September 9, 2021
Since launching the Renew Principle a year ago, Starkville Utilities has made significant progress in strengthening customer relationships while helping build a stronger, more sustainable community poised for continued growth and success.
“A year ago, we renewed our commitment to improve service and safely deliver reliable, affordable utilities to serve Starkville’s evolving needs,” said Terry Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “It’s been an eventful and at times very challenging year, but we’ve worked together to stay on track by implementing a variety of initiatives designed to create more meaningful customer experiences and lay the groundwork for an even better future.”
Enhancing communication and offering products and technologies that make it easier to do business with Starkville Utilities are key drivers of the Renew Principle. To advance performance in those areas, the utility developed a comprehensive communication program to keep customers better informed about their utility services using e-newsletters, bill inserts, social media messaging and other channels.
Starkville Utilities also launched an upgraded phone system, website and mobile app that have enhanced accessibility for customers by offering a variety of secure, convenient tools to manage their accounts, receive assistance and provide feedback about their services.
“We’re definitely communicating more with customers as part of our efforts to be more responsive to their needs, both today and in the future,” Kemp said. “In light of the ongoing pandemic, expanding our use of electronic tools and technologies also has provided safer ways to engage with customers to ensure we’re meeting their utility needs.”
As part of its commitment to pursue operational excellence, Starkville Utilities made progress on its Future FOCUS infrastructure initiative, including a sewer system upgrade in the Green Oaks neighborhood, a water main and sidewalk replacement project on North Montgomery Street, and commissioning the new southwest substation to enhance electric service reliability.
Starkville Utilities also completed the first major renovation of the Earnest E. Jones Wastewater Treatment Plant since its construction in 1980. Upgrades included new dewatering technology that is not only more environmentally sustainable but also creates a usable byproduct from sewage sludge.
The environment received another boost when Starkville became the first municipality in Mississippi to sign a Tennessee Valley Authority Green Invest agreement, which provides a local, clean and cost-effective renewable energy option for Starkville Utilities’ customers.
In addition to upgrading Starkville’s utility systems, the Renew Principle prioritized community investments. Over the past year, Starkville Utilities, with TVA’s partnership, funded grant programs to support local COVID-19 relief efforts as well as school projects focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math education.
Most recently, Starkville Utilities and Starkville Oktibbeha County School District teamed up to launch The Academic Houses at Starkville High School, a program designed to put high school students on an advanced path toward career success.
Providing excellent service requires a highly skilled workforce focused on continuous training and improvement. Shortly after launching the Renew Principle, Starkville Utilities held a groundbreaking ceremony for its enhanced, consolidated operations center designed to improve employee performance and customer responsiveness which should be complete by the end of this year.
“Providing safe, reliable and affordable utilities for customers will always be our core mission,” Kemp said. “That’s why we plan to stay the course in our Renew Principle journey, going a step beyond to improve service for customers, strengthen our community and make sure our employees are prepared for the future.”
Starkville Utilities is 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.