CEO’s Message: Stop and Smell the Flowers

July 2021

By Michael S. McWaters, Executive V.P./CEO

This month, as many of us, gather to celebrate Independence Day with hot dogs, fireworks, and some Florida sunshine, I’m reminded once again how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful area. Of course, everyone knows our state for its pristine beaches. But around here, we also get to enjoy the calmer pace of the Suwannee River surrounded by ancient oaks covered in Spanish moss.

As an electric cooperative, it is one of our guiding principles to not only bring you reliable and affordable service but also to do so while looking out for the well-being of our community. That includes doing what we can to protect the natural beauty of the place we call home.

There are many ways Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) takes that mission seriously. For example, 9% of the power we deliver to our consumer members is produced using renewable resources like solar, hydro, and landfill gas. And as our wholesale power supplier, Seminole Electric Cooperative, adds solar resources, that percentage will grow to 13% by 2024.

As it turns out, sometimes you don’t need to look any farther than the side of the road for opportunities to protect your local environment. For the past year, the Florida Wildflower Foundation has conducted surveys of native plants and wildflowers on roadsides near electric lines. These plants can attract pollinators, like bees and butterflies, that benefit local farmers and our ecosystem as a whole.

You can learn more about the surveys and the importance of native wildflowers in this newsletter, as well as what the surveys found adjacent to some of our lines. As a cooperative, we were excited to take part in this process and have been happy to make adjustments to our right-of-way maintenance in certain areas to make sure these important plants have the opportunity to thrive.

That doesn’t mean we have forgotten to look out for our community in other ways, though. SVEC has always been dedicated to supporting our local students, and one of the best ways we can do that is by offering scholarships to help them reach their educational goals. In this issue, you can see all the students we have been able to offer scholarships to this year. You’ll also find an update on the progress of Operation Round-Up, which continues to give students the resources they need to excel.

These are just a few of the ways SVEC is working to make this amazing community an even better place to live for all of us. I hope each of you has the chance to get outdoors this month and enjoy everything the Suwannee Valley has to offer. We’ll be here to power you along every step of the way.