Chances are you probably don’t think too often about the ownership role you have with your electric cooperative. Every member of Big Country Electric Cooperative can take pride in the fact that he or she is an owner of the co-op. While at times it’s easy to take electricity for granted, we work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to make sure you, the member-owners of the co-op, are well taken care of when it comes to your electricity needs.
Local cooperatives view this special bond and obligation as an integral part of our relationship with the communities we serve. BCEC understands that you can’t sell electricity to a business that has closed its doors or to people who have left the community because of a lack of opportunities. Electricity meets a critical need, but it takes more than poles, wires and kilowatt-hours to make a community thrive.
Our perspective is that whether you call it community support, community involvement or economic development, anything we can do to help our area makes it better. Whether it’s picking up trash, assisting the food bank, participating in parades, or hosting toy and canned food drives, we do what we do very intentionally to live out our commitment to one of our deeply held cooperative principles: Concern for Community.
We are owners of our co-op, and just as importantly, we are owners of our communities. Our communities are stronger because of this collective investment. Think about the better outcomes we can achieve when we work cooperatively to tackle challenges.
When we act like owners consistently, we put even more care and attention into our community, and we first look locally for solutions. Finding local solutions helps keep money—and people—right here in our community.
Operation Round Up, launched by BCEC in 2015, began from a desire to help those in need. Your contributions of just pennies each month have supported food banks, senior meal programs, emergency services, educational programs, and families and individuals in need of a helping hand.
Each month in the Membergram newsletter, you’ve probably noticed that we advertise rural development assistance available through BCEC—low-interest loans for qualified applicants to stimulate rural development. These funds do not come from your electric bill payments or from the co-op but were established when Big Country EC was awarded a Department of Agriculture rural economic development grant. The objective of that grant was for Big Country EC to establish a revolving economic development loan fund. As those loans are repaid, the money goes back into the loan fund to make other economic development loans possible.
We all have a role to play. As your local electric cooperative, we promise to do our part for the communities that have sustained us. If you have thoughts about how we can do a better job, contact Sarah McLen at (325) 776-3803. You are the owners of this co-op, and we welcome your active participation.