Living out the cooperative difference

George Carter

Electric cooperatives have a different model, focus, and employees when compared to other utilities. There is a big cooperative difference.

Yes, we are an electric utility, and we must act as a utility, which means we must focus on providing the highest level of electric service to our members — safely and at fair, reasonable prices. We must maintain our electric lines, poles, transformers, and rights-of-way. These all cost money, and those costs must be passed on to all members (yes, even to our employees, who are also PPEC members). No one likes cost increases, but they are a fact of life, and we as a cooperative are no different.

The similarities end there. The funds we collect from members stay in our service territory and our community. We don’t collect additional funds to pay stockholders. Any funds left over after paying all expenses are invested in our utility plant (the poles, wires, transformers, etc.). Eventually, these funds are then returned to members via capital credits.

The biggest cooperative difference is our employees and the emphasis we put on our area communities. This issue features a service and training project from August when our employees planted 16 trees at a local ball park. This was a volunteer effort where employees gave up their time (after work and on a weekend) to support our community. Earlier this year, employees donated a Saturday to work at Auglaize Village. These are just two examples of our employees supporting our community and making a difference — the cooperative difference.

This month’s local pages highlight two additional difference-makers: the nationwide Who Powers You contest and a feature on one of our members who raises bucking bulls.

The Who Powers You contest allows co-op members to nominate someone who goes above and beyond in supporting their community. This is a national award program, and we are proud to support local members as they support their community. Local wellness is a group effort, and we are proud to help enrich local lives and empower people to continue doing meaningful work to better the places we call home.

Earlier this year, the cooperative was a proud sponsor of Rodeo Night at the Paulding County Fairgrounds. The rodeo raised $5,000 to help in the fight against childhood cancer, and it was all because JR Smith, the owner of Smith Acres Farm, supplied the bulls. We are proud to have Smith Acres Farm as a PPEC member, and we are proud to support JR’s efforts.

At Paulding Putnam Electric, we live the cooperative difference. Our members — members like you — make a difference through their passions, hobbies, and everyday efforts. Our employees are committed to doing more than providing a high level of service; we are committed to making a difference in our community — and in turn, yours, too. We’re all in this together.

President and CEO