Manager's Message: Spare Change Adds Up To $2 Million

Manager's Message: Spare Change Adds Up To $2 Million

One of the great things about electric cooperatives is how we work together.

A great example is our mutual aid system. We get help from our sister co-ops when we have many outages after a storm, and in turn we send crews to help out when we’re needed elsewhere. We sent linemen up north to Presque Isle Electric & Gas in Onaway after we finished repairs this past Christmas, for instance, and we’ve been able to call on Great Lakes Energy and Midwest Energy for crews and equipment during past storms.

There are other good ideas that get shared when we work together. Many of our most popular programs were developed from one co-op starting a program, then allowing others to build on it for their own member-owners. The list includes our online outage map, our use of Facebook to host conversations with you, and our participation in Partners For Power, helping electrify a village in Guatemala last fall.

Another one of these good ideas is Operation Round Up, in which members can round up their monthly energy bills to the next dollar. This “spare change” is donated to a not-for profit foundation that in turn makes grants to families and organizations in need, right here in mid-Michigan.

We call our foundation the Tri-County Electric People Fund. A few months ago, after 22 years of making grants, the People Fund topped the $2 million milestone. That includes 560 grants to families in our 13-county service area, plus 775 grants to organizations that help even more families. You can read more in the Annual Report that wraps this month’s issue of Michigan Country Lines.

If you participate, you’ve helped keep families in their homes, provided clothes and snacks for schoolchildren, and kept local fire and ambulance departments up to date. You’ve stocked the shelves of area food banks, sent books to young readers, and repaired a senior center parking lot. It’s all been done with your spare change, averaging about 50 cents a month.

Thank you for 22 years, and $2 million-plus, of support for our communities. We hope there are many, many more to come. We know there will be more good ideas to share.

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Together We Save