeping snakes and other critters out of our substations. If an animal touches two pieces of equipment, it could cause a power outage that affects thousands of Members. This year, CoServ installed animal deterrent systems at several substations. These electrified fences, also called “snake fences,” deliver a mild electrical shock if touched to deter animals from climbing them.
CoServ responds to two hurricanes on the Gulf Coast
Hurricanes wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast in 2020, knocking out power to thousands of electric cooperatives. CoServ provided mutual aid to Baldwin EMC in Alabama and Coast Electric Power Association in Mississippi. Our electric linemen crews worked 12-hour days replacing broken power poles, putting in new electric line and restoring power for thousands.
Listen to the As A Meter Of Fact Podcast to hear a CoServ electric lineman talk about his time in Alabama.
Lapetus starts commercial operation, adding more solar power to CoServ's energy mix
CoServ added 50 megawatts of West Texas solar power to its energy mix in January from the Lapetus Solar Project in January. The 800-acre project has 339,622 solar modules located in Andrews County. At the time, the deal marked the largest single power purchase agreement to date between an electric cooperative and a solar facility.
Click here for more on CoServ’s energy mix.
CoServ launches the As A Meter Of Fact Podcast
This year, we launched the As A Meter Of Fact podcast, a smart show that provides important information and news in a fun and entertaining way. Since its launch in April, the podcast has told stories about life in North Texas, provided energy tips to help people save money, and shared what CoServ has learned in over 80 years of working with electricity and natural gas. Check out this entertaining show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts."