Trying to keep more than 12,000 members happy may seem a daunting task to some, but Parke County REMC does it each and every day.
The electric cooperative provides power to members in portions of six Indiana counties including Putnam. Other counties serviced by the co-op are Clay, Parke, Vigo, Fountain and Montgomery.
In 1937, a group of area residents rallied around some farmers and business owners who got together and brought power to areas that were not being served by investor owned utilities.
"A board of Directors was formed and they came up with a plan to start installing power lines and bringing electricity to members in the rural area," says Carolyn Kilby.
The main office is located at 119 West High Street in Rockville and offers members an eager staff willing to go the extra mile for them.
"People are always here during business office hours to assist members with whatever they might need," says Carolyn.
That attests to their motto: Our members are the most important part of our electric cooperative.
A Touchstone Energy Cooperative, Parke County REMC works toward innovation, integrity, accountability and commitment to community. The cooperative is owned by members who hold an annual meeting to elect directors for the eight districts whose job it is to represent each area.
"Members have a voice in their electric co-op," says Carolyn. "Its member owned, not for profit, which is very member friendly with products and services that help enhance the lives of our members. The challenging part is managing the money and being good stewards of our finances and doing things as efficiently as possible to keep rates stable."
It's hard to make sure everyone knows ways to be more energy efficient.
"Think of your meter like a cash register. Electric usage is increasing. We need to be more environmentally friendly. One way to help the environment is to start using the compact fluorescent bulbs, (the new spiral shaped ones). Change your bulbs as they burn out," says Carolyn.
People may not think of the items in their house that use power all the time, like cell phone chargers, clock on microwaves and even newer TV's.
"The new TV's are energy hogs because they are on 24 hours a day unless you unplug them. People don't realize small steps you can take to reduce electrical needs," says Carolyn. "We have an on staff electrician who is available 24 hours a day. We also have a standby call crew if there is an outage, we go out and take care of that rain or shine.
"We have a staking engineer who maps out where overhead and underground lines need to go. These are just small ways Parke County REMC takes care of members. Our goal is to be environmentally friendly. We strategically plan out ways to be more energy efficient."
She adds, "Twenty years ago, meter readers would have to come out to your home to read your meter each month, now we have automated meters that download the reading through the computer."
You can also pay your bill 24 hours a day through the Parke County REMC website or by phone.
It's General Manager Bob McCullough's job to oversee the everyday operations. He sees that the 37 employees as well as the twelve from Parke Professional Services, do their jobs in a safe and efficient manner and take care of our members.
"We care about our members and strive to meet their needs," says Carolyn.
Parke County REMC is located at 119 West High Street in Rockville. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Contact them by calling (765) 569-3133 or toll-free at 1-800-537-3913.
Check out their website at http: //www.pcremc.com Be sure to tell them you heard the Buzz.
Beth Arnold is a freelance contributor to the Banner-Graphic. Contact her at buzz email@example.com.