When you think about Magic Valley Electric Cooperative, you probably associate us with the local community, and you are right. Our leadership team, board of directors and employees all live and work right here in the Rio Grande Valley. But you may not realize that Magic Valley is actually part of a much larger cooperative network that brings additional value, tools and knowledge that benefit you, the members of the co-op.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
When a severe weather event is predicted for our region, we call on our sister co-ops in areas unaffected by the approaching storm. Through this system of mutual aid, we coordinate with other co-ops to bring additional trucks, equipment and manpower to our area. We work together and share resources in order to restore power to our community. Magic Valley reciprocates by assisting other electric co-ops when they request help. In 2018, Magic Valley deployed five crews, totaling ten employees, to Victoria, TX, where they worked with our sister co-op Victoria Electric Cooperative (VEC), to help restore power to VEC’s members after Hurricane Harvey.
A defining characteristic of a cooperative is “cooperation among cooperatives.” This is a way that co-ops work together to meet bigger challenges such as power restoration after a severe weather event.
Another area in which Magic Valley benefits from cooperation among cooperatives is cybersecurity. Through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) “Rural Cooperative Cybersecurity Capabilities Program” (RC3), we can access training, resources and tools to strengthen our efforts to combat cyber threats.
Magic Valley’s ability to tap into the larger electric cooperative network and access tools, products, resources and leading practices from across the nation ultimately makes our co-op and our community stronger.
The Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA) project is another example of an area where Magic Valley has benefited from collaboration with other electric co-ops.
Through the SUNDA project, electric co-ops were able to collect data and case studies that provide insight into challenges and solutions related to solar energy technologies. Now, electric cooperatives across the country, including Magic Valley, have access to a set of knowledge and resources to more efficiently tailor our renewable energy mix to meet the needs of our local communities.
Lastly, communities across the globe have benefited from the lessons learned and experience of co-ops in electrification of rural areas in the U.S.
NRECA International has provided access to reliable and affordable electricity to 120 million people in 43 countries. This effort is made possible through the support of electric co-ops, including Magic Valley, in this state and across the country.
Hundreds of lineworkers, engineers and other co-op employees have served as volunteers to bring first-time access to electricity and train local partners to help utilities be sustainable in their own communities.
November is a time of the year for reflection and giving thanks. I am grateful for our sister co-ops who enable us to better serve you and our broader community. When electric co-ops collaborate, we strengthen each other and the communities we serve – and that is something for which to be truly thankful. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.