When you think about Butte Electric Cooperative, you probably associate us with Butte, Lawrence, and Meade counties, and you would be right. Our leadership team, board of directors, and employees all live and work in the communities we serve. But you may not realize that Butte Electric is part of a nationwide cooperative network that brings additional value, tools, and knowledge that benefit our members.
When we expect a severe weather event for our region, we call on our sister co-ops in areas unaffected by the approaching storm. We coordinate with other co-ops through a mutual aid system to bring additional trucks, equipment, and lineworkers to our service territory. As a cooperative network, we work together and share resources to restore power to our communities. And Butte Electric reciprocates by assisting other electric co-ops when they request help.
One of our seven principles is “cooperation among cooperatives.” For example, cooperative lineworkers from ten surrounding states traveled to Florida last month to assist with the restoration efforts from Hurricane Ian. This is an example of how we work together to meet challenges after a severe weather event.
Another area in which Butte Electric benefits from cooperation among cooperatives is cybersecurity. Through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) “Rural Cooperative Cybersecurity Capabilities Program” (RC3), we can access training, resources, and tools to strengthen our efforts to combat cyber threats.
Butte Electric’s ability to tap into the more extensive cooperative network and access tools, products, resources, and leading practices from across the nation ultimately strengthens our cooperative and our communities.
Additionally, communities across the globe have benefitted from the lessons learned and experience of cooperatives in the electrification of rural areas in the U.S.
NRECA International has provided access to reliable and affordable electricity to 120 million people in 43 countries. This effort is made possible through the support of electric cooperatives in this state and across the country.
Hundreds of lineworkers, engineers, and office personnel have volunteered to bring first-time access to electricity and train local partners to help utilities be sustainable in their communities.
November is a time of year for reflection and giving thanks. I am grateful for our sister co-ops who enable us to serve you and our broader community better. When electric cooperatives collaborate, we strengthen each other and the communities we serve – which is something to be genuinely thankful for. On behalf of the board of directors and staff at Butte Electric, we wish our members a Happy Thanksgiving.