As humans, we are wired to connect. In fact, research finds that our need to connect is as fundamental as our needs for food and water. Dozens of studies have shown that people who have social support from family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer.
Just as social connections make humans healthier and more productive, I propose that the connections made by Tennessee’s electric cooperatives provide similar benefits for the communities we serve.
Co-ops make connections every day. We connect substations and meters, but those might not be the most important connections we make.
Our power grid connects communities with energy. We know that your family depends on reliable energy. We also know that factories, schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure cease to function when the power is out. Electric cooperatives across the state made significant investments to improve system reliability.
Broadband infrastructure connects local communities with global knowledge and markets. Increasingly, healthcare, education, commerce and even entertainment require robust, always-on connectivity. Some of the state’s electric co-ops are working to close the digital divide that exists in rural and suburban Tennessee by building fiber to bring high-speed internet access to the communities we serve.
Youth programs connect young people with limitless opportunities. We believe in developing the future leaders of our communities. That’s why each year we invite area youth to participate in leadership development programs provided by the co-op.
Generosity connects compassion with service. Our electric co-op teams care about the people and places we serve because they live in those communities, too. Whether it is volunteering to help a local cause or coaching a youth rec team, you will see members of your electric cooperative team giving back to their communities.
When we make connections, everything changes. That’s why co-ops connect.