When you think of October, pumpkins, Halloween and fall foliage usually come to mind. But October is notable for another reason — it’s National Co-op Month.
This is the time of year when cooperatives across the country, including Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, celebrate who we are and, more importantly, the members we serve. Cooperatives are different than other types of businesses. When the market declines to offer a product or service or does so at a very high price, co-ops intervene to fill the need.
Similar to how STEMC was built by members who came together to bring electricity to our community, cooperatives are conveners of the common good. Your electric co-op exists to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to you, the members. Equally important is our mission to enrich the lives of the members we serve.
As a co-op, we are well-suited to meet the needs of the community because we are locally governed. STEMC’s leadership team and employees live right here in the community. Our directors, who help set long-term priorities for the co-op, live locally on co-op lines. These board members have been elected to the position by neighbors like you.
We know our members (that’s you) have a valuable perspective. That’s why we are continually seeking your input. Whether through community meetings, our social media channels or our annual meeting, we want to hear from you.
Our close connection to the community ensures we get a firsthand perspective on local priorities, thereby enabling us to make more informed decisions on long-term investments such as high-speed internet, infrastructure and equipment or technology upgrades.
Another feature that sets our co-op apart from a traditional utility is one of our core principles: “Concern for Community.” This fall, many of our employees will be participating in 5K runs around the service area to support local organizations. In October, we will be giving back to the communities we serve by awarding the first Southwest Members Care grants. We participate in the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, taking our community’s brightest young people to Washington, D.C., for a weeklong immersion to experience democracy in action.
Ultimately, the larger community benefits from all these programs because of you and your neighbors. You empower the co-op through your membership and through your participation in and support of these programs.
We hope you will think of Southwest Tennessee EMC as not only your energy provider but also as a local business that supports this community and powers economic development and prosperity for the people.
We will continue to learn from our members about their priorities so we can better serve you — because your electric co-op was built by the community, for the community.