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For those of you new to Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative (and for those old hands who might need reminding), let me introduce to you one of the seven fundamental concepts upon which cooperatives are founded: Democratic Member Control.
It’s a principle that ensures you, as members of our cooperative, ultimately decide who gets elected to our board of directors, which determines the strategic direction of our organization. When it’s time to select members of the board of directors, ballots and candidate information are mailed to all co-op members. You can mail in the ballot to cast your votes.
The directors, as your elected representatives to the cooperative, in turn hire me—your general manager. And I am responsible for the employees who carry out the business of bringing you electricity.
But hiring me is by no means the directors’ only duty. Our directors must constantly consider policies affecting the operation of our cooperative. How much must we spend on maintenance? Do we need a new substation? How will we finance and build it? What role should renewable energy sources play in our power portfolio? How often do we update our technologies and facilities to keep our business efficient?
Being a director is not for everyone. The responsibilities are numerous, and the time commitments are considerable. Besides attending hours of meetings every month, your directors must continuously educate themselves about the complex business of electricity production and distribution.
The directors attend training on such subjects as the electric industry, strategic planning and financial decision-making. Our directors take a series of courses to become Credentialed Cooperative Directors through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. And their education doesn’t end there. Numerous other classes and conferences provide your directors with the knowledge they need to keep abreast of issues affecting this ever-changing industry.
After learning the business, directors begin making the sometimes difficult choices that will affect the co-op’s future.
Like any successful democracy, this decision-making process does not operate in the dark. We strive to keep you informed about the financial condition of the co-op. We let you know when situations arise that could affect your rates or service and give you a window into how we reach decisions.
We do this through these pages in Texas Co-op Power; on our website, tvec.net; on Facebook; and, most importantly, during face-to-face conversations, whether at our annual membership meeting, or when you drop by the office.
Your greatest opportunity to make yourself heard is at the annual meeting. In the co-op business model, participation of members is crucial. That is why it is important for you—if you care about how your co-op is run—to attend the meeting, keep up with current information and let us know when issues arise that need our attention. Co-ops are different from other forms of business because of their members and because of the way decisions about the business are made. We welcome and encourage your involvement. After all, it is your co-op.