This Thanksgiving, as I reflect on the many reasons for gratitude in my life, I want to share why I am thankful for electric cooperatives.
First, I am thankful for Central Texas Electric Cooperative because it provides safe, reliable and affordable electricity to our community. Electricity is a vital part of our modern lives, providing heating and cooling, lighting, convenience in cooking, instantaneous communications, and more.
I’m grateful to be part of an organization that endeavors to make a difference in people’s lives because it is the right thing to do. We empower our consumer-members to improve the quality of their lives. We have served residents of our rural area since before investor-owned utilities would even consider stringing immense quantities of line over many miles to provide electricity to a few, spread-out connections.
I’m proud that Central Texas Electric Co-op, as a nonprofit organization, makes it routine to return capital credits to our members. Capital credits are any margins returned to you, the consumer-members, after all operating expenses are paid and investments are made and the board votes to issue retirements.
I’m glad that Central Texas Electric Co-op is part of a network of electric cooperatives across the United States that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs. Here at home we employ members of the community, providing careers with good wages and meaning.
I’m grateful for a job where I have co-workers who are focused on providing excellent service to members. That service includes providing energy conservation tips so your electricity stays affordable and safety tips so you and your family can stay safe around electricity. After all, we are serving our friends and neighbors.
I’m pleased, too, that we support the community in other economic and charitable ways. Our payment of state and local taxes benefits all local residents, as tax money goes toward shared services. Additionally, we support those in need through programs such as Operation Round Up, through which co-op members can round up their electric bills to the next whole dollar to contribute to a fund that helps their neighbors. The co-op also makes donations to various charities.
It gives me a sense of purpose to know that electric cooperatives are broadening their use of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydropower, and that we are contributing to cleaner air. Collectively, across the U.S., co-ops have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than 18%.
I’m grateful we are not alone in this business. Across the nation electric cooperatives power 56% of the landmass and own 42%—or 2.6 million miles—of electrical distribution lines. Together we serve more than 20 million businesses, homes, schools and farms in 48 states. We join forces through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Texas Electric Cooperatives for political strength, buying power, mutual aid and other shared resources.
Most of all, I’m thankful for each and every co-op member who makes possible the continuation of Central Texas Electric Co-op—this important business and community supporter. I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving.