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A model of Cooperation

Article was added on Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Floyd L. Keels - ThumbnailIf you've been a loyal reader of South Carolina Living, the notion of "the cooperative difference" isn't new. We talk about electric co-ops supporting community programs and economic development efforts, offering value-added services like energy audits, and being locally owned and operated.

At the core of our not-for-profit, consumer-owned business model, each household or business that gets electricity from an electric co-op in S.C. has a voice in how the enterprise is run and gets the opportunity to electric directors or trustees from among the membership to represent them.

Cooperation remains an inherent part of cooperatives, right down to the root of the word. Today, more than 900 electric cooperatives serve approximately 75 percent of the nation's land area in 47 states. While all are independent utilities, we work together to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve.

For example, whenever there's a severe storm, we know we can count on co-op lineworkers from Georgia or North Carolina to help us get the power back on more quickly. That's called "mutual-aid assistance"-because when they need help, we send it, too.

This past winter, the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives partnered with the National Weather Service on a new tool for rating ice storms―one that electric co-ops in several states have been using since 2009 to help determine whether to pre-deploy line crews or request mutual aid in anticipation of an icing event. Now, all electric utilities can benefit from this technology and other innovations like it.

Our cooperative DNA also drives South Carolina's independent electric cooperatives to create programs that benefit everyone, such as SC Honor Flights and Operation Round Up, which were born right here in the Palmetto State.  

At the end of the day, "cooperation" isn't just a word; for us, it's a way of life.

Floyd L. Keels
President and Chief Executive Officer

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