Electric Co-ops Grow for the Communities They Serve

Randy Price

October is National Co-op Month, and Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative (PPEC) is joining cooperatives across the U.S. to celebrate. Co-ops come in all shapes and sizes, but they each have a common goal: to provide at-cost goods or services for the members of the co-op.

Electric co-ops, including PPEC, exist to serve their members. We are not-for-profit, so our priority is to provide affordable, reliable energy to our local communities. Because we are led by you, the members we serve, we can evolve to meet your needs. For example, your feedback led to the creation of our Bright Futures youth programs (PPEC.coop/brightfutures), and when survey results told us you wanted to be educated on more ways to save money, we knew we needed to promote our Co-op Connections local and national discounts, as well as beef up our energy-efficiency resources from our energy advisor. We are currently examining our rates, listening to member feedback for events, gauging interest in electric vehicles and time-of-use adoption, and other aspects that matter to you.

This October, as we celebrate Co-op Month, we’re focusing on the ways “Co-ops Grow” for their members.

Co-ops grow communities: Co-ops help communities grow by promoting economic empowerment, fostering community engagement and supporting the unique needs of co-op members. “Concern for Community” is one of our core principles — which is why we sponsor local athletic boosters, school after-proms and yearbooks, leadership programs, area chambers and more.

Teaching public safety is our responsibility, so we conduct high-voltage safety demonstrations for local EMS, fire and police personnel in case of downed power lines. Many nonprofits slip through the cracks, so we donate about $13,000 every quarter to organizations in need through Operation Round Up. This year’s Member Appreciation Day saw more than 1,700 people come together to celebrate the one thing they had in common — being members of a community-focused cooperative that prioritizes giving back rather than making profit.

Co-ops grow together: Co-ops are all about cooperation, not competition. That’s why electric co-ops work together to share lessons learned, successful strategies and better ways to serve our members. Our energy advisor and communications team are shared by several other regional co-ops, so we can pool financial resources to recruit and retain quality talent. When we have a big storm roll through and need help rebuilding lines quickly, we can call on our neighboring co-ops for mutual aid — and vice versa. We’re better when we grow together!

Braden Knippe
2023 Youth Tour delegate Braden Knippen of Fort Jennings speaks about his trip at a recent Kiwanis meeting.

Co-ops grow tomorrow’s leaders: Electric co-ops serve as fertile ground for growing tomorrow’s leaders through a variety of youth engagement programs. Whether through school demonstrations, higher education scholarships, job shadowing and internships, or the Indiana Youth Tour program to Washington, D.C., we’re committed to providing opportunities for local youth to learn and thrive in our community and beyond.

Co-ops grow for you: At PPEC, your satisfaction is our No. 1 goal. It’s why we were formed many years ago to fulfill a uniquely local purpose: bringing electricity to your area when investor-owned utilities wouldn’t (because it wasn’t profitable). We’ve come a long way since then, and your needs continue to evolve. That’s why we’ll never stop growing for you!