Check. Check. Check. If you are reading these words, you are among the 91 million Americans whose homes are lit, appliances powered and mobile phones recharged by either an electric cooperative or public power utility.
That matters because member and community-owned utilities exist to serve you, not shareholders. The mission, by design, is close to home.
That is something to celebrate. In October, Public Power Week and National Cooperative Month provide the chance to shine a light on and give a tip of the cap to your local utility and the dedicated workers who often do their jobs out of sight—until Mother Nature rears her head with a nasty storm.
One hallmark of public power providers and electric cooperatives is a spirit of cooperation. This past month, when Hurricane Laura pummeled parts of Louisiana and Hurricane Sally drenched Florida and Alabama, member utilities near and far poured in to help.
The same was true a couple of winters ago when heavy snow destroyed power lines in Oregon, and it will be true when the power system is rebuilt following recent wildfires in the West.
In the Northwest, utilities also often join hands on big energy projects to save time and money. As Northern Wasco County PUD General Manager Roger Kline puts it, “We’re all just trying to do the best thing for our customer owners.”
To showcase power that serves community, October’s travel page, Adventure Awaits, spotlights Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington state. It is one of the largest concrete structures in the world and is the largest hydropower producer in the U.S.