October is national cooperative month. Did you know there are nearly 30,000 cooperatives in the U.S.? There are generally three types of cooperatives; producer, purchasing, and consumer. The 30,000 cooperatives include 350 million memberships! Cooperatives have come a long way since their founding in 1844 in England by the Rochdale pioneers.
Eastern Illini is an electric cooperative with over 11,000 members. We are one of nearly 900 cooperatives that provide electric service in 47 states. Nearly 13 percent of U.S. meters are members of electric cooperatives. U.S. electric cooperatives own and maintain 2.6 million miles of line, or 42 percent of the nations’ distribution lines, covering 56 percent of the geographic territory.
All cooperatives abide by seven cooperative principles. A few of these principles can be boiled down to local control and involvement, namely open and voluntary membership, democratic member control and concern for community. In a nation and world that seems to be becoming increasingly chaotic, it is comforting to know that your electric service provider has stability and staying power. After all, we have been in existence for over 80 years providing safe and reliable service.
As you know, EIEC has a large territory with a rather sparse population; however, within our footprint there are many communities and related organizations. We are increasing our efforts to reach out and improve our community focus. Kenney Davenport, a new employee, has been tasked with implementing this outreach. Many of our employees are EIEC members, and those not living within the EIEC territory all live within our larger geographic footprint. Regardless of where our employees live, their focus is you, our member. We want to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective electricity with customer service that exceeds your expectations.
You have a chance to provide local input this month. On page 3 of this newsletter is a brief survey. We conduct this survey each October to track service benchmarks and gather other information. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey on-line, or return it with your bill payment. We appreciate your input. We will use the results to further improve our service to you.
Enjoy the changing weather pattern to fall – my favorite season of the year. Please keep safety foremost in your daily activities, especially as the harvest season continues.
On behalf of our board of directors and employees, happy national cooperative month!