Crewe, Va — Join Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) in celebrating cooperatives in Virginia and across America during National Cooperative Month.
Every October, cooperatives are recognized for the qualities that make the business model unique: local democratic control, commitment to supporting the communities they serve and improving quality of life, special benefits and services, and the return of margins (the co-op term for profits) back to members in the form of capital credits.
"Cooperatives are unique, especially in this day and age," says Jeff Edwards, SEC president & CEO. "We have an obligation to provide reliable, affordable, and safe electricity, but we take that a step further. We also have a responsibility to support our members, enrich schools, and enhance our communities."
SEC is proud to be part of America’s cooperative network, which employs more than 850,000 people. Across the nation, 29,000 co-ops and credit unions generate $74 billion in annual wages and nearly $500 billion in revenue.
Cooperatives thrive in Virginia, with more than 377 co-ops in various industries serving nearly 7 million members, according to the Center for Cooperatives at the University of Wisconsin. Virginia’s co-op economy employs 30,000 Virginians, and nationally more than 2.1 million jobs are supported by co-ops.
SEC is one of more than 900 electric cooperatives, public utility districts and public power districts serving 42 million people in 47 states.
"Electric cooperatives were formed because rural communities were struggling for lack of investment," Edwards explains. "Neighbors banded together and lit up the countryside when no one else would. That’s what we celebrate each October."
In addition to electric utilities, Virginia residents are served cooperatively by credit unions, food co-ops, agricultural co-ops, hardware stores and more.
Headquartered in Crewe, SEC is a member-owned not-for-profit electric utility serving more than 54,000 meters in homes and businesses throughout southern and central Virginia. For more information about SEC, please visit www.sec.coop, or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthsideElectric.