In the last few months, I’ve spoken about how proud I have been with our GVEC team during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today I want to talk about how impressive it was to see the communities we’re apart of handle the sudden onset of uncertainties, stay-at-home orders and the need to come together like never before.
Almost overnight, small businesses had to learn a new way to operate. Restaurants, though may have previously provided take out, began offering curb-side pick up and delivery; boutiques and stores suddenly found it necessary to develop or boost online sales and services; essential service businesses had to figure out how to accommodate employees who now had children learning from home, while still serving their customers according to CDC recommendations; and unfortunately, some small businesses ultimately have had to close their doors.
However, the tenacity of these business owners and their patrons throughout the community has been nothing short of inspiring. The call to “shop local” has been heard by many. GVEC has tried to help by showcasing some of these places on our social media outlets. We need to support the entities that sponsor our hometown sports teams, youth programs, local festivals and fundraising events. In the meantime, we also pray that soon these local establishments will be able to go back to business as usual.
As much as local businesses in our communities have needed our support during this pandemic, GVEC quickly responded to the sudden needs of individuals and families in the areas we serve as well. During a time of apprehension for so many, the last thing we wanted was for our members and customers to carry the additional worry of incurring extra fees or having their services cut off. GVEC immediately suspended late penalties and non-payment disconnections on our electric and internet services. We also adjusted our payment arrangement policy according to individual needs, and we continue to work with our members and customers according to their specific circumstances.
We realized, however, that that these unprecedented times called for more to support our membership. In March, our Board of Directors voted to add an additional $20,000 to Power Up™ community assistance in the wake of COVID-19. Normal assistance qualifications were amended to make funding available to a larger part of our membership finding themselves with new financial difficulties. And in July, we were gladly able to announce our largest-ever distribution of capital credits—$6.6 million—to our member-owners.
At GVEC, we know we’re only as good as the communities we’re a part of, and in the Guadalupe Valley our communities are outstanding. Though we still may be facing a few uncertainties, there’s an unwavering certainty that remains: The more we support each other, the stronger we are. GVEC is committed to continually support and stand behind our members, customers and communities.
I am always interested in your comments and feedback. Contact me by phone at 830.857.1152, by email at email@example.com or by mail at P.O. Box 118, Gonzales, Texas 78629.