Co-ops have a mission of light

Chris Meyers
General Manager
Oklahoma Association of
Electric Cooperatives

Today, we benefit from modern-day conveniences such as running water, air conditioning, heating, gadgets, appliances and more. Rural communities have flourished with economic opportunity, access to health care, transportation infrastructure, quality education and technological advancements. It was not always like that. 

Eighty years ago, rural Oklahoma was in the dark. Through the hard work and cooperation of pioneers, electric cooperatives were formed, empowering rural America. As co-op members, we now enjoy the fruits of their labor. There are others, however, who have not been as fortunate. 

The International Energy Agency reports 1.2 billion people—or 16 percent of the world population—live without electricity today. In the spirit of cooperation, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives are partnering with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) philanthropic arm, NRECA International, to bring electricity to an isolated village in Guatemala. As you are reading this edition of Oklahoma Living, 13 volunteers are leaving for Guatemala to build power lines and electrify 80 homes in the village of Chiis. Volunteer linemen, engineers and electricians are eager to help those families have light for the first time and achieve a better quality of life. 

To help further this cause, the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives formed a 501(c)3, the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation. We encourage co-op members throughout the state to be a part of this journey by contributing a tax-deductible gift to this fund. We can’t bring electricity to all 1.2 billion people, but we can do our part in helping others to improve their lives. After all, where would we be if someone else had not invested in us? 
Join the journey at http:/ Article End

Celebrating your co-op membership

Scott Copeland
Oklahoma Association of
Electric Cooperatives

At the core, being a member of your electric cooperative means you’re a vested owner of the co-op. As a member-owner, you enjoy several benefits that come with your co-op membership. Co-op members can serve or elect neighbors to serve on the co-op’s board of trustees.

Additionally, member-owners have the opportunity to make their voices heard at a co-op’s Annual Meeting. 

The premise of the cooperative business model is neighbors helping neighbors. Our bottom line is not to make profits—in fact, electric cooperatives are not-for-profit entities. You could say our bottom line is to provide you, our valued member-owner, with safe, reliable and affordable electricity. Sure, we have to think about expenses, operating costs and other aspects of the utility business, but when cooperatives have margins and meet business obligations, cooperatives return margins to their member-owners in the form of capital credits. 

Cooperation is an inherent part of cooperatives, right down to the root of the word.

Cooperatives live out the principle, “Cooperation Among Cooperatives.” A recent example was demonstrated in Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives sending 46 linemen to help a sister cooperative, Excelsior EMC, in Georgia with power restoration efforts following Hurricane Irma. Within the electric cooperative family, we lend a hand to each other when another is in need; it’s just what we do and another way of demonstrating why cooperatives are special.

As a member-owner, you can be proud of the fact that your electric cooperative genuinely cares about the communities it serves. When we think about membership, we think about all of the ways we can give back to you, our members—and that’s what matters most to us. OKL Article End