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Helping hands

Improving life for the people in our communities is a core co-op value

Recently, a friend of mine was down on his luck. He had lost his job in a round of layoffs. Bills were piling up and he was getting close to being evicted from his home. He began to feel he was not doing his job by providing for his wife and children. When we finally learned about his situation, we started making calls to find the help he needed.

I was thinking of this story when I attended a recent meeting of the electric cooperative CEOs from across the state. We discussed many topics, including how our local communities are doing. Parts of our state are beginning to show signs of recovery from the prolonged recession. But many counties and towns are still down on their luck.

One of the foundations of Kentucky cooperatives is the commitment to our communities. The overall way that electric co-ops carry out this commitment is through providing reliable energy to the schools, homes, and businesses at an affordable price. Kentucky has some of the lowest rates in the country. In the most recent report from the Energy Information Administration, Kentucky retail residential electric prices are 21 percent below the national average.

Your cooperative is also a local leader. Its representatives serve on industrial authority boards, chambers of commerce, and other local agencies that need qualified professionals. Co-ops are quick to serve in these capacities because they understand the importance of recruiting and providing good jobs locally.

Finally, cooperative line technicians, engineers, accountants, and related business professionals are quick to help our schools and universities with job training and provide resources to build a better work force. Across the state, our cooperative linemen go into the schools to tell students and teachers how to stay safe around electricity, and to tell young people about the great opportunities in the energy world for future employment.

My friend is doing better. He has a job and is getting back on his feet. Our cooperatives are doing the same thing by helping our communities rebound and get back on their feet.

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