Celebrating National Co-op Month - Message from the CEO

Being part of a cooperative means being part of something special. PVREA is not just another institution, looking out for the bottom dollar. Your electric utility is a not-for-profit co-op, a member-owned institution that looks out for your best interest. So this month, PVREA is joining 40,000 other cooperatives nationwide in celebrating National Cooperative Month in October.

  Jeff Wadsworth, CEO  

What unites the 40,000 co-ops across the nation is that we all strive to uphold cooperative values, the Seven Cooperative Principles, and continue to make being a part of a cooperative special and retain members’ confidence in the cooperative as an institution.

The last several years, we have seen erosion in the confidence Americans have in many of our institutions. According to Gallup’s annual “Confidence in Institutions” survey released in June, Americans are giving increasingly low marks to institutions such as banks, media, the criminal justice system and government. Only the military, small business, and the police — out of 15 institutions tested — registered higher than 50 percent confidence levels. This year’s poll found low confidence in banks, television news and public schools, with scores ranging from 27 percent for banks to 30 percent for public schools. Congress ranked dead last, at a confidence level of just 9 percent.

What’s going on with the public psyche? Surely the banking crisis and weak economy have had a huge impact. But I think there’s more to it. There’s an increasing disconnect between the expectations of Americans and what they’re getting from their institutions. That’s because, in many cases, the interests of institutions and those they serve are no longer aligned. When that happens, satisfaction levels drop, and you get an erosion of confidence.

Co-ops on the other hand — including PVREA, according to Touchstone Energy surveys recently conducted — are seeing better numbers. Co-ops still enjoy high levels of satisfaction among members because we embrace a business model that aligns corporate interests with those of our members. Co-ops are not-for-profit businesses that focus on providing quality service at the lowest possible cost. Co-ops allocate margins to members when revenue exceeds costs, and return those margins in the form of capital credits. Co-ops embrace democratic governance. Co-ops focus on operating in the best interests of members.

That’s something very rare in today’s society, and I think it’s a key reason why satisfaction with co-ops has stayed high, while satisfaction with other institutions has been declining. We work to maintain and increase that satisfaction and confidence, because we care about the best interest of our members.

Being a part of this co-op is something special. As CEO and a member, I am blessed to be a part of an institution that is something special - a member-owned, local co-op. There are so many good things your co-op is involved in that goes beyond just providing electricity; building our members’ confidence through our community involvement is just one such example.

We were formed over 77 years ago to build a better community by bringing electricity to homes, farms and businesses, and I’m proud to say the co-op model here at PVREA is alive and well. As members you’re a part of something special. So celebrate National Cooperative Month with us on October 13. Stop in PVREA for a donut and coffee on us, and let us thank you for being a member of this co-op.

Date Posted: 9/26/2016