You own a power company

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duane highleyBoardwalk. Park Place. Marvin Gardens. Did you ever play the board game Monopoly?
The Christmas day Monopoly grudge match was a tradition for my brothers and me. As the oldest of three siblings, it was my objective to win through total domination. As younger brothers, it was their job to topple me from my throne. Because the stakes were so high, we took the game very seriously. Very.

When I say that we took our annual Monopoly game seriously, I mean that we plotted and planned our strategies for domination in advance. We studied the statistics and knew the spaces most likely to be occupied. We didn’t just play the game, we lived it. A typical match, with all its negotiations and side deals, lasted several hours and often ended with someone swearing never to play again (although we always seemed to forget that pledge when the next year came around). With experience like that growing up, is it any wonder that I ended up working in the utility industry?

There are many strategies that can be employed to win at Monopoly. Try to quickly acquire all the low-cost properties. Alternatively, go in quick for the utilities and railroads. In the game, it is good to own the electric company if you can acquire it early. Here’s some good news for all of you: You already own a power company, and you didn’t have to outsmart my brothers to get it!

As a member of your electric cooperative, you are not just a member, you’re an owner. In addition to being an owner of your local electric distribution co-op, you also own a share of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC), a wholesale power supplier, which is part of a power supply system consisting of 14 gas, coal and hydroelectric power plants, plus wind farms in Kansas and Oklahoma, and solar energy parks now under development. In addition, you own a share of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a service organization providing testing, construction, training and electrical equipment in Arkansas and neighboring states. As a co-op member, you have a voice in electing your representatives to the board of directors of each organization. The 34-member boards of AECC and AECI represent every region of Arkansas with individuals from every vocation: small business owners, educators, farmers, ranchers, veterinarians, health-care professionals, retired individuals, restaurateurs, electric industry professionals and many others.

As part of our celebration of National Cooperative Month, we want to remind everyone that we work for you, the cooperative member, and everything we do is designed to make your electric power more reliable, more affordable, and more responsible to our environment and the communities we are so proud to serve. We aren’t in this for a profit; we are in it to make Arkansas the best possible place to live, work and grow. It’s a mission that we are proud to embrace because we get to help you — our friends and neighbors.

In the game of Monopoly, there are winners and losers, but in the electric cooperative, we work together to make things better for everyone. When the quality of life is improved in Arkansas we all benefit. It’s the best way we know to help our economy recover, create jobs and foster prosperity.

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