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VVEC Cares MANAGER’S MESSAGE


Do you remember buying groceries at a local market or shopping for building supplies at a mom-and-pop hardware store? Today, more and more of these locally owned businesses are being driven out by national retailers that tend to be generic and focused on profits rather than people. Yet Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative (VVEC) is different. Your electric cooperative is locally owned and controlled. Our focus remains on our members and the local communities we serve—rather than profits. We genuinely care for our members.


A member-focused tradition From the very beginning VVEC has


existed for the people it serves. Prior to 1938, those living in rural Northeast Oklahoma lacked access to electricity. While urban areas enjoyed electric power, investor-owned utilities found it too expensive to build the power infrastructure out into the countryside. Power initially came to this part of the state when rural citizens banded together to form an electric cooperative. For the first time, those on farms and ranches enjoyed new opportunities and an increased standard of living—all afforded to them by electricity. The efforts of these co-op pioneers were solely about enhancing members’ lives and never about profits. Seventy-eight years later, our purpose remains the same: providing safe, reliable electric power to you at the best possible price. As it has from its inception, VVEC exists to improve the quality of life of our members. Since we have no interest in making a profit, we do not increase revenues above what is required to operate the business in a financially sound manner. This enables us to provide you with the most affordable electricity possible and to keep our focus on serving you. In 2016, we were able to return $500,000 of our excess


revenues to our members in the form of capital credit refunds. In addition, we provide programs like the Co-op Connections Card that make discounts available to you on local goods and services, such as prescription drugs. VVEC also offers energy audits and rebates on energy efficient heating and cooling units and other appliances to help you increase the efficiency of your home and save money on your electric bill.


Caring for our communities One of the principles that guides the


cooperative business model is, “Concern for Community.” Each year, VVEC demonstrates this concern by investing in a number of opportunities to benefit our local communities. In 2016, VVEC awarded 11 Rural Fire Department grants; these funds will enable local departments to purchase life-saving equipment, making our communities safer places to live. In May, VVEC employees gave of their time to serve at the Special Olympics of Oklahoma Summer Games. And in July 2016, after a severe storm caused widespread outages in Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s service territory, VVEC showed care for fellow Oklahomans by sending line crews to assist with power restoration efforts. VVEC believes it is important to


invest in the next generations and does so by providing various opportunities for students. In 2016, VVEC awarded five Adopt-A-School grants. The funds given will allow schools and educators to purchase supplies and teaching aids they otherwise would not be able to afford, thus improving the quality of education for local students. With safety in mind, VVEC organizes demonstrations at local schools intended to educate students about electricity. In 2016, VVEC provided eight scholarships to local students: two high school juniors went on an


VVEC General Manager Alice Houston


all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., as part of the cooperative Youth Tour program; two received scholarships to attend Energy Camp, a leadership- development camp for eighth-graders; and four others received funds for higher education. In addition, VVEC donated funds to support local FFA chapters.


The cooperative difference VVEC’s care for our members and


communities can be summarized by the phrase, “The Cooperative Difference.” The cooperative business model sets VVEC apart from the profit-oriented businesses that are prominent today. VVEC is—and will always be—100 percent locally owned by you, our members. Nine of your fellow member- owners make up VVEC’s board of trustees. You may run into them at the grocery store or sit in the stands with them at a football game. You can be certain that as they make decisions for the co-op, they have you in mind. More than a utility provider, VVEC is an engaged member of the local communities we serve. This is because VVEC truly cares.


Power Circuit • October 2017 • 3


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