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April 2016


Serving two states presents opportunities and challenges


SWRE is somewhat unique in the cooperative world in that our organization is almost equally divided between members in Southwest Oklahoma and North Texas. As a result we are members of two statewide cooperative organizations –


Texas Electric


Cooperatives (TEC) and Oklahoma Association of Electrical Cooperatives (OAEC). We are very fortunate that these two statewide organizations are two of the premier statewide organizations in the nation. Under the excellent leadership of Mike Williams in Texas and Chris Meyers in Oklahoma, our cooperative benefits from the staffs and resources of both states. These resources allow our cooperative to access a wealth of information from diverse sources within the framework of those organizations. For example, we are able to purchase transformers, cross-arms, braces, insulators, etc. from TEC because they have formed a separate cooperative for all TEC member co-ops to purchase distribution equipment at bulk prices. TEC also has its own pole treatment facility that allows us to purchase poles at reduced prices while ensuring rapid delivery in a storm scenario. At the same time, we are able to compare prices with our traditional suppliers that serve the Oklahoma area and make choices that ultimately benefit our cooperative. We are also able to seek legal and legislative advice and updates from both statewide organizations.


One of the biggest advantages of serving two states is our membership. I know that I am biased, but I believe that some of the finest people in the United States reside in Southwest Oklahoma and North Texas. These folks are hardworking, honest, and decent people. Our members are represented by directors from both Texas and Oklahoma. Having directors from both states does make it interesting during


by Mike R. Hagy


college sporting events, although Oklahoma State and Texas Tech may have the most fans among board members as opposed to OU and Texas.


One of the things about being involved in both states that I enjoy personally is getting to know and communicate with CEO/general managers from other co-ops in both Oklahoma and Texas. These men and women are great resources and I am pleased to say that there is a genuine kinship among not only managers, but also among all cooperative employees in both states. What is the downside to serving in two states? We of course deal with two state legislatures, two state regulatory agencies (the Corporation Commission in Oklahoma and the Public Utility Commission in Texas), and twice the travel, meetings, and training. Yet the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to serving in two states. In the time of uncertainties that face our industry our cooperative is able to glean the best practices of co-ops in both states and see how they can benefit SWRE. We can also learn from the mistakes at co-ops in both states and make sure we avoid those pitfalls in our cooperative. I believe that the changes involving conservation of energy and development of alternative energy sources will ultimately benefit SWRE members in both states as well as our nation.


The bottom line is that the benefits of serving members in two states vastly outweigh added complications or difficulties. It is more like combining the best that two states


can offer and applying those principles to serve all of our members through our vision of “safety, service, and satisfaction – one member at a time.”


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