CEO’s Message: Giving Something Extra

August 2022

By Michael S. McWaters

As a long-time member of cooperatives, I’ve always appreciated the feeling of getting a little something extra. That’s because being part of a cooperative gets us more than just reliable and affordable electric service. While providing that service is always our first priority at SVEC, we take great pride in furnishing other benefits as well.

We are members of this community, and we continually look for ways to demonstrate good citizenship. This is where we live, work and where some of us raise our families. I like to think that dedication to making this a better place to live for everyone shows in both the service we provide and the work we do for the community.

Being a member of a co-op also comes with responsibilities that not every utility customer has. We are stakeholders in the cooperative, not just customers, and as such we have a say in how it runs through participation in co-op elections and representation from our district trustees. That influence is one of the many factors that sets the cooperative model apart from other businesses. It also means it is important for each of us to have an understanding of our cooperative and the outside forces that affect it.

How do we give that information to our consumer-members? You’re holding one example in your hands. Each month we share the latest news about important goings-on that impact our system, as well as the work we’re doing in the community. And we hold the annual meeting to keep everyone engaged and up to date.

We work hard to educate our youth, not just on the importance of electrical safety and responsible energy habits, but also on the cooperative model and what sets it apart. There is probably no better tool at our disposal for that than the Youth Tour.

Each year we sponsor a group of students to visit the state capital. While there, they learn about how the legislative process works and also about the important role cooperatives play throughout Florida. Some of those students are even selected to visit Washington, D.C., to do the same on the national level. It’s a great opportunity for local students to broaden their horizons and even clarify what they may want to do with their lives.

You can learn more about the Washington Youth Tour in this newsletter. This year’s tour was especially impactful as it was the first time the event has been held in-person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We couldn’t be more excited that these bright young people once again had the opportunity to see the nation’s capital in person, as well as meet their peers from across the country. It’s just one more way we’re giving back to the community we love and working to build an even better cooperative in the years to come.