Members benefit from LREC’s alliances
It’s nice to have extended family when you need a helping hand. The favorite aunt who is always available to do school pickup or the uncle who knows how to fix the garage door. What would you do without the cousin who has a trailer for when something needs to be moved?
Cooperatives like Little River Electric have extended families, too. One of the Seven Cooperative Principles is Cooperation Among Cooperatives. LREC’s members benefit from partnerships with organizations that provide special services. These relationships not only help the cooperative get things done, but save members money, as well.
One alliance that perhaps most directly affects rates is with LREC’s wholesale supplier and transmission cooperative, Central Electric Power. Central does not generate the power you use. Instead, Central uses the leverage that comes from representing all 20 South Carolina distribution cooperatives to negotiate purchase agreements from other power-generating sources. They also provide other services that help keep power costs affordable and reliable.
LREC calls on New Horizon Electric Cooperative whenever the cooperative is building a new substation or planning for a new residential development. New Horizon, headquartered in Laurens, was formed by a partnership between LREC, York Electric, Broad River Electric, Laurens Electric, and Blue Ridge Electric. New Horizon provides substation design, construction, maintenance, and testing for the five Upstate distribution cooperatives.
Members also benefit from LREC’s partnership with Cooperative Electric Energy Utility Supply (CEEUS), which provides materials and equipment—like poles, wires, and lineworkers’ rubber gloves—to the state’s cooperatives. Based in Columbia, CEEUS serves as a central buyer for each cooperative’s electrical supplies. This also means LREC can get supplies quickly when storms occur.
The SC Power Team is an economic development organization that represents the state’s electric cooperatives. The Power Team helps bring new industries to cooperative territories and supports the expansion and retention of existing businesses and facilities.
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina (ECSC) provides a wealth of services to the state’s cooperatives ranging from training to communications and government relations. ECSC is the organization that publishes South Carolina Living, speaks for members at the Statehouse, and ensures safety practices are up to standard.
Thanks to these cooperative alliances, and others such as the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA) and Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, LREC is able to provide innovative, premium services to its members. These alliances also allow the cooperative to share the costs of those services with other distribution cooperatives. Which benefits the cooperative’s entire family.
Written by Josh P. Crotzer