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Improving Kentuckians’ quality of life for 75 years

Statewide association supports co-ops and their members

THERE HAVE BEEN WARS, hurricanes and ice storms. There have been economic good and bad times. There have been many presidents and many changes in politics. We have seen people walk on the moon and amazing changes in technology. We have seen medical breakthroughs that have extended lives. We now have access to people and information that is fundamentally changing the way we live. 

However, one thing has remained the same: The commitment of electric cooperatives to improve the quality of life throughout Kentucky and the country. 

Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, the association that represents the state’s 26 electric co-ops, is celebrating our 75th annual meeting this month. The story of our creation is similar to the one that happened in the late 1930s in your community when your local electric co-op was formed. A collection of people came together and said that we are stronger together. 

Co-op leaders in the state met and decided that they needed a consistent voice in Frankfort and Washington, D.C., to advocate for policies that impact rural electric service. This significant step would continue to grow over the years. 

The association would start a magazine that would eventually become Kentucky Living, this publication with the largest circulation in the state, 469,000 copies a month with over 1 million readers. 

The need for quality materials to develop electric infrastructure across the state would lead to the creation of a distribution company to acquire and sell critical materials, such as transformers, poles and hardware. Now known as United Utility Supply, it sells to electric co-ops across 17 states. 

I have spent my entire career in the electric cooperative program and have seen nearly 30 years of this 75-year-plus history. I have been blessed to meet and work with many leaders across the state. The longevity of the electric cooperative association is rooted in our rural culture. 

My grandfather used to say to me, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” I took that to heart and that is exactly the belief of cooperative staff across the state. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to deliver reliable service at competitive rates to you, our consumer-members. 

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