After-hours outage reporting announcement

Dear Members,

We wanted to share with you the reason you may not be able to get through to our after-hours call answering and dispatching partner.  We partnered with the Cooperative Response Center (CRC), a service cooperative that shares the same seven cooperative principles we operate under, 15 years ago.  They have had very good service and have been able to assist our cooperative in handling calls and dispatching crews over the years.

In 2021 they are seeing higher absenteeism along with difficulties in hiring new staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This became acute in May when they started losing existing staff and were unable to find replacements.  Since May, CRC is down 50% in staffing, including absenteeism.  Their employees have left despite higher wages in the contact center and they have been unable to find either replacements or new employees.

Due to the staffing shortages our members are seeing longer wait times, more abandoned calls, and calls that can’t complete in automation, resulting in a message to try the call again later.  While we all know this is not a good customer experience, to answer more calls CRC is relying more on automation to handle call volume due to the shortage of employees.

Accordingly, when you are reporting an outage, please have your account number ready, improving the likelihood of reporting your outage successfully. In addition, we will notify CRC about the status of outages so they can inform callers with a recorded message greeting to ensure you know that we have been alerted to the situation and crews are out working.

Our partner has shared with us the many short-term as well as long-term solutions that are being implemented and hope to turn things around by late October or early November.  We appreciate your patience and please know that Monroe County Electric Cooperative Inc. and CRC are working together to give you the best service possible at this time and always.

Thank you.