By Kent Singer, CREA Executive Director
There’s a great tradition in the electric co-op program where co-op member-owners have a chance to attend the annual meeting to get an update on the latest news from the co-op. While most co-op members attend the annual meeting to listen carefully to the important reports from the co-op’s accounting, engineering and legal departments regarding the activities of the co-op, in a few cases I suspect that folks attend for the free meal and the door prizes.
Part of my job at the Colorado Rural Electric Association involves attending as many of these annual co-op meetings as possible. When I do, I’m usually treated like a member and I leave the meeting not only with a lot of good information but also with the same parting gift that goes to co-op members. This means that over the years I accumulated a vast collection of useful co-op branded items that enabled me to (with apologies to Ricky Martin) live “La Vida Co-op.”
How so? Well, every morning I’m awakened by the jingle of my Southeast Colorado Power Association alarm clock and weather station. This thing not only has an alarm clock, it also tells me the temperature and barometric pressure outside so I know whether I’ll need a jacket to walk Ella (our border collie).
When I get out of bed, I leave the lights off so as not to disturb my sleeping bride, but I’m able to avoid stumbling on my way to the kitchen because our hallway and bathrooms are lit with nightlights from Intermountain Rural Electric Association. After a quick drink of water from my K.C. Electric Association cup, I’m ready to slip on my San Isabel Electric Association jean jacket and San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative baseball cap and head out for my morning walk.
After the walk (in winter months I use my Delta-Montrose Electric Association flashlight to see where we’re going), I turn on our United Power LED kitchen lights. I then pull out a knife from my Highline Electric Association cutlery set and slice some bananas to put on my oatmeal. Sometimes I use my Holy Cross Energy ice cream scoop to add a little extra nutrition to my morning kale smoothie. (Just kidding, I would never ruin a smoothie with kale.)
I often make a to-do list for the day using my Empire Electric Association pen on my Yampa Valley Electric Association notepad. After reading the morning newspaper, I may use my Y-W Electric Association scissors to clip relevant articles to take to work. I pack up the articles and to-do list in my La Plata Electric Association portfolio and head to work.
On weekends, the “Livin’ La Vida Co-op” lifestyle really gets amped up. For winter Broncos games, we fill up our Mountain View Electric Association thermos with hot chocolate and sit on our San Isabel Electric Association stadium seats with our San Miguel Power Association and Grand Valley Power blankets pulled around us for warmth. On really cold Sundays, I put on my Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association parka over my CREA fleece pullover (as far as I know, no co-op has yet put its logo on long johns).
In the summer, we take our Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association insulated picnic basket to concerts in the park after filling it with cheese sliced on my White River Electric Association cutting board and vegetables peeled with my Highline Electric Association vegetable peeler. Sometimes I tee up at the golf course with my Mountain Parks Electric golf balls. After the round, I come home and put on my Morgan County Rural Electric Association chef’s apron (complete with bottle opener and beverage holder) and pull out my Southeast Colorado Power Association grilling tools to turn the steaks. Dinner on the back porch is illuminated with my Gunnison County Electric Association solar-powered camp light.
Of course, “Livin’ La Vida Co-op” is about much more than the free gifts provided at co-op annual meetings. It’s really about the great service and value provided by Colorado’s electric co-ops that work tirelessly to keep your lights on and make your communities a better place to work and live. To that, I hope you will agree: “Viva Colorado’s Electric Co-ops!”