North Fork of the Blackfoot River

Celebrating National Cooperative Month

Posted: October 1, 2019
Mark Hayden
Mark Hayden, GM

When we think of October, trick or treating, pumpkins and fall foliage come to mind. But at Missoula Electric Cooperative (MEC) and fellow cooperatives across the country, October is notable for another reason – National Cooperative Month! This is the time of year when cooperatives celebrate what makes us different and most importantly, the members and communities we serve!

Cooperatives are different than other businesses. When the market fails to offer a product or service, or does so at a steep price, co-ops are often established to fill the need. Such was the case when MEC was created. Community members recognized a need for electricity in rural communities and worked with their neighbors to form the co-op and bring power to the community. MEC exists to provide safe, affordable and reliable energy to you, our members. Equally as important, is our mission to enrich the lives of the members we serve.

As a co-op, we are well-suited to meet the needs of the community because we are locally governed. MEC’s leadership team and employees live right here in the community. Our Board of Trustees, who help set long-term priorities for MEC, live locally, and power their homes with co-op lines. These Trustees have been elected to the position by neighbors, like you!

We value our member’s different perspectives and strive to continually seek your feedback and put it to use. Whether it be at the Annual Meeting, community or charitable events, or on social media, we WANT to hear from you!

Our close relationship with the community ensures that we get a first-hand perspective on local priorities, thereby enabling us to make more informed decisions on long-term investments, like community solar, technology and equipment upgrades and more!

Another feature that sets our co-op apart from a traditional utility is one of our core principles, “Concern for Community.” We partner with local organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and other worthy programs. We also support the community with educational scholarships, school supply drives, and local river cleanup efforts. Each year, MEC participates in the Youth Tour, and selects a high school student to represent our cooperative in Washington DC, for a week-long immersion, to experience democracy in action!

The larger community benefits from these programs because of you and your neighbors. You empower MEC through your membership and your participation in, and support of, these programs.

In October (and year-round), we hope you think of Missoula Electric Cooperative as more than just your energy provider, but rather, as a local partner that supports the community and powers economic development. We strive to continue learning from our membership and better understanding your priorities, so we can better serve you – because your local electric cooperative was built by the community, for the community.

In celebration of Co-op Month, and our valued members, we are teaming up with fellow cooperative, CHS Mountain West Cooperative, to host a series of Member Appreciation Events throughout October. Join us for company updates from MEC and CHS, followed by Energy Partners, the local propane company that our members collectively own. A schedule of events and additional details can be found on our Facebook page and on page five of October’s Rural Montana. I hope to see you there!