Saturday, April 10

Giving Back to Our Communities

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Kevin Murphy, President, Southwest Tennessee EMC, Board President, TECA

Over the years, you’ve probably heard or read about electric cooperatives’ concern for their communities. This is one of the core principles that set cooperatives apart from other types of utilities and businesses. We’ve always taken this mission and responsibility to heart. It’s who we are as co-ops.

Like so many of you, Tennessee’s electric cooperatives have risen over the past few months to meet new challenges and strengthen the safety net for our communities, particularly for people who are most vulnerable. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our co-ops made numerous adjustments to programs and operations to maintain business continuity while staying focused on the bigger mission of helping our consumer-members during this turbulent time.

Now, with the holidays fast approaching, these recent events have made me pause and think about the role our cooperatives play in our communities. While our purpose is to provide safe and reliable energy to the members we serve, we have a greater mission: to be a catalyst for good.

You’re probably aware of our Youth Tour program, where we take our state’s brightest young people to Washington, D.C., for a weeklong immersion to experience democracy in action.

We also have a strong commitment to safety — not just for our employees but for our communities as well. We visit schools to teach children of all ages how to stay safe around electricity. We hold safety demonstrations at community meetings and other gatherings.

You’ll also see our employees serving on local boards, coaching youth sports, volunteering at charitable events and more because when you work at a co-op, you understand how important a strong community is. After all, without our members, the co-ops wouldn’t exist.

We know that our core job is to keep the lights on, but our passion is our community because we live and work there, too, and we want to make it a better place for everyone.

If there’s anything your cooperative can do to help you — whether providing energy-saving advice to help lower your monthly bill or discussing payment plan options during these difficult times — please reach out.

Concern for community is the heart and soul of who we are. And no matter what the future brings, you can count on your electric co-op to care about you.

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