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The power behind the people at Brunswick Electric Membership Cooperative

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Get to know your local electric co-op

By Staff Brunswick Beacon

How much do you really know about your home or business electricity? Do you ever wonder where it comes from, who’s behind it, and how they’re working to better the environment?

In an introductory six-part series, I’ll answer these questions.

At Brunswick Electric Membership Cooperative, we’re here for you. It is our job to ensure your lights stay on. We’re a team of professionals dedicated to our members in Brunswick, Columbus, as well as parts of Bladen and Robeson counties.

From myself, the board of directors and the employees, our promise is to serve. We serve by providing safe, reliable, affordable power 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s our number one priority.

You may ask, what really is an electric cooperative? Unlike other electric providers, a co- op is owned by its members—you. In fact, 80 percent of our nation’s counties receive electricity from a co-op.

Co-ops were formed when public utilities were busy bringing electric service to customers throughout the country, but were less interested in rural areas. These rural areas were less populated and thus promised fewer customers per mile of electric line.

Passed by Congress in the 1930’s, the Rural Electrification Act linked co-ops with their communities in a way other utilities simply cannot claim.

As a member of a cooperative, it is important to understand how your energy is produced and distributed. Through electricity generation, electricity transmission and electricity distribution, you’re able to turn on the lights. Electricity generation is the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy.

Generation facilities are the first place this conversion occurs. Once this happens, it is transported through high-voltage transmission lines over long distances. Distribution then carries electricity from transmission substations to you.

Simply defined, but not as simply carried out, the creation of electricity is important in every person’s life. In an uncertain world, everyone wants to be certain the lights will still come on at night.

In recent months, we’ve all witnessed economic struggles. These struggles affect each and every member of our cooperative. That’s why we’re working every day to provide the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways of providing safe, affordable and reliable electricity.

We encourage you to maximize the energy performance of your home by becoming more energy efficient. We can help you.

We share your concerns about the environment. We want to protect our environment, but want to do it in the most efficient manner. So, we’re working to increase the percentage of renewable energy in our portfolio, while maintaining a healthy mix of traditional energy sources to keep your power affordable, still meeting legislative mandates.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll discuss just that. Renewable energy is being produced through various resources like N.C. Greenpower, Greenco Solutions and more.

We encourage our members and those in the community to read about these endeavors.

At BEMC, we feel it is important we always work together. Tough economic times bring out the best in the best people. As a member of the community we serve, we promise to be here for you—not just when times are good, but more importantly, when our community is challenged.

We’ve weathered worse, and we’ll weather this too.

Together with each member of our co-op we can and will make sure the lights in our community always shine bright. Together, we can.