South Plains Electric Cooperative is celebrating National Cooperative Month in October, along with 40,000 other cooperative businesses serving more than 120 million people nationwide. “Co-ops Commit” spotlights the countless ways a member-owned and member-controlled business meets the needs of their members and communities, rather than generating returns for distant investors.
South Plains Electric Cooperative delivers electricity to 30,000 member-owners in our 18-county service area covering 6,600 square miles. Delivering safe, reliable, affordable power is our top priority, but we are also invested in our communities because we are locally owned and operated. The Cooperative had $125.8 million in sales last year, with most of those dollars reinvested in the Co-op. Those dollars circulate close to home, helping to strengthen the local economy.
Rural America is served by a network of about 1,000 electric cooperatives, most of which were formed in the 1930s and ’40s to bring electricity to farms and rural communities that large, investor-owned power companies had no interest in serving because of the higher costs involved in serving low-population and low-density areas.
Cooperatives Commit to Community
In addition to providing the vital power co-op members depend on, South Plains Electric educates 4th graders about electricity and electrical safety, sends high school students on the trip of a lifetime to Washington, D.C., offers scholarships, teacher mini-grants and supports hundreds of other community activities from Relay for Life to Little Leagues.
Cooperative Commit to Jobs Cooperatives generate jobs in their communities, keep profits local and pay local taxes to help support community services. Cooperatives often take part in community improvement programs, ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from the cooperative experience.
Cooperatives Commit to Trust
Most co-ops strive to adhere to seven key cooperative principles, which combine to help build trust between the co-op, its members and the community. For example, the first principle is Voluntary and Open Membership, which means that we are a voluntary organization open to all people within our service area to use our services and who are willing to accept the responsibility of membership. The second principle, Democratic Member Control, gives members a voice in the cooperative’s policies and board elections.
Cooperatives Commit to a Better World Starting at Home
Through all of the above ways, and so much more, cooperatives build a better world. South Plains Electric Cooperative has been serving the membership for 80 years, is facilitating the growth in Southwest Lubbock and supports our small towns in the rural areas. It’s a passion for service that will continue.