At the start of 2020, none of us had any idea about the challenges we would face going forward. We’ve been through a lot over the past year and a half. And we’re not out of the woods yet. Weeks have turned into months. It’s very possible that you or someone you know has been impacted by the pandemic; you may have even lost someone close to you. If so, my heart goes out to you.
Life has changed — that’s evident. We’ve all had to adjust our way of doing our jobs. Companies have had to adjust so they can keep their employees safe; in particular, our electric cooperatives have made modifications to continue to serve you. We’re all more aware about being safer and protecting our health — for others, for our families and for you.
My hat goes off to the directors and employees of our electric cooperatives for doing a great job running your co-ops during this time. You depend on them to keep the lights on, and they’ve risen to the challenge.
During this period, we’ve worked with our political leaders on the state and national levels to get needed assistance for our rural areas. When the economy is in bad shape, it impacts rural areas far more dramatically than urban areas. We know that, and we remind our political leaders every time we meet with them.
But we will get through it. If there’s one thing that is certain about us, it is that we’re tough enough to rise to the occasion. We’ve done it before, facing pandemics, a Great Depression, stock market crashes and many other crises. The situation may be tough, but we’re tougher — especially when we face things together.
In fact, there is nothing more “co-op” than facing adversity together and helping each other out. That’s how we got started.
We have also continued to work on the nation’s energy policy. As policymakers in Washington, D.C., work toward a future that depends on electricity as the primary energy source for much of the economy, electric cooperatives are already taking necessary steps to prepare. Electric cooperatives across the nation are driving innovation in areas such as solar energy, battery storage, electric vehicles and carbon capture.
But as those changes are promoted, any transition must be accomplished over a reasonable and realistic time frame. In the electric utility industry, we’re used to dealing with changing energy laws and regulations. But any changes must be accomplished in a way that keeps the cost of your electricity low.
You need safe, reliable and affordable energy. That’s our “North Star” in dealing with proposed changes. We were created to bring positive change to the nation’s rural communities. That’s what we’ve done since our beginnings in the 1930s.
I encourage you to be an active member of your cooperative. It’s important for you as a member-owner of your co-op to stay informed.
As someone who works for you, I appreciate your involvement.