CEO Message – March 2018

Estimates vary, but there are approximately 175,000 words currently in use in the English language. That number all but guarantees that some words will have very similar meanings. Yet the existence of two words, regardless of similarities, suggests that there is a difference.

Consider two very common words: “simple” and “easy.” These words are often used interchangeably, but I’m going to suggest that “simple” means that the steps to complete a task can be clearly defined. In contrast, “easy” describes the amount of effort required to complete those simple steps.

For example, it is simple to lose weight. In fact, there are only two options. In the words of a former Board member, the late Dr. S. J. Smith, “You can starve it off or burn it off.” Every weight loss plan on the market is only a variation of eating less or exercising more, or some combination of the two.

Even though losing weight is simple, it’s anything but easy. The National Institutes of Health estimate that more than one in three Americans are overweight. An article in U. S. News reported that Americans spend more than $60 billion annually on everything from gym memberships to weight-loss programs to shed pounds.

What your electric cooperative does for you every day is also simple. Wells Rural Electric Company (WREC) delivers safe, reliable, affordable and abundant electricity. While your cooperative and its employees do a great many other things for the communities WREC serves, the only reason WREC exists, indeed the reason it was created, was to do that one simple thing: deliver electricity.

While delivering electricity is simple, it has never been easy. It took a grassroots movement of neighbors working together to create a new company focused on connecting its members to the grid. That movement also needed a federal loan program, the Rural Electrification Administration, because neither investors or commercial banks would lend money to a start-up, not-for-profit cooperative, run by amateurs in a small, isolated market.

Over the last sixty years, your electric cooperative has changed in many ways to meet your growing demand for electricity. It has maximized technology, controlled costs and increased convenience, but some things haven’t changed. Even though WREC has grown from 296 members in 1960 to 4,055 members today, we are a very small niche compared to other markets. The transmission power lines early members paid to build are the same ones connecting Carlin, Wendover, West Wendover, Wells and rural areas to the grid today. Most importantly, the rural electric cooperative you use every day is still the most effective, efficient and affordable way for you to purchase electricity and have it delivered because its run by a group of your friends and neighbors you elect to make choices for your cooperative.

During the next several months, there will be a growing debate about the Energy Choice Initiative (ECI). Through this magazine and other media channels, we will providing more information not only about what ECI is, but also what it isn’t. Please ask questions and engage in the discussion.

Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer