Charles F. Perry: A little bit about YVEA

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Thank you for your interest in Yampa Valley Electric Association. The product of Brandon Gee's efforts on May 3 ("Struggle with power") identified the candidates, and your editorial May 10 ("Power to the people") should create participation among the association's membership as they choose between economic stability or embrace change on June 20.

YVEA is a distribution cooperative, owning no power plants, providing electricity through a network exceeding 1,000 miles of line and a long-term power supply contract with Xcel Energy. This territory is divided into nine geographic districts, with the bylaws requiring that three directors be elected each year.

Members who want to serve as directors of the association need only to return a petition of 15 valid signatures to have their name included on a ballot. The entire membership votes on each candidate by attending the annual meeting or returning the ballot to the association by mail. Simple. Democratic. Transparent. No smoke-filled rooms. No primaries. No political parties. No coalitions. No alliances.

The efforts to electrify Northwest Colorado occurred during the Great Depression. Among those facilitators/ranchers/farmers who circulated on horseback through our service area and accepted, cajoled, loaned or took in trade a value equal to the $5 (gold) original membership certificates was my grandfather. Maybe I am part of the "old boys club." Those "old boys" gave us a power supply contract with the contractual flexibility to meet the unknown future economic and political conditions of today.

FDR's vision and the "old boys" commitment to provide electricity as a need, rather than a luxury, has been fulfilled. To our increasing numbers of consumers affected by fixed incomes and disappearing 401(K)s, YVEA has provided stable rates for family budgets and business forecasts. Including ethics and morals as components of responsible fiscal decisions affecting our membership, rural cooperatives offer contrasting results to the situational ethics of for-profit business models. The following April 2009 Consumer Satisfaction and Attitude Survey results of: 92 percent for residential consumer satisfaction; 97 percent appreciation for our knowledgeable staff and employees; and a 94 percent overall consumer/customer satisfaction rating, reflect the relationship between defining our members needs and providing management oversight to meet those needs.

The right policies. The right people. The lowest rates.

Charles F. Perry

YVEA board candidate

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