CO-OPEDUCATION

“What’s a cooperative anyway?”  “What’s the difference between an electric co-op and an investor-owned utility?” “How can I find out more about electric co-ops?”  Why do cooperatives call their customers member-owners?  What’s a G&T co-op? What does NRECA stand for? What role does a statewide association play in relation to co-ops? “What’s a cooperative anyway?”  “What’s the difference between an electric co-op and an investor-owned utility?” “How can I find out more about electric co-ops?”  Why do cooperatives call their customers member-owners?  What’s a G&T co-op? What does NRECA stand for? What role does a statewide association play in relation to co-ops?

America’s Cooperative Electric Utilities –
The Nation’s Consumer Owned Electric Utility
Network Electric Cooperatives are:

  • private independent electric utility businesses,
  • incorporated under the laws of the states in which they operate,
  • established to provide at-cost electric service,
  • owned by the consumers they serve,
  • governed by a board of directors elected from the membership, which sets policies and procedures that are implemented by the cooperatives’ professional staff.

Distribution cooperatives deliver electricity to the consumer. Generation and transmission cooperatives (G&Ts) generate and transmit electricity to distribution co-ops. In addition to electric service, many electric co-ops are involved in community development and revitalization projects, e.g., small business development and jobs creation, improvement of water and sewer systems, and assistance in delivery of health care and educational services.

Statewide Associations

In 38 of the 46 states in which electric cooperatives operate, statewide associations provide a unified voice that speaks to the general public, regulatory bodies and state legislatures on behalf of their members. These associations are voluntarily supported, governed by representatives of the member cooperatives and offer commonly desired services. Thirty-two statewide associations publish newspapers or magazines for the co-op consumer-owners, reaching more than six million readers each month.

National Representation

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) represents the national interests of cooperative electric utilities. NRECA provides legislative, legal and regulatory services; and programs in insurance, management and employee education, training, consulting, public relations and advertising. NRECA and its member cooperatives also support energy and environmental research and administer a program of technical advice and assistance in developing countries around the world.

Cooperative Businesses

More than 100 million people are members of 47,000 U.S. cooperatives, enabling consumers to secure a wide array of goods and services such as health care, insurance, housing, food, heating fuel, hardware, credit unions, child care and utility services.

Support Powerline Workers

Changing Lives: Power Line Worker Program makes a difference

Julie Thompson Manning was concerned about her youngest son, Charlie. Coming out of high school in Midlothian, Va., he was still looking for the right path to follow. His one passion was climbing, whether it was on an indoor rock wall or with friends in the West Virginia mountains.

The answer came in the mailbox.

A 2018 feature story on the Gaff-n-Go Lineworkers’ Rodeo in Cooperative Living caught the eye of Manning, whose family had recently moved to Southside Electric Cooperative territory in Powhatan.

“This would be perfect for Charlie. He could climb for a living. Yes, he would have to be interested in this!” Manning recalls thinking.

Manning invited her son to lunch — “food is a great motivator,” she notes. She showed him a video about the Power Line Working Training School at Southside Virginia Community College, a program created with the help of electric cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

Two weeks later, he asked for contact information and enrolled in the 11-week course that provides a foundation for a career in the electric lineworker industry. He excelled at the school and was employed even before graduation day.

“Can you imagine the joy I felt?” his mother asks, saying her son has a career he loves. “This all came from a move to the country, from a magazine that happened to be in my mailbox, to a picture of a man on a pole, to a shared lunch, to a video that changed a life forever.”

Today, Charlie, 21, works for the city of Estes Park, Colo., where he can climb the Rockies and utility poles to his heart’s content. His mom gives a big shoutout to SVCC for helping a boy become a man.

“He tells me often how much the people of Estes Park admire the lineworkers and all they do to keep the electricity flowing in their mountain city,” Manning says.

Want to motivate your son or daughter similarly? Check out southside.edu/.
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MAKING A SPLASH. Christina Edwards of Woodford, a Rappahannock Electric Cooperative member, sent us this photo. “COVID-19 hasn't kept my four-year-old grandson, Connor James, from enjoying summer!“ she wrote.

How are you enjoying your summer? Got any photos you’d like to share with us? Send them to [email protected]
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STAR POOCH. Ruckus had a great Fourth of July! Did you? Thanks for sharing this photo, Amanda McLellan!

If you’d like to share your favorite July Fourth photos with us for consideration in next year’s Say Cheese column, you can share them in the comments below or by emailing them to [email protected]
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804-346-3344
www.vmdaec.com
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