"Get involved in the co-op; remember that as a Member, you’re also an owner.”
– Reuben McBride, board president.
Graham County Electric Co-operative’s annual meeting, held March 4 at the Pima High School Gymnasium, provided the opportunity for co-op board members and management to discuss everything from the co-op’s “Smart Meter” program to financial and governance issues.
Phil Cook, GCEC CEO and General Manager, said the meetings provide co-op Members the opportunity to meet “face to face” with those who are making the decisions that impact them.
“It’s one of the few times we get to communicate with Members on lots of different subjects; we try to send out information on the website, on social media, sometimes through advertising, but the annual meetings are the best way to communicate on all the subjects we can, face to face,” Cook said.
One of the topics discussed was how GCEC has switched its entire operations, both internally and for how it interacts with Members, to software provided by the National Information Solutions Cooperative/ NISC. (See the story about the new program in this newsletter).
“That’s a big deal for us, rolling out the new features, encouraging Members to sign up for “Smart Hub” which gives Members access to all the information on their bills; also, we covered the concerns about the high cost of electricity and why it’s been more expensive this last year,” Cook said.
Lynn Daley, a co-op member since 1964, or almost 60 years, said she welcomes the chance to meet with other Members at the annual meetings to discuss the co-op’s issues.
“They’re so important, so the Members have a chance to discuss their concerns with board members, and to elect new board members, and it gives them the chance to have a say in the issues involving the co-op that they own,” Daley said. “That’s why I like the co-op model also; I’m a Member-owner, and this gives me the chance to help make the decisions for the co-op I also own,” Daley said.
Daley said it’s important for every person who joins the co-op and receives power from it realize they’re not just Members, but Member-owners.
“When you join you become a part of it and it’s important to be involved.”
“I like the co-op very much, any time I have a problem I just give them a call and they are there to take care of it,” Daley said. Reuben McBride, GCEC Board President, said the annual meetings are “for the Members first.”
“We are a member operation and a Member system; this is their business, and we cover the major issues impacting our Members,” McBride said. “We have some challenges politically that we need help with.”
“But the main thing now is involving more young people in the business of the co-op, having them understand the roots of the not-for-profit co-op and why we have the co-op; let’s face it, we’re getting to the end of this older generation and we need young people to be involved,” McBride said.
“I love the chance to have these meetings, these are my friends and neighbors, I was born here and I grew up here and I love these people,” McBride said.
“The electric co-op model works well as long as people stay involved,” McBride said.
For information on everything from Member services, to energy efficiency and community service programs, to information about board members and staff, visit the Graham County Electric Cooperative website.