October is National Co-op Month

When you think of October, pumpkins, Halloween and beautiful fall foliage naturally 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 Escambia River Electric Cooperative, 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 high price, co-ops step in to fill the need.

Similar to how EREC was built by members who came together to bring electricity to our community, cooperatives work for the common good. Your electric co-op exists to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to you, the members of the co-op. 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. EREC employees live here in the community. Our board members – who help set long-term priorities for the co-op – live on co-op lines. These board members have been elected to the position by neighbors like you.

We know our members have a valuable perspective. That’s why we continually seek your input through community events, social media or the annual meeting. We want to hear from you.

Our close connection to the community ensures we get a firsthand perspective on local priorities, enabling us to make more informed decisions on long-term investments, such as technology upgrades and equipment.

Another feature that sets our co-op apart from a traditional utility is one of our core principles, Concern for Community. We partner with local schools to help provide the resources they need for student education and enrichment. We participate in the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, sending our community’s brightest young people to Washington, D.C., for a weeklong immersion to experience democracy in action. We invest in the future of our youth by providing scholarships to high school seniors.

Ultimately, the larger community benefits from 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 EREC as more than your energy provider, but as a local business that supports this community and powers economic development and prosperity for the people.

We will continue to learn from you, our members, about your needs and priorities so we can better serve our community.