CEO’s Message – The Power of Community

February 2022

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

Being part of a cooperative comes with its fair share of perks. Not only do our consumer-members enjoy the safe, reliable, and affordable power that we work hard to provide every day, but you also get to share in the ownership of the co-op itself. When we bring in more money than we need to keep the electric system strong, money is returned to you in the form of retired capital credits. You even have a voice in how our cooperative is run by electing the trustees who represent you each year at the annual meeting.

As great as these benefits are, they wouldn’t mean much if our consumer-members didn’t see us as active and invested members of this community. We’re not here just to do our job and go home. We are also committed to making our local community a better place to live, both on and off the electric grid.

That’s why we launched Operation Round Up  in 2019. For the last three years, participating members have rounded their bills up to the next dollar and Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) has set that money aside for local schools. Each account only donates an average of 49 cents a month. But taken together, those contributions have made it possible to award more than $300,000 in grants to improve the education of our students.

Since the program’s inception, those grants have gone toward classroom essentials like books, lab equipment, and online learning resources for public and accredited private and independent schools in our area. These grants have helped open new doors for our students, and it’s all thanks to the generosity of SVEC’s consumer-members.

This month you can learn more about the ways Operation Round Up benefits students. From exposing them to new forms of art to facilitating new ways of teaching old standards, you can see just how quickly the funded classroom improvements have impacted local students.

You can also see photos from some of our favorite annual activities, like taking part in Live Oak’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and joining the state’s Arbor Day efforts. And you can also learn how to get a heads up on future LifeSouth blood drives at our office.

These are just a few of the ways we give back to the community that created this cooperative. The Suwannee Valley is our home. We were built by the people of this region, and we work hard daily to provide you with the best service possible. That is a privilege we will never take for granted.