March 28, 2022

Midwest Energy Permanently Closes Walk-In Office at Hoxie

Effective immediately, Midwest Energy is closing its walk-in office in Hoxie, Kan.  Midwest Energy will continue to own the building at 916 Sheridan Avenue, and still operate electric, natural gas and fleet management services from the location.     

The permanent closure follows the office’s temporary shuttering Feb. 7 after the sole Customer Service Representative (CSR) at Hoxie accepted a promotion and a transfer to Midwest’s Hays office.  That left the company with a difficult decision: backfill the position in a location that had seen a dramatic drop in customer traffic, or close the office.

“The Hoxie office had seen a huge drop in walk-in customers the past few years, from more than 10 customers a day to just three per day on average,” said Bob Muirhead, Midwest Energy’s Vice President of Customer Service.  “The economics of basing a full-time CSR there became difficult to justify.”  

Muirhead noted the closure follows a trend in the utility industry, with most investor-owned utilities closing all walk-in offices years ago.  Electric cooperatives, which serve hundreds of smaller rural communities in Kansas, have been following suit in recent years.  Only six of Kansas’ 28 cooperatives now have more than one walk-in office. 

Midwest previously closed offices in Ellis and Quinter, as personnel retired or transferred to other locations.  Muirhead said that advances in technology and a willingness to conduct business online has prompted a continual review of in-person operations.

“More and more of our customers are choosing to conduct business online, over the phone, or through the mail,” Muirhead said.  “Nearly 20,000 of our customers use bank draft to automatically pay their bill each month, and 8,000 use electronic billing and don’t even get a paper bill in the mail anymore,” he added.  “Any transaction a Midwest customer needs to complete, from starting or stopping service, or setting up a payment plan, they no longer need to do face-to-face.  Everything, with the exception of a cash payment, can be done online or over the telephone,” Muirhead said. 

“Midwest serves 12 communities larger than Hoxie that don’t have a walk-in office,” Muirhead said.  “Our goal is to provide exceptional service to our customer-members at the best price possible.  Operating efficiently and economically in every aspect of our business helps us achieve that.”

Muirhead noted that customers who wish to share concerns about the closure can contact him directly at 1-800-222-3121.     

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