Sunday, December 8

Co-ops See the Future

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Michael Watson Duck River EMC President/CEO TECA Board President

Canadian psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden once said, “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”

We have long been aware that the electric industry is changing. The evidence is all around us. From smart thermostats to electric vehicles, recent advancements in technology and the growing expectations of our consumers impact much of what we do.

The struggle facing many utilities is how to accept this change and respond appropriately to the needs of our consumers.

Fortunately, Tennessee’s electric cooperatives are uniquely positioned to meet these evolving energy needs.

Because October is National Co-op Month, this is the perfect time to highlight the many ways electric cooperatives are unique.

Co-ops are community-led.

Our leaders are passionate about looking out for the long-term needs of our consumers. Our co-op belongs to the communities we serve. This focus allows us to quickly adapt to evolving consumer expectations. Our closeness to the community ensures a better response to these needs because we are led by the people we serve.

Co-ops are catalysts for good.

We work each day to make our communities stronger and better prepared for the future. We engage with our consumers to do things that might otherwise be impossible or difficult, like more than 75 years ago when electric co-ops brought power to areas where other utilities did not find it economically feasible. Today, it means youth programs in support of our leaders of tomorrow and multiple bill pay options to help you make the most of your time, among other services from your cooperative.

The co-op business model is unique. It is pragmatic, mission-oriented and puts people first.

The co-op business model is unique. It is pragmatic, mission-oriented and puts people first. Co-ops strive to be trusted voices in their communities. Co-ops have earned that trust because, while not perfect, they always have their consumers’ best interests at heart and are determined to enrich the lives of those living and working in the communities they serve — now and in the future.

This Co-op Month, Tennessee’s electric cooperatives are renewing our commitment to not only be aware of the needs of our consumers but to also accept our role in building up modern, well-prepared communities.

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About Author

Michael Watson

Michael Watson serves as president and CEO of Duck River Electric Membership Corporation in Shelbyville, Tenn.

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