November 2020 Featured Employee: Ernest Overton

November 2020 Featured Employee: Ernest Overton

Meter Technician I
November 30, 2020

Meter Technician Ernest Overton has become quite skilled at juggling a variety of unique situations throughout his work shifts and also in dealing with adversity while keeping a positive attitude – not just for himself, but for our customers. 

GUC’s Meter Section is responsible for 134,472 electric, water, and gas meters on our system. Ernest is part of the Service Team responsible for completing all service-related orders that come in through Credit and Customer Relations as well as the 24/7 standby call rotation. In a nutshell, he’s responsible for turning off gas, electric, and water services for customers moving out or non-pay disconnects, and for turning service back on for electric and water customers. For safety purposes, our Gas Department is responsible for turning on gas. 

A big part of Ernest’s job is interacting with customers as well as GUC’s Credit Section and Customer Service Representatives. He works closely with Credit staff on customer disconnects. “I keep Credit dialed into my radio when doing disconnects because unique situations always come up,” he said. “For instance, if the meter is behind a fence, there are aggressive dogs around, or a customer is unusually upset, we have to adjust how we handle those types of disconnects.”  

Ernest began his career with GUC in 2017 and still bases his customer interactions off something that General Manager/CEO Tony Cannon shared with him early on. “A lot of times, customers just need someone to listen to them and the problems they are going through,” said Ernest. I’ll never forget what Tony Cannon told me when I first started at GUC. He said we can’t always take care of customers’ problems, but we can give them solutions. So I always give our customers options. And once a customer has taken care of their account delinquency, I will go out of my way to make sure that customer is reconnected as soon as humanly possible.” 

Working with our customers is one of the aspects of the job that Ernest enjoys the most. “I like working with our customers and talking with them,” he said.Customers today are dealing with a lot of emotions around the pandemic, and they like to talk to us when we show up. I’ve also enjoyed learning about how our electric services work. 

Customer service work is nothing new to Ernest. Before joining GUC, he worked with Cintas for 10 years delivering business uniforms and supplies to their customer base in the Morehead City area.  

Ernest is also one of six employees who volunteered to be on GUC’s COVID-19 Decontamination Team. If an employee is diagnosed with Coronavirus and he or she had been in a GUC workspace or vehicle, those areas have to be disinfected to limit exposure to others. The Decontamination Team provides us with an internal group that is trained to quickly respond to these instances. 

Originally from Chocowinity, Ernest now lives in Greenville with his wife, Teresa. Before the pandemic, they enjoyed travelling and have been to places as far away as Germany, Peru, and Hawaii. Their favorite place to visit is Cancun, Mexico. But since March, they have kept their “travels” local by spending time with his parents and sister in Chocowinity, his brother’s family in Greenville, and his wife’s family in Jacksonville 

Ernest and Teresa also love reading the Bible and sharing stories of hope with people. One of his favorite verses is Acts 20:35, in particular, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” He says he tries to keep this mind set and think about other people rather than himself. “People will try you and will say things to you,” he said, “and what helps me is to remember that they are not upset with me, but with their situation.” 


Book: Bible 
TV show: Pimple Popper 
Snack: Peanut M&Ms 
Vacation Spot: Cancun  
Sports Team: Steelers