The Power in Preparation

September 2018

Preparation is the key to success in many things we do in life. Planning, practice and thoughtful assessment provide opportunities to work out potential problems in advance.

September is National Preparedness Month, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency is encouraging all of us to prepare for emergencies. But most of us do better when we prepare for the routine, the extraordinary and the unexpected.

For electric cooperatives in Virginia, preparation plays a huge role in ensuring that our members have the electricity they need as soon as they flip a light switch or start an appliance.

When a co-op crew pulls a truck into a loading bay, warehouse workers have already pulled the parts and equipment needed for that crew’s scheduled-day’s work. When a member services representative discusses balanced billing by telephone, they’re helping a member with preparations to ease the impact of seasonal high bills.

When meteorologists call for exceptionally hot or cold weather, electric co-ops work closely with their generation- and-transmission cooperatives and other power providers to ensure adequate supplies of electricity are reserved to meet anticipated demand.

Virginia’s electric co-ops are constantly preparing for the future. Engineers and construction crews design, build and upgrade the electric system to move electricity from power plants and substations to farms, homes and businesses.

All of these actions prepare electric co-ops to deal with the daily challenges of meeting the electricity needs of their members. But working together, we put in just as much effort preparing for the uncertainties posed by flooding, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, high winds, blizzards and ice storms. Electric co-ops maintain and constantly update emergency- response plans. Employees train for major events and know in advance what their primary and secondary roles would be. Electric co-ops also subscribe to mutual-aid agreements. That’s why you see trucks and crews from co-ops in other states in your communities when major power outages occur.

We also work with state and national officials to help ensure that crews can get to your communities when they are needed and have the lodging, food and support necessary to work effectively far from home.

September may be National Preparedness Month, but Virginia’s electric cooperatives are committed to preparedness every day ––for the routine, the extraordinary and the unexpected.


Derrill Holly writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape.