Looking Ahead to New Cooperative Opportunities

May 12, 2017

Co-ops are cool, and that bodes well for our future. That’s our sentiment at South Plains Electric Cooperative and we have the T-shirt to prove it! We designed T-shirts with “Keep Cool and Co-op On” emblazoned across the back and “We love our members” on the front for our employees to wear at special events. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Mel Coleman, outgoing president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, shares our sentiment.

"We may be 75 years old, but we’re the center of activity like never before," Coleman said during an address at the 2017 NRECA Annual Meeting. "Our challenges might be difficult, but our choice should be very easy because there’s never been a better time to be part of the electric cooperative movement."

We couldn’t agree more.

Fuel of the Future

Working from its firm foundation in the past, the cooperative business model fits neatly with the forward-looking spirit of the times. An accelerated drive to develop and expand technology—and to put it to use for the benefit of co-op communities—places electric cooperatives in the vanguard of the industry.

Co-ops are positioned to take advantage of technological developments that could mean an even bigger role for electricity—"the fuel of the future"—in people’s lives.

"It’s possible, maybe even probable, that in our lifetimes electricity will be the energy source for the vast majority of our vehicles, heating systems, and other home, farm and business needs," Coleman said.

Cool for the Community

This timely outlook extends beyond electricity and technology to community-minded uses of resources and collaboration.

At an uncertain moment of division in the country, for example, disaffected Americans are relying on co-ops to fulfill their needs. Millennials are using co-ops as a tool for social media organizing and social service programs. Cooperatives continue to help vulnerable groups, including members who are seniors, disabled people, veterans and families in need, plus the organizations that assist them.

"The concern for the people we serve gives us an ideal platform to influence energy policy in ways that put our communities, consumers and our members first," Coleman said. "Put simply: Co-ops are cool."

Going Above and Beyond

Cooperatives face an unprecedented opportunity to take advantage of the high-profile position that we now occupy. We look forward to going above and beyond our longstanding commitment to safe and reliable service at a reasonable price, providing greater benefits for our members by capitalizing on the progressive thinking that has always animated the co-op movement.

As Coleman said, "Now that we’re in the spotlight, we must be great."

All the best,
Dale Ancell