What was the purpose of the first electric cooperatives? To provide reasonably priced electric service to citizens that otherwise would not have electricity.
Ultimately, the goal of the men and women in the 1930s was the same as today. They sought a better way of life for their children and grandchildren. When the first electric cooperative members signed up for electric service back in the 1930s and 1940s, a $5 deposit was required. Now, that was quite a bit of money for most rural Arkansas residents, but their desire for a better way of life guided them to invest in electricity.
Today, parents and grandparents still seek a better way of life for future generations. In 2008, your local electric cooperative is providing you, as a cooperative member, with the opportunity to invest in the future. You have the opportunity to voluntarily contribute to a “green power” fund that will be utilized to encourage the development of renewable energy sources and energy conservation in Arkansas.
“Green power” is a term for electricity that is partially or entirely generated from environmentally preferable renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, biomass, methane gas - and, in the case of the cooperatives in Arkansas – hydropower. As part of the program, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas’ three hydroelectric generation stations on the Arkansas River produce electricity.
Why should members participate in the GreenPower program? The same reason that our parents and grandparents signed up for electric service approximately 70 years ago to ensure a better way of life for future generations.
The cost? Well, that depends on the amount a member wants to contribute. Under the program, a member may purchase 100 kilowatt-hours of green power for $5 or other blocks up to 2,000 kilowatt-hours for $100.
Skeptics may feel that $5 is too much. What if our parents and grandparents felt that way? Needless to say, we would not enjoy the lifestyle that we, as Arkansans, have come to enjoy. It might surprise you to know that $5 in 1937 equals approximately $72.55 in 2008.
What were the first cooperative members promised by their local electric cooperative? They were promised safe, reliable, reasonably priced electricity.
Today, members are still promised safe, reliable, reasonably priced electricity. However, they have the opportunity to assist in increasing the use of renewable energy, which is very costly to develop. The program allows members to further invest in protecting the environment and ensuring that Arkansas’ natural resources are preserved.
Was the $5 worth it to our parents and grandparents? Are you willing to make this type of investment for your children and grandchildren?