Living Out Its Commitment
December 21st, 2010 by Pam Blair

Making a difference sets apart public utilities and their employees

General Foreman Ron Massey of Central Electric Cooperative, based in Redmond, Oregon, sends sparks flying during an electrical safety demonstration at the Deschutes County Fair. Photo by Jeff Beaman

General Foreman Ron Massey of Central Electric Cooperative, based in Redmond, Oregon, sends sparks flying during an electrical safety demonstration at the Deschutes County Fair. Photo by Jeff Beaman

Commitment to community is more than rhetoric for public utilities. It defines who they are, and is evidence of how they are different from other types of businesses.

Below are a few ways they and their employees add value beyond providing electricity to the communities served.

Big Bend Electric Cooperative, Ritzville, Washington—Employees and family members participated in seven community parades and are involved in a blues festival, a quilt guild and Relay for Life.

Blachly-Lane Electric Co-op, Junction City, Oregon—The co-op was selected Large Business of the Year by the Junction City/Harrisburg Chamber of Commerce for its support of community events and economic development.

Central Electric Cooperative, Redmond, Oregon—More than 2,000 people witnessed safety demonstrations offered by CEC at the Deschutes County Fair.

Clearwater Power, Lewiston, Idaho—Seventeen staff and family members participated in the United Way Day of Caring. It was the largest showing of volunteers from a single organization. The co-op sent eight high schoolers to the Idaho Consumer-Owned Utilities Association Youth Rally.

Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, based in Portola, California, supports local organizations such as Plumas County Search and Rescue through its We Give Back program. Volunteers are, from left, Amy Kreth and Sparkle; Sandy Osman and Gerty; Lori Powers and Moxie; and ground support teammate Georgia Knutsen. Photo by Corby Gardner

Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, based in Portola, California, supports local organizations such as Plumas County Search and Rescue through its We Give Back program. Volunteers are, from left, Amy Kreth and Sparkle; Sandy Osman and Gerty; Lori Powers and Moxie; and ground support teammate Georgia Knutsen. Photo by Corby Gardner

Coos-Curry Electric Co-op, Port Orford, Oregon—CCEC hosted a Be Prepared Fair during its annual meeting featuring health and emergency responders. Employees and board members donated a quilt that was raffled, with proceeds going to CCEC’s energy assistance fund.

Hood River Electric Cooperative, Odell, Oregon—HREC sponsors the annual drug- and alcohol-free graduation party. Office staff members save stamped envelopes for rehabilitation work with veterans.

Lassen Municipal Utility District, Susanville, California—LMUD hung dozens of banners honoring local enlisted men and women along Main Street.

Midstate Electric Cooperative, La Pine, Oregon—Health screening and tips on living a healthy lifestyle were offered during the annual meeting.

Nespelem Valley Electric Cooperative, Nespelem, Washington—Linemen were involved in career day at the high school and a safety display at the fair. They hang lights and flags in Nespelem and Elmer City. Staff participated in the Mill Pond Days parade. NVEC sponsors several youth and civic programs.

Ohop Mutual Light Co., Eatonville, Washington—The basic charge is waived for seniors 62-plus who qualify based on income level. CFLs, showerheads and faucet aerators are given to members for the cost of taxes and shipping.

Like other publicly owned utilities, Tillamook PUD is well represented at the annual American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. In 11 years of participating, the PUD has raised more than $47,000. Photo by Carolyn Moore

Like other publicly owned utilities, Tillamook PUD is well represented at the annual American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. In 11 years of participating, the PUD has raised more than $47,000. Photo by Carolyn Moore

Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, Portola, California—PSREC and its telecommunications subsidiaries donated funds to the county’s search and rescue program and three volunteer fire departments. Employees cooked and served a free community dinner. Several serve as volunteer firefighters.

Raft River Electric Cooperative, Malta, Idaho—The co-op sent 10 students to the Idaho Consumer-Owned Utility Association Youth Rally and donates to the bookmobile and supports.

Salmon River Electric Co-op, Challis, Idaho—SREC donated $15,000 to the Good Neighbor Fund to help members pay their electric bills.

Surprise Valley Electrification, Alturas, California—Staff time and equipment are given to put up decorations and banners, replace lights and install playground equipment.

Tillamook PUD, Tillamook, Oregon—Since 1993, a volunteer group of employees and their families have adopted 15 to 20 families a year during the holidays. Funds come from voluntary payroll deductions and employee fundraisers.

Coach Kevin Rohde, left, an employee of Midstate Electric Cooperative, based in La Pine, Oregon, greets his Royals baseball team with fist bumps. Photo by Makrina Rohde

Coach Kevin Rohde, left, an employee of Midstate Electric Cooperative, based in La Pine, Oregon, greets his Royals baseball team with fist bumps. Photo by Makrina Rohde


Umatilla Electric Cooperative, Hermiston, Oregon—UEC offers a two-week Hydromania summer science camp for fourth- and fifth-graders. This year, 76 students participated. Each fall, supplies are donated to area elementary schools.

United Electric Cooperative, Heyburn, Idaho—Employees clean up a section of the highway, and collect mittens, hats and food items for Christmas.

Wasco Electric Cooperative, The Dalles, Oregon—The co-op funded economic/community grants totaling more than $10,000. It buys 4-H animals at county fairs and sponsors students to national and regional youth programs.

West Oregon Electric Cooperative, Vernonia, Oregon—Employees voluntarily took a one-year wage freeze in exchange for half of the cost savings being donated to the co-op’s energy assistance program. WOEC helped sponsor the Bear Creek Run, raising more than $2,000 for the local food bank.