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Commentary Co-ops have a mission of light T


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


he month of October is desig- nated as Nation- al Cooperative


Month, and it is a time we celebrate the cooperative business model. From its inception in the 1930s, the rural electric cooperative program has proven itself


valuable. The rural electrification movement originated from the desire to improve the quality of life for farmers, ranchers and rural communi- ties. Today, we benefi t from modern-day conve- niences such as running water, air conditioning, heating, gadgets, appliances and more. Rural communities have fl ourished with economic op- portunity, access to health care, transportation in- frastructure, 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, em- powering rural America. As co-op members, we now enjoy the fruits of their labor. There are oth- ers, however, who have not been as fortunate.


The International Energy Agency reports 1.2 billion people—or 16 percent of the world popu- lation—live without electricity today. In the spirit of cooperation, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives are partnering with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) philan- thropic arm, NRECA International, to bring elec- tricity 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 elec- tricians are eager to help those families have light for the fi rst 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:/tinyurl.com/energy-


trails Celebrating your co-op membership O


Scott Copeland President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


member of a co-op different?


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 benefi ts 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 opportu- nity 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 profi ts—in fact, electric coopera- tives are not-for-profi t entities. You could say our bottom line is to provide you, our valued


ctober is Na- tional Cooper- ative Month, and it is a time


to celebrate what your co- operative membership tru- ly means. You could be a member of many different places and associations, but what makes being a


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 re- turn margins to their member-owners in the form of capital credits. Cooperation is an inherent part of coopera- tives, 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 coopera- tives sending 46 linemen to help a sister cooper- ative, 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 demonstrat- ing 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.


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Chris Meyers, General Manager Scott Copeland, President Larry Hicks, Vice-President Tim Smith, Secretary Brent Bacon, Treasurer


Staff


Sid Sperry, Director of PR & Communications sksperry@oaec.coop


Anna Politano, Editor editor@okl.coop


Hayley Leatherwood, Multimedia Specialist hleatherwood@okl.coop


Shannen McCroskey, Marketing Specialist smccroskey@okl.coop


Kirbi Mills, Director of Admin. Services kmills@oaec.coop


Hillary Barrow, Admin. Services Assistant hbarrow@oaec.coop


Miguel Rios, Editorial Intern intern@okl.coop


Editorial, Advertising and General Offi ces P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154 Phone (405) 478-1455


Oklahoma Living online: www.okl.coop Subscriptions


$3.48 per year for rural electric cooperative members.


$7 per year for non-members. Cooperative Members: Report change of


address to your local rural electric cooperative. Non-Cooperative Members: Send address


changes to Oklahoma Living, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Oklahoma Living (ISSN 1064-8968),


USPS 407-040, is published monthly for consumer-members of Oklahoma’s rural electric cooperatives by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, 2325 E. I-44 Service Road, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Circulation this issue: 325,221


Periodical postage paid at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS.


The Oklahoma Association of Electric


Cooperatives is a statewide service organization for the following electric cooperatives: Alfalfa, Arkansas Valley, Canadian Valley, Central,


Choctaw, Cimarron, CKenergy, Cookson Hills, Cotton, East Central Oklahoma, Harmon, Indian, KAMO Power, Kay, Kiamichi, Lake Region, Northeast Oklahoma, Northfork, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Ozarks, People’s,


Red River Valley, Rural, Southeastern, Southwest Rural, Tri-County, Verdigris Valley, and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.


4 WWW.OKL.COOP


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