Growing up co-op

Posted on Oct 25 2017 in Steuben County REMC

Kevin Keiser

I love the feeling of being able to walk into my favorite locally-owned shop, restaurant or store knowing that the profit, product and labor can make positive impacts on my community. The spirit of Main Street (or Wayne Street, in our case) is embodied in these local businesses, just like it is in Steuben County REMC.

Electric cooperatives are as local and community-centered as they come. Founded as a way to bring electricity to communities that didn’t interest Investor-owned utilities (or IOUs), electric cooperatives have been a cornerstone of community and economic development in rural America and beyond for decades.

That feeling I get when I frequent local businesses in our community is the same feeling I get when I walk into work at the co-op every day. It is a feeling of pride. I am proud to be a part of an organization that serves the community in which we live, instead of a group of shareholders who may never have set foot in our service territory.

Living on co-op lines is more than just knowing there are people out there working to bring you safe, reliable and affordable electric service. Living on co-op lines is an investment in our community and its members.

You see, Steuben County REMC is a not-for-profit business. When we make more money than we need to keep the lights on safely, affordably and reliably, we return it back to our members (that’s you!) in the form of capital credits. This means after all co-op expenses are paid, any additional money we earn goes back into our community, instead of going into a shareholder’s pocket, which is pretty great! In fact, next month we’ll be returning roughly $435,000 worth of patronage to our members who had service with us in 1986, just in time for a little extra holiday spending cash!

And because we are owned by you, our members, we have a vested interest in making sure our community is prosperous. We do this by investing in economic development and community service projects and programs. To date, your REMC has given back more than $500,000 to local economic development initiatives and community service organizations to help our members.

I hope that you view Steuben County REMC not just as your electric utility provider, but as a local business that brings pride and prosperity to our community.

If you are interested in learning more about how we keep the lights on or about offering your voice to our organization, consider joining our Member Advisory Committee. This is a group made up of vested members who learn about the co-op and its programs, give feedback and act as a sounding board for future programming and ideas. This is just one more way that we are staying in tune with the pulse of our membership. To fill out an application, contact the office at 260-665-3563.

We love being a part of this community, and we hope you feel the same way, too!