April 10, 2020
Terry Kemp is the general manager for Starkville Utilities, a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.
It is impossible to quantify the many ways COVID-19 has impacted our lives over the last several weeks. In the face of this health threat, the people of Starkville have answered with an outpouring of compassion, generosity and kindness that has strengthened our resolve to make it through this crisis together. The positive example they’ve set has made me even more thankful to be part of this community.
Starkville Utilities is also part of the community, and as we continue dealing with challenges posed by COVID-19, we remain focused on providing essential services for customers while taking precautions to prioritize health and safety. Delivering safe, reliable and cost-effective electric and water service to customers is our mission — a mission that we are committed to upholding year-round. While the current health crisis has changed some of our routines, one thing that has not changed is our dedication to safety.
We understand heightened concerns about safety in light of the ongoing pandemic, including the safety of our city’s water supply. I want to assure customers that we are closely monitoring the water supply to ensure that it remains safe to drink. We follow stringent monitoring and testing protocols every day, and our operations meet all state and federal regulations.
In addition to safety concerns, the health crisis has created financial hardships for many families, and the requirement to shelter at home means customers are relying on their utility services more than usual. Starkville Utilities is part of the community, and we want to help customers who are facing economic difficulties. That’s why we are offering maximum flexibility in payment plans at this time, and we encourage customers who are struggling financially to contact us.
In our work locations, we are practicing social-distancing guidelines and other protective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Early in the crisis, Starkville Utilities closed our main lobby to the public as part of those precautions. Customers still have access to our drive-in window at 200 N. Lafayette Street, and they may call 662-323-3133 to set up service or discuss matters related to their accounts.
Out in the community, our linemen and field employees are equipped to carry out their functions safely and responsibly. Interacting with customers is one of the most enjoyable aspects of their job, but right now our crews must focus on safe-distancing rules, and we ask that residents stay clear of utility work areas. Again, if anyone has a question about their utility services, they are encouraged to call Starkville Utilities.
We understand this is a difficult and disruptive time for everyone. Amidst all of the uncertainties, we pledge to continue operating safely and providing reliable utility services for customers’ homes and businesses. We also appreciate their patience and understanding as we adjust our operating routines to comply with health precautions.
Closing our main office to the public has left a vacuum. We miss seeing our customers and the daily interactions that bring so much life and purpose to the work we do. I am confident that our lives and routines will eventually return to normal. Until that time, we at Starkville Utilities will do whatever is necessary to support the community and prioritize health and safety.