Back to school

Pat O’Loughlin, president and CEO of Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives

Schools around the state are back in session, and your electric cooperative has some educational opportunities coming up as well. One of the cooperative principles that guides the actions of your co-op is Education, Training, and Information. Our national association explains the principle’s importance this way: “Education and training for members, elected representatives (directors/trustees), and employees helps them to effectively contribute to the development of their cooperatives. Communications about the nature and benefits of cooperatives, particularly with the general public and opinion leaders, helps boost cooperative understanding.”

Education and information are vital to the cooperative business model because they allow you to be more than just consumers we serve — it provides you the tools to act as members of your electric cooperative. You can more effectively participate in the governance and actions of your cooperative when you know more about what we do and why we do it.

It’s one of the reasons we open up the Cardinal Power Plant for a tour by cooperative members this time of year. There’s no better way to demonstrate how we keep your power clean, safe, affordable, and reliable than to show you the process in person. Not everyone needs such an up-close view of how we make your electricity and manage our assets, but it’s an educational opportunity we make available to members. This is the first year that Buckeye Power, the wholesale power supplier for all of Ohio’s electric cooperatives, has taken the responsibility of managing the entire Cardinal plant site.

September also means time for the annual Farm Science Review near London, Ohio — another opportunity for us to show our members more about what their cooperative can do for them. The Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives Education Center is one of the largest permanent structures at the review, and employees from Ohio cooperatives are on hand during the entire three-day event to talk about safety, energy conservation, money-saving tips, and all things co-op. I hope you get the chance to start the school year by having some fun — and learning a little along the way.