Members Show Giving Spirit

CEO Dave MarkhamThis month, most of us will pause from our busy lives to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. While the holiday reminds us to reflect and express gratitude, it also should serve as a reminder of less fortunate co-op members who, due to causes outside of their control, enter into the holiday season in various levels of need.

One thing I appreciate about electric cooperatives are their set of core principles and values. Of particular importance is the seventh principle, “Concern for Community.” Throughout the year, CEC looks for opportunities to abide by this principle. The holiday season only heightens that sense of responsibility.

Central Electric’s Project Helping Hand plays a vital role in carrying out this mission. The program provides bill payment assistance to members who demonstrate need. Donations are raised by fellow co-op members who agree to round up their electric bill to the nearest dollar. These donations, albeit small, substantially accumulate through the collective effort and, ultimately, make a significant impact in helping needy members pay their electric bills.

Consider these numbers. Since 2010, on average, 1,800 members’ donations enabled CEC to distribute nearly $179,000 in assistance to more than 800 members who needed help with their electric bills. The program keeps going strong. Last year, through the donations of 1,862 CEC members, Project Helping Hand distributed $15,540 in assistance.

But we could do more! If you would like to join those 1,800 members who already contribute, please sign up today. There are three ways to participate. You may elect to have your bill rounded up to the next dollar, add a fixed amount to your monthly bill or make a one-time additional donation. To sign up, go online at under the community tab and enroll, or call our customer service representatives at 541-548-2144. You may leave the program at any time. All gifts are tax-deductible. CEC will provide you with a summary statement of your donations on your January bill.

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season accompanied by shorter days, colder temperatures and higher electric bills. For some members, it will be a season of their greatest need. Working together, we can help make their lives a little brighter.