October is officially recognized as National Cooperative Month. Although we treat every month as cooperative month at BEMC, across the country and around the globe, October is designated as a time to celebrate the cooperative difference. Seven shared principles define what all cooperatives – from food co-ops to retailers and electric cooperatives – believe in and how we operate. Together these principles guide Brunswick Electric’s commitment to serve our membership and our community.
These cooperative principles set co-ops apart from other business models. BEMC is motivated to do the best possible job to provide safe and reliable power for our membership, as opposed to making a profit. We are diligent in every aspect of running the co-op, because you expect and deserve the best service possible at the lowest possible cost. The result is that cooperatives have a distinct culture where service to the members and the community is always our top priority. I’d like to focus on the last two cooperative principles as examples.
You might recognize how we implement Principle 7, Concern for Community, as one of the most visible parts of what we do. For example, through our Warm Homes, Warm Hearts heating assistance program we match member donations and partner with Brunswick Family Assistance and the Columbus County Department of Aging to help our friends and neighbors in need. Also, BEMC’s grant programs fund classroom projects that otherwise might not be funded, and assist local non-profit organizations in accomplishing their missions.
Co-op Principle 6 is Cooperation Among Cooperatives. Although co-ops work together on a daily basis sharing resources and best practices, this principle is most evident during hurricane season or other severe weather incidents. Receiving assistance in the form of highly-skilled crews of line technicians is critical during major outages, and the immediate and selfless response by other co-ops is humbling. BEMC most recently received such help last October during Hurricane Matthew and we were glad to get it. Likewise, it’s gratifying to be able to help others out when they need it, like we did a few months back when we sent our crews to assist Cape Hatteras EC on the Outer Banks. No matter how we are cooperating with other co-ops, the end result is better service for our members. That’s the cooperative difference.
So, it’s easy to celebrate cooperatives this month because the model is strong and it is based on a philosophy that has stood the test of time. Of course, you are at the center of the model, and as always, we thank you for being a member. We are proud to serve you.