CEO Message — July 2021

Ownership of the Company Matters

Brandon Wittman headshotThe United States Census Bureau announced that the homeownership rate for the third quarter of 2020 was 67.4%. This means approximately two-thirds of adults in the U.S. own their home. Studies have shown that communities where owners occupy the majority of homes are more successful academically, are more physically fit and also have a stronger sense of community. While owning a home may not be possible or even desirable for everyone, ownership does matter. It actually makes sense that we all treat things we own with greater care.

Chances are you probably don't often think about your ownership role with your electric cooperative. Every member of Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. (YVEC) can take pride in the fact that you are an owner of your electric co-op. While at times it may seem easy to take the provision of electricity for granted, we are truly working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to make sure you, the member-owners of the co-op, are well taken care of when it comes to you and your family's electricity needs.

Locally-based cooperatives strongly believe in this special bond and obligation to be an integral part of the community. YVEC understands that you can't sell electricity to a business that has closed its doors, or to people that have left the community because there are not enough local opportunities. Electricity is a critical need, but it obviously takes much more than poles, wire, and kilowatt-hours to make a community. We, at YVEC, have worked extremely hard to keep our rates flat for over 10 years now, however, we've worked equally hard at being a positive impact and foundational part of the communities we serve.

Each year YVEC gives over $30,000 in scholarships to the youth of our members, helping those students seek the education they need in hopes they become vital members of our communities in the future. Additionally, YVEC has recently implemented the Operation Round Up program. In the first couple of years, the committee has allocated over $200,000 to local non-profit charities and organizations. Simply stated, we don't just power our members, we empower them to improve their lives.

We are owners of our co-op, and in a real sense, we are owners of our community. Our community is strong. Think about how much greater it can be when we work together cooperatively to tackle our future challenges. If we act like owners on a consistent basis, we will put even more care and attention into our community and will thus look locally for solutions. Finding local solutions can help keep the investment -and people- right here in our community.

We all have a role to play. As your local electric cooperative, we promise to do our part for the communities we serve. "Our Mission is Our Members" is more than just our theme in 2021 at YVEC, it's the standard by which we measure our performance.

Brandon J. Wittman
CEO / General Manager

linemen outside talking next to equipment