Electric co-op support for community is evident especially during the holidays
If you are a regular reader of this column, you probably have an understanding of what we do here at the Colorado Rural Electric Association. We are a trade association that promotes the interests of Colorado’s electric co-ops. We do that by working with the legislature, publishing this magazine, educating our directors and staff and providing safety and regulatory compliance training to hundreds of co-op employees all across the state.
We provide these services with a fairly small group of employees, 16 people to be exact. We can provide such a wide range of services with so few employees for a simple reason: we have extremely dedicated, highly motivated and hardworking employees. We all believe in our hearts that the electric co-op program is essential to the ongoing viability of many rural Colorado communities, and we are committed to our member co-ops’ success.
But ultimately, the success of the electric co-op program is determined by the commitment to community demonstrated by the staff members of Colorado’s individual electric co-ops. This community support is on display year-round, but during the holidays the co-ops reach even further to be a positive force in the lives of their member-owners. Here are just a few examples:
- San Isabel Electric Association in the south-central part of the state adopts several families each year to provide a package of clothing, food and toys that is delivered by Santa and his elves in the week before Christmas. (Appropriately, the SIEA Santa is also skilled at running a dispatch center!)
- Grand Valley Power out in the Grand Junction area allows Toys for Tots to use the co-op’s old office and warehouse facility as its Western Slope collection and distribution center, and it also collects toys at its headquarters building.
- Morgan County Rural Electric Association collects money from employees and members throughout the year for the Salvation Army’s giving tree. The co-op selects four to six families off the tree and donates groceries, gifts and electric bill offsets to these needy families.
- La Plata Electric Association down in southwestern Colorado works with the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in a “Fill the Bucket” food drive for Archuleta County.
- Empire Electric Association in Cortez is a co-sponsor of “Stuff the Bus,” an event that takes place just prior to Thanksgiving to help local families in need over the holidays. An empty school bus is set up at a preannounced location, and the bus is then filled with donated food and gifts to be distributed to local nonprofit organizations.
- Holy Cross Energy contributed $55,000 to Energy Outreach Colorado to help those in need pay their electric bills.
- Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association team members contribute to the Weld and Larimer county food drives as well as the Larimer County toy drive. This is in addition to the coop’s support of several other community programs.
- White River Electric Association in Meeker participates in the community tree lighting and parade of lights at Christmas, and its employees adopt several worthy families through the community “Giving Tree” program.
- Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association funds the eastern Colorado mobile pantry program and also raises funds for the Food Bank of the Rockies. Tri-State also supports the United Way through voluntary payroll deductions and its employees have held a “coat drive” for the past two years.
Many of our co-ops have also adopted a “roundup” program that allows their member-owners to round up their bills to the next nearest dollar amount and the money is then spent in the community to help co-op member-owners. Other co-ops sponsor scholarships for students attending college, they support students who want to attend the Leadership Camp and Youth Tour, and they support local scout troops, FFA organizations, sports teams and more.
And these are just a few of the myriad ways all of Colorado’s electric co-ops support their communities beyond simply being the local power supplier. It’s no wonder that all of us at CREA are proud to work on behalf of Colorado’s electric co-ops.