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Togetherness

Fifty years ago, then-U.S. Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman proclaimed October as a month to celebrate cooperatives.

Since then co-ops of all sorts, from credit unions to housing cooperatives, have used October to pause and reflect on the business model that puts the users first.

The idea began as far back as 1620 when Pilgrims, realizing the life-or-death importance of working together, wrote in the Mayflower Compact that “We…solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation…”

A few decades later, Benjamin Franklin established a model that would become the volunteer fire department. That effort included an insurance cooperative, the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Preservation of Houses from Loss by Fire. Formed in 1752, it’s still in operation.

Saving money cooperatively

Kentucky Living celebrates Co-op Month this year with its fifth annual Energy Guide.

Each year the guide offers dozens of ways to save money by using your electricity more efficiently. You can get all five guides—with hundreds of energy-saving ideas—by going to KentuckyLiving.com and clicking on the icon on the right side of the Home page.

This year’s guide shows you how to think of your home energy in the three biggest categories to help you target your efficiency efforts. Past guides provided a home energy checklist, the top 10 savings, and the simplest steps to give you the best results for your effort and investment.

The guide itself is also a great Co-op Month lesson in the unique value of cooperatives. Why would a business encourage you to use less of its product?

Because co-ops put the customer-member first. For electric co-ops, the priority is helping you make the best use of your energy dollar.

Happy Co-op Month. Celebrate by using the Energy Guide to save yourself some money.

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