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commentary currents You Own It— Participate!


If you bought a membership to a gym but never went there to exercise, you’d probably feel a little bit guilty. Or if you subscribed to a magazine but threw it away most months before you had a chance to read it, you’d wish you had taken the time to look through it, right?


So how do you feel about not participating in the electric cooperative that you belong to?


Consumers who get their power from an electric cooperative aren’t just customers; they’re members. And as a member, you have some opportunities to participate that you wouldn’t have if your electricity came from a utility that’s not a cooperative.


Here are three ways you can exercise your membership at Kiwash Electric:


Plan to attend the Kiwash Electric Annual Meeting on August 10. It’s a gathering of Kiwash Electric members and a chance to meet the managers and directors who keep the cooperative running smoothly.


Run for a seat on the Kiwash Electric board of directors. If you’d like to influence policy at your co-op and you meet the qualifications for service spelled out in Kiwash bylaws, you may run for election to the Kiwash Electric board. Because cooperatives are member-owned, the directors are elected from among the membership.Directors for Kiwash Electric Districts 3,4 and 5 are up for election this year. Watch your newsletter for more details.


Volunteer for a committee, or start one. Your cooperative occasionally needs help or input from members when important issues arise that could affect your electric rates


You don’t have to participate in your co-op, but taking advantage of this unique membership is an opportunity to have a say.


BY DENNI S KRUEGER G E N E R A L M A N A G E R


An 80 Year Milestone T


he date went unnoticed by the average person, however, May 11 was an historic day for


the American people and the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). On this date in 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an Executive Order entitled the “Establishment of the Rural Electrification Administration.” Without this particular Executive Order the landscape and economic viability of rural America would have suffered for at least another ten to twenty years.


The REA gave future consumer- owners of Kiwash Electric Cooperative a chance for economic prosperity. The REA allowed rural US farms to modernize by obtaining central station electricity for the first time, and to compete economically with the European agricultural marketplace.


In 1934, less than 11 percent of rural America had electricity. France and Germany enjoyed electricity over 90 percent of their rural regions. This disparity was largely due to U.S. investor- owned electric utilities unwillingness to serve rural areas without quadrupling electric rates. The REA movement quickly took hold with the establishment of many private, non-profit, locally owned and operated electric cooperatives, such as Kiwash. By 1942 it was estimated that 50 percent of America’s rural farms were electrified. By 1952 that number doubled to nearly 100 percent.


The simple words of the Presidential Executive Order were quite clear and extremely beneficial to the economic growth of rural America. The major message within this order:


“I hereby prescribe the following duties and functions of the said Rural Electrification Administration to be exercised and performed by the Administrator thereof to be hereafter appointed:


To initiate, formulate, administer, and supervise a program of approved projects with respect to the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric energy in rural areas.”


History reminds us that in the 1930s this country was suffering. The Great Depression brought upon widespread unemployment, failed banks and food lines. Western Oklahoma was in the midst of the Dust Bowl that severely hampered


agricultural profitability. Affordable


electricity in rural America would be a blessing that would modernize and update the American farm.


From the 193os through the 1950s, it was a luxury to have electricity to your home. The things we take for granted today, like clothes washing machines, ceiling light fixtures in the home or barns, radios, and clothes dryers were considered unachievable indulgences to the normal farm family of the 1930s. In those days, families relied on kerosene lamps for lights, wood burning cook stoves, clothes lines, and no TV.


We have come a long way in 80 years. If you are currently served by Kiwash Electric Cooperative, your property was once considered a part of rural America in the 1930’s. Oh, how things do change in eighty years! We owe much to the late President Roosevelt, his Administration, and the pioneers of the REA program for the dedication and wisdom that changed the face of rural America forever.


2 | JUNE 2015 | Kilowatt


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