Editorial: July 2018
Co-ops: going above and beyond
Editorial BY JOSH KRAMER
Meatballs, mashed potatoes and conversations… I’ve enjoyed a lot of these over the past few months while attending many of the annual membership meetings of North Dakota’s electric cooperatives. If you haven’t attended your co-op’s annual meeting, I strongly encourage you to make a point of it. It’s truly a privilege to visit with the good people you find among our electric cooperatives and witness the dedication of co-op employees and directors in providing member-owners with consistent, reliable and affordable power and service. North Dakota’s electric cooperatives maintain a 99.97 percent reliability rate or better. At some cooperatives, members experienced less than 45 total minutes without power over the course of the entire year.
Often at these meetings, members share stories about co-op employees going above and beyond – not only to restore power or troubleshoot a billing or technical issue, but also to help save homes during emergencies. There are many accounts of co-op employees putting in extra effort to assist someone by lending a helping hand. In addition to the personal commitment cooperative employees have to serving their member-owners, cooperatives make remarkable contributions in communities across the state, greatly enhancing the places where we live, work and play.
Cooperatives contribute significantly to an improved quality of life. By enhancing property and infrastructure and providing jobs and an essential utility, they make long-term direct investments in the communities they serve. They also champion charitable efforts through programs like Operation Round Up, which is a success thanks to the participation of member-owners. By electing to round up their monthly utility bill to the nearest dollar, member-owners empower the cooperative to contribute thousands of dollars to important communities projects and events, assist with the purchase of essential emergency medical equipment and help those in need with medical bills. Co-op employees also fill many roles within our communities. They are volunteer firefighters, first responders, coaches, civic leaders and upstanding citizens who demonstrate the cooperative principles on and off the job.
Attending these annual meetings reminds me of the long-term commitment cooperatives have made and will continue to make in communities across our great state, now and into the future. On behalf of North Dakota’s electric cooperatives and North Dakota Living, I would like to say thank you to the members-owners and employees for all that they do.
Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727; email to firstname.lastname@example.org.