Message From CEO Steve Marlow
This is a common question from consumers across the country, and even around the world, as they look to policymakers, electric cooperative,s and other utilities to provide an answer to this question.
The electricity industry is dynamic and continuously evolving; the electric co-op history of stringing the first power lines and poles in rural America nearly 80 years ago illustrates that statement. As electric cooperatives, our core business principles ensure that we balance change with doing what’s right for all of our member-consumers and the long-term sustainability of the cooperative. And amidst all of this change, there are a number of fundamental things that remain important constants.
Before electric cooperatives lit up rural areas with affordable and reliable power, individual businesses and residences had to rely on their own sources of fuel to provide power and light. The long-awaited delivery of centralized power generation—the delivery of electricity from one central station power plant to end users through transmission and distribution lines—dramatically improved the quality of life for farm families and businesses.
Central station generation quickly earned its place in our lives by providing safe, reliable, and affordable power to hundreds of thousands of people. In fact, the creation of the North American power grid has been lauded as one of the greatest achievements of the 20th Century and one of the most indispensable machines on earth. Today, more than at any point in history, our livelihoods and economies rely on a continuous and affordable power supply, and that power comes from a diverse mix of fuel sources including coal, nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, and biomass. Central station generation also provides diversity in system size, optimal operation times for maximum efficiency, and geographic location.
Efficiencies of power generation and delivery have dramatically evolved over the decades, too. Energy efficiency has always been a cornerstone of the cooperatives’ strong efforts toward environmental responsibility and programs, and services designed in concert with central station generation continue to improve with technological advances.
As member-consumers investigate solar and wind distributed energy resources, your electric Cooperative sees this as yet another evolution in the energy business. We support our members’ interests in owning their own renewable energy system. However, we also know that in order to ensure reliable and uninterrupted power, individual renewable systems must be balanced with a continuous source of dependable power from central station generation.
That’s why your team of employees and locally elected Board members—along with policymakers and other utilities—are working hard to ensure costs are fair, and all generation systems are safe, reliable, and environmentally responsible.
Our electricity systems and the needs of our member-consumers will continue to evolve as demand increases for reliable, affordable power. As your not-for-profit electric Cooperative, our job is to make sure that we never drift away from our top priority of improving the quality of life for our member-consumers.