New Orleans, LA., February 18, 2013 — The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association today honored Montana’s Southeast Electric Cooperative (SEC) in Carter County, Mont., with the Association’s Community Service Award for Youth Programs.
In response to a national student competition organized by the Department of Energy and the National Science Teachers Association, SEC worked closely with five Carter County schools on a program to reduce energy usage by educating and challenging students.
The Carter County team was declared the $15,000 national winner for successfully reducing home energy use by 3.4 percent. Equally impressive: 100 percent of eligible students participated in the energy reduction program.
“Southeast Electric Cooperative has shown what it means to be a cooperative by engaging with the community – from age 5 on up — and finding new ways to improve the quality of life for their consumer members,” said NRECA CEO Glenn English.
The fifth cooperative principle calls on cooperatives to “educate young people on the nature and benefits of cooperation.” The success of this partnership between the cooperative and the schools underscored the benefits.
“America’s Home Energy Education Challenge is helping to unleash the ingenuity, creativity, and drive from these inspiring students to demonstrate simple ways that families and businesses can reduce energy use and save money through energy efficiency,” said Secretary Chu.
Energy-saving actions included turning off lights (including Christmas lights), putting timers on vehicle and tractor engine block heaters, lowering the temperature of washing machines. According to SEC member services representative Marlene Waterland, one student read “101 Ways to Save Energy” (a Touchstone Energy publication) to her family in its entirety. One household reduced its energy consumption by forty percent, winning $100.
The national student competition is designed to encourage students and their families to start saving money by saving energy. The judges, who are science teachers, evaluated entries based upon the inclusion of multiple schools, student participation, energy savings and a final report. At least 94 schools and 120,000 students participated nationwide.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.
Nearly 6,000 representatives from cooperative electric utilities across the nation are attending the NRECA Annual Meeting February 18 -21, during which they will set NRECA’s legislative and organizational agenda for 2013. In addition to considering and acting upon policy resolutions, delegates receive reports from NRECA officials, hear addresses by key public figures and business experts, and attend educational forums on major issues affecting electric cooperatives and their consumer owners.