You are a member; not a customer
That's the co-op difference!
Many businesses use the word "member" to describe their customers. Places like Sam's Club, or Costco and even American Express like to refer to their customers as members You pay a fee to buy their good and services, but that is really all you get for the "membership". No right to vote for the Board of Directors or to participate in any meaningful way in the organization
In Cooperative's like ours, membership really does mean something more than just the right to buy electricity. Co-op's are founded on the seven cooperative principles that give us guidance and strategic direction. Membership also gives you the rights as an owner of this coop.
Brett Fairbairn is the director of the Center for the Study of Cooperatives at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. He makes the case that member relations is not just part of what co-ops should be doing, but in fact is the fundamental core business of the Cooperative. He further lays out the three strategic concepts that any co-op must get right in order to survive and thrive:
Economic linkage: Columbus Electric is connected to you. There is a business relationship that serves you (the member) and the co-op. Since our co-op is solely owned by people we serve, there is a mutual interest to ensure that both the co-op and the member do well and prosper.
Transparency: As an owner of the co-op, you have a right to know how it operates and how decisions are made that directly impact you. If the co-op is transparent and combines this trait with integrity and fairness, it will build trust with the members
Cognition: In this case, cognition is best defined as how your co-op thinks. It includes the current and historical identity, the mission and the sense of shared values with co-op members. Research, education and training are critical functions that we must conduct on an ongoing basis to ensure that we always have the best information to make decisions
The cooperative business model is the best one on earth, but like any enterprise, it is up to human beings who work at the co-op, who serve on the board and the members like you to ensure that the principles and values do not fade over time
First and foremost at Columbus Electric we strive to be thought of as a member-owned cooperative that gives you the best value of any utility.
If we succeed, our communities thrive and you will always value being a member-not a customer.
Supporting Our Youngest Members
At Columbus Electric, we talk a lot about the services we provvide to you, our members - energy efficiency, convenient billing options, and fun events like our annual meeting and other activities. But many of our value-added benefits are directed at a younger audience: children.
It's important that we support our youngest members, not only to enrich their lives, but also to instill in them the importance of cooperatives. After all, these youngsters will one day become community and possibly co-op leaders.
For high school graduates we offer college scholarships, 20 were awarded this year. Academic accomplishment, character are just two of the determining factors that guide high school counselors in selecting the individuals receiving these grants.
This year we offered two programs designed to introduce students to the Cooperative business model and electric utility business: (1) for several years we have worked with the Doña Ana Community College providing internships for students in the electric power lineman program, this summer we employed two; (2) during the spring semester we had two intern high school students from the Cesar Chavez Charter school; this summer we have three, two from Deming High and one from Animas School.
And for children of all ages, we provide safety demonstrations and teach kids about electric safety. Just this past school year we partnered with our power supplier, Tri-State G & T where together our employees visited Ruben Torres Elementary School in Deming; and both Columbus and Animas Elementary schools.
We also support local youth sports clubs and summer youth educational programs. Outreach with youth and improving the quality of life in the communities we serve is just one more way Columbus Electric is looking out for our members.
Operation Round Up
Operation Round Up is just what the name implies. Each participating member allows Columbus Electric to automatically round up their electric bill to the next highest dollar amount. You may also choose to delegate a specific amount that you would like to contribute each month. The additional change goes into the Scholarship Fund to help continue to offer financial assistance to our Cooperative family members as they seek to further their education after High School. All donations are tax deductible, and your January billing statement will include the total funds contributed each year. Participation in the Operation Round Up program is strictly voluntary.
You may sign up for Operation Round Up simply by calling our office, or by indicating on your next payment stub that you would like to participate or drop us an email at Billing@col-coop.com
Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month
Consider insulating your water heater tank, which could reduce standby heat losses by 25 to 45 percent and save you about 4 to 9 percent in water heating costs. You can find pre-cut jackets or blankets available from around $20.
575-546-8838 between the hours of 8:00am - 5:00 pm