CEO’s Message: Your Co-op, Your VoteOctober 2020
By Michael S. McWaters, Executive V.P./CEO
I don’t know about you, but I increasingly find the noise that comes with a presidential election to be more overwhelming than informative. There is no shortage of talking points coming from politicians of all stripes, and social media offers an abundance of opinions. But with so much being said, it is still rare to hear anything that applies to real life in rural America.
Fortunately, that is beginning to change. In recent years, rural voters have shown up in force to make their voices heard. The result is that in 2018 we saw more candidates and elected officials engaging in a dialogue about the most important rural issues. And while it may come as a surprise to some, electric cooperatives are at the center of that conversation.
After the 2016 election, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association started the Co-ops Vote program to get cooperative voters registered and involved in the issues affecting their communities. The goal was to give the 42 million consumer-members around the country one voice to advocate for issues like rural infrastructure and the need to maintain access to safe, affordable, and reliable electricity.
In this newsletter, you can find out more about Co-ops Vote and the Cooperative Action Network, where consumer-members can continue to engage with their leaders and representatives even after election day.
In addition, you can learn about the difference SVEC is making for local students with the latest updates on Operation Round Up®. We are also proud to share that our cooperative’s work in the community has been recognized with two awards from the Florida Education Foundation.
Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the generosity and support of our consumer-members. We have relied on you from the day the cooperative was founded, and we still do, for the growth and improved quality of service we enjoy today. Those improvements require continued investments in new technology and equipment, and we have seen the results. In the last five years, the reliability of SVEC’s electric system has increased significantly.
Naturally, that improved quality of service comes at a greater cost to the cooperative. To account for those ongoing investments, SVEC is adjusting rates for the first time in five years. We know every dollar counts for our consumer-members, which is why we continue to limit our expenses to keep rates affordable.
Most importantly, the average residential consumer-member will not see a change in the amount of your monthly bill. You will still receive the same reliable electric service for less than $5 a day.
I hope everyone will take the time to read the next page to learn more details about the rate adjustment and the value SVEC provides. And I encourage each of you to go out and make your voice heard at the ballot box this November and beyond. It is more important than ever for us to stand up for the priorities of rural electric cooperatives and their communities.