And Light Up the Holidays of Local Communities
If your conversation with Kelly Nuckols turns to the services of Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation (JPEC), he (literally) lights up!
And the company, of which he is president and CEO, takes great pride in lighting up the holiday for JPEC members in a host of regional communities including Calvert City and the Patti’s restaurant properties in Grand Rivers. “We try very hard to respond to the needs of the communities we have a presence in, and holiday lighting is one of the ways we can help smaller local areas with some extra holiday spirit,” Kelly commented.
In a similar local ownership commitment as that of Paducah Bank, Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation is owned by its customers. Because JPEC is a non-profit cooperative, each of its customers has a financial stake in the company. “At JPEC, we truly believe that our members are the most important part of the company,” Kelly added. “Each year we strive to bring our members the best possible service at the lowest possible rates. We believe that over the years we’ve done just that.”
In that same light, Paducah Bank is owned by local investors and its employees in contrast to other Paducah banks originating in Minneapolis and Memphis. This JPEC kinship with Paducah Bank brings the two entities into a cooperative partnership based on a mutual appreciation of putting customers first. “We share the same principles of customer service and quality products as those of Paducah Bank. There have been many instances when the bank has made innovative recommendations that have enhanced our billing and financial processes and we respect their personal interest in our success,” Kelly said.
Since 1996, JPEC has reduced its overall rates by more than 10 percent. As of this year, JPEC’s rates are the lowest in the region in both the residential and the commercial sectors. Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation’s 74 employees serve more than 28,000 customers in the six western Kentucky counties of Ballard, Carlisle, Graves, Livingston, Marshall and McCracken.
Residents may not have a choice of provider for their electrical energy, but they do have choices about how they cook their food, heat their homes and water, etc. “We want people to be knowledgeable and informed about the dedication we have to making efficient, affordable electrical energy available to them along with other new and inventive services,” Kelly explained. “We continuously instill in each member of our staff that we are here to bend over back- wards for our customers. We don’t want them to have a good experience when they encounter a JPEC employee; we want it to be a great experience.”
For example, for many years JPEC has offered a budget billing program which allows members to average their monthly payments so that peak usage in very hot or very cold months does not spike their monthly payment. Members can arrange for their payment to be automatically deducted from their checking account each month, so there’s no worry of missing a payment. Credit card payments can be arranged for automatic charges to a Visa or Master Card account, or if you use JPEC’s branded Master Card, the issuing bank will provide up to 3 percent of the bill as a cash back reward.
Most recently JPEC has integrated into their product mix the provision of long distance services at the competitive rate of 4.9 cents per minute. “And in the near future, we hope to evaluate a high-speed internet service so that people who may not have had an available connection, depending on the location of their residence, can have access to this desirable service.”
Electric cooperatives set them- selves apart in several ways. They are locally owned and operated putting member needs first and placing a focus on local priorities. The cooperative business model guarantees every customer a voice in business decisions. And though many large utility companies are closing local offices, electric cooperatives are located in the communities they serve, making them accessible and responsive to their consumer-owners.
“One of the greatest gratifications of my job here at JPEC is the dedication of our employees to the goals of our company,” Kelly concluded. “Every day, each of the talented and devoted members of our staff and management seeks to meet our mission of providing excellent service to the thousands of people and businesses we serve. That’s really a bright spot in my day!”