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Supplement to THE FUTURE OF ELECTRICITY column “Brighter lives around the world”

To learn more about how America’s electric cooperatives are helping people in other parts of the world start up and manage their own local electricity systems, visit NRECA International’s Web site.

Making reliable electricity a part of a community is not just about physical infrastructure. It also involves getting people who may be unfamiliar with the ideas of modern management involved in the day-to-day operations of a self-governed, democratically organized business.

Drawing on their many years of practical experience, co-op personnel take a three-part approach to help bring power to remote villages. Building a power grid from the ground up involves:

* Construction (a generation system to supply the electricity, setting up poles, wires, transformers, and meters to connect the electricity to customers)

* Education and training (which includes training local workers in maintenance and safety procedures around energized equipment)

* Business management (setting up an office, a billing system, and customer service departments, and making regular progress reports to the community)

American co-op personnel also work closely with local community members to help them understand the duties and responsibilities that go along with serving on the board of directors, and the role that senior management plays in the day-to-day-activities of a co-op.

You can read stories about individual projects, explore photo galleries, and watch short videos to see how American co-op personnel and volunteers share their practical knowledge with local rural people around the globe to bring the benefits of electricity to their communities.

You can view photos of three rural electrification projects in South Sudan.

To read the Kentucky Living June 2011 FUTURE OF ELECTRICITY column that goes along with this supplement, go to Brighter lives around the world.

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