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One of the most attractive traits of cooperatives is that we answer the popular question “What’s in it for me?” with “What’s in it for we?”
Co-ops are formed when the market fails to offer a good or service, with decent quality, at an affordable price. The co-ops that would become Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative began putting up lines in 1938, when investor-owned utilities claimed there was not enough profit to be made in our community and refused to offer electricity.
The founding members of TVEC went door to door to collect a few dollars from each resident who was willing to become a member to raise a portion of the original investment the co-op needed to get started. Those go-getters realized the only way to get electricity for “me” was to get it for “we”—the whole community. 60140174001
With the cumulative down payment, TVEC was able to invest in an electrical distribution system that would serve the community. We were—and are—able to offer electricity to members in some remote and distant rural areas without worrying about profit because we are member-owned and organized as a nonprofit. Any extra money that comes in beyond the safe and efficient operation of and investment in our co-op goes back to the members we serve.
Cooperative ownership is in the hands of the people who use the co-op’s services, not investors. That means our predecessors started out answering the question “What’s in it for we?” and we continue to answer that question as we look to the future.
These days we often hear about companies that abandon communities and move overseas in search of cheaper labor. This negatively impacts communities through job loss, decline in housing values and school closures. But because local residents own cooperatives, co-ops are an embedded part of the community, providing an essential service right here at home. With our increasing reliance on the technologies that electric service makes possible, having local energy experts you can trust is more important than ever.
The way co-ops continue to answer the question “What’s in it for we?” is critical to our survival. It is imperative that we keep you—our members—as the primary focus. Keeping rates as low as possible is one major part of that focus, but ensuring that we provide real value as your trusted energy adviser is also extremely important. You can count on our experts if you have questions about your electric bill or want suggestions on ways to conserve energy.
By maintaining that focus with your help and support, we will continue to be able to serve the “me” and the “we” in our community long into the future.