Submitted by Jackie Pratt, SELCO
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations (SELCO) has a unique approach to providing equipment for self-installation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff member Patrick Collins, Jr. has been delivering modems to customers by bicycle. Collins began working for SELCO as an intern and was later hired as a part-time GIS engineer, responsible for mapping SELCO’s broadband plant. Collins is also a professional cyclist who competes in race events around the world.
At the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, SELCO experienced a spike in demand for broadband installations and upgrades. To protect the health of customers and staff, SELCO shifted to self-installation of some equipment to limit contact in customer homes when possible. This change in operations required staff in other areas of the organization to step up and take on new responsibilities to meet the needs of customers.
Collins answered the call, delivering modems to customers throughout SELCO’s service territory on his bicycle. Collins, an accomplished professional cyclist, has been traversing the community of Shrewsbury (21.7 square miles, 36,000 pop.) with modem deliveries to customers daily.
Collins covers ground quickly on his bicycle and has been delivering equipment at a pace equal to or faster than using a motor vehicle. And he does it all without the use of fossil fuels or requiring resources needed by core plant maintenance staff. Collins was able to drop equipment off an average of once every 10 minutes on his most recent route, which covered approximately 45 miles in 3 hours. It’s important to Collins that his unique delivery approach is sustainable. He says “environmentally friendly transportation… that’s one of the main motivators for me, along with getting healthy exercise outdoors. I figure if the same thing can be accomplished on a bike instead of a motor vehicle, pedal away!”
Collins’ willingness to take on new challenges during this time is an example of how SELCO’s staff have pulled together to ensure the best service possible for Shrewsbury customers.
SELCO General Manager Michael R. Hale wants customers in Shrewsbury to know “SELCO is committed to providing a reliable network for our many customers that are working and learning from home during this unprecedented time. We are dedicated to ensuring our customers are online and ready to meet their own personal, professional, and educational challenges by providing them the service they rely on to connect to the world. Patrick is doing his part to make that happen and we are proud of his efforts.”
SELCO is a community owned and operated utility offering Shrewsbury residents and businesses high-quality electric and cable services at competitive prices. Collins currently races for the CS Velo Racing p/b Cannondale road team and the Katie Busick Photography/A-D Bikes cyclocross team. Information on Patrick Collins, Jr.’s cycling career can be found online at www.firstcycling.com/rider.php?r=58501 and www.crossresults.com/racer/109667