Our member-owner elected board representatives should vote in accordance with the concerns and input of the member-owners in the district they are elected to represent.
Economists consider an “affordable” energy bill to be 6% of a person’s income. In Hancock County, Tennessee, the average per capita income is just over $30,000 per year, meaning an affordable bill should average out to $1,800 per year. But many people pay much more than that. As PVEC Member Voices, we advocate for bills that reflect our community’s ability to pay.
Bills account for more than just rates! Take a look. Your rates are on it, but on a closer look you might see other charges, too. Extra charges on your bill can include a late payment charge or a disconnect fee. Higher charges might mean your A/C, water heating system, space heating system, or electric appliances are having problems.
Cooperatives are democratic organizations that only work when member-owners exercise their rights. We believe that member-owner involvement is fundamental to the success of any rural electric cooperative. Cooperative members (often called customers) are the actual owners of the cooperative, and with this ownership comes both rights and responsibilities. Member-owner involvement includes both.
The sharing of information and ideas between the cooperative’s member-owners, staff, and Board of Directors serves to increase understanding, transparency and partnership within our cooperative, making it stronger and better able to address the changing needs of the communities it serves – now and for future generations to come.
We believe that protecting our land, water, and air is just as important as protecting our democratic institutions. Electric cooperatives can influence how we treat our local environment! Cooperatives can choose to explore renewable energy sources, consider environmental factors in right of way stewardship, and increase energy efficiency programs. Renewable energy, such as sun, wind, and geothermal power, renew themselves and don’t require environmentally damaging installation practices; they are actually cheaper to use in the long run. PVEC has the power to promote cost-saving energy efficiency programs to its members. All of these can both lessen the environmental impact of energy use and increase quality of life for local people. This core value is reflected within the Seven Cooperative Principles by which our cooperative should operate.
34% of Tennesseans don’t have access to the internet at home. Making broadband internet available to PVEC members is vital to the economic development of our rural area. Broadband internet is especially useful for these businesses because it allows those in rural areas to compete for low- and high-end service jobs, from call centers to software development. New markets for existing rural businesses, including farms, can benefit from broadband internet. One example is in niche markets, such as organic farm goods. Internet access also makes life easier for our kids, allowing them to do their homework at home, search for jobs, work online and gain access to tele-health. See what PVEC has done to provide members with broadband internet.
The co-op can also spur economic development in other ways, according to this study. Co-ops can provide and have provided high-paying jobs and job training, combatting local “brain drain” and giving young people job opportunities they may not otherwise have had. They can also partner with local organizations to incubate small businesses and pursue federal economic development funding for their service area.
Co-ops have limitless potential to benefit their community – and we believe PVEC will continue to fulfill that potential.
Members of PVEC Member Voices held a number of educational workshops in our service area to increase awareness about how cooperatives work, including rights and responsibilities of members, cooperative bylaws and how to get involved.
Even though we love to engage in educational work, we don’t believe it should be our responsibility – this is PVEC’S responsibility. Our educational work serves to further our cause of making PVEC ultimately more accountable to educating the community it serves. Many cooperatives actively work to help customers understand the services they offer.