It seems as though every city has a detrimental side as well as its share of valued assets.
Greenville is no different. It’s a city rife with potholes and crumbling infrastructure in its older quarters. But it’s also a vibrant, growing city with many fine assets, both in the private and public realms. Among its chief assets is Greenville Electric Utility System, better known as GEUS.
In March 4, 1891, Greenville became the first in city in Texas to produce its own power. GEUS became fully autonomous from the City Council in 1988, and is now one of Greenville’s jewels.
It’s during times of difficulties and challenges that excellence seems to rise to the top. Twice this week, power was knocked out at the Herald-Banner. The first time was Monday after an underground cable failed, leaving our building and a few others without power. Putting out a newspaper without electrical power is a near impossibility, and the cable problem was no easy fix. Understanding our predicament, a crew from GEUS worked continuously and diligently to restore power to our building, getting us back up and running by early afternoon. A GEUS supervisor kept us apprised of the work and apologized repeatedly for the inconvenience.
On Thursday night, the paper and thousands of other GEUS customers were left without electrical power when a violent storm pummeled the city. Roughly 3,500 GEUS customers were without power due to downed lines, blown transformers and damaged power poles.
By 9 a.m. Friday morning, power had been restored to all but about 200 scattered customers. Crews from GEUS braved the storm and worked tirelessly to quickly restore power to customers.
It’s not that GEUS believes it must function at a high level to please investors. GEUS doesn’t earn a cent of profit. It is totally community owned.
“Every asset you see, every pole, every inch of wire was paid for through the rates the community paid into the system,” GEUS General Manager Alicia Hooks told the Herald-Banner recently. Meeting the needs and expectations of its ratepayers is what GEUS strives for, Hooks added.
The responsiveness displayed by GEUS is something that some in positions of responsibility in Greenville should learn from.
Not only does GEUS have some of the lowest rates when compared with other electric companies, it prides itself on customer service and accountability. It recently was honored for excellence in financial reporting.
Said Hooks: “Our employees take ownership of the work that they do for the community and take pride in it. We just want to continue to evolve to be the utility that our customers want and expect for their system.”
So far, that mission is one that GEUS is accomplishing.
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