CEO’s Message — February 2022

Don’t Keep Us in the Dark

Headshot of Clay FitchAlthough elders are expected to be the source for wise words, we often hear wisdom from all ages of people. So often these days, proverbs and platitudes come from the inexhaustible well of truth and fiction provided by the internet.

A recent post rang true: “You can choose to be unhappy about having a lot of snow. You will have the same amount of snow, but will be a lot less happy.”

I have always liked snow, but with Wells Rural Electric Company’s focus on reliability, I have to admit the thrill of a good snowstorm has been tempered by the possibility of an outage, the inconvenience to our members, and safety concerns when our crews must go out in harsh weather.

New Year’s weekend saw a lengthy outage in the Jiggs, Lee, and South Fork areas. Restoring power took longer than usual because power lines were damaged in two locations. After repairs were completed in one location, crews attempted to reenergize the circuit only to find more damage further down the line. Two crews could have been working simultaneously had we known there was damage in a second location.

In this situation, and many others, you can help us turn the power back on faster by making sure the phone number we have on your account is accurate before we have a major outage. Not only does a current phone number help us deliver updated outage information to you, every call that comes in helps us map the extent of an outage and pinpoint the most likely source of the problem.

If WREC doesn’t have the correct phone number associated with your account, it could delay repair of your service.

One of the most powerful storms I have ever seen blew in on Tuesday, January 4. Despite our best efforts to build and maintain a safe, reliable system to deliver clean, affordable electricity to you, this storm knocked out power to Wells and the surrounding communities for about nine hours when the main transmission line went down.

Clover Valley and Ruby Valley were hit even harder. Snow and blowing debris from buildings that were destroyed by the wind left our members in the dark for about 16 hours. Five power poles were destroyed and several others were damaged. Crews from Carlin and Wendover were called in to assist, but the fierce wind and frozen ground made repairs extremely difficult. One veteran lineman said these were the worst working conditions he has ever experienced.

An outage of this magnitude is an all-hands-on-deck event. In addition to the crews working to restore power, our after-hours call center answers every call and provides updated information as soon as it becomes available. Our member service representatives do their best to answer your questions and make face-to-face visits to share news. Our communications team provides updated information through social media.

If you don’t already, I urge you to follow WREC on Facebook and install the SmartHub app on your phone. These are great ways for us to communicate with each other on those rare occasions when we are in the dark.

Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer