James P. “Pat” Howle, CEO, column from the July 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine.
Touchstone Energy Cooperatives® is the nationwide branding alliance created especially for and adopted by electric cooperatives in the late 90s. It is a unifying symbol of our common four core values; innovation, accountability, integrity and commitment to community.
When your co-op joined the ranks of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives® nationwide branding alliance on Jan. 1, 1998, we were one of 300 participating electric cooperatives in 32 states delivering energy and energy solutions to more than 16 million members every day.
Today, there are 751 electric cooperatives in 46 states participating in the network collectively delivering on the commitments of integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community to 32 million members.
Our history is our future
The Horry Electric name, with Willie Wiredhand right in the center, is one of the most easily recognized symbols of your electric co-op in our community. Willie was the unifying symbol of all the electric cooperatives in the U.S.A. for a number of years. He was the ‘spokesplug’ for the national network of electric cooperatives. He officially retired from the national network several years ago, but you still see him around some co-ops – including Horry Electric.
Horry Electric will be celebrating 75 years of service in January. Organized for and by people right here in Horry County, our co-op is deeply rooted in the community. Like all cooperative businesses, we operate according to the core principles and values first set out in 1844 by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in England.
Members are directly impacted by at least five of the seven principles. Voluntary and open membership, democratic member control and member’s economic participation truly set us apart from other types of businesses. In everything we do, maintaining the cooperative’s autonomy and independence, as well as having a concern for the community by working for sustainable development are among the priorities set by the management team of your Cooperative and by the members of your board of trustees.
Alliance makes us stronger
The alliance with sister cooperatives and the addition of the Touchstone Energy brand to our existing local, well established presence in 1998 is an excellent example of cooperation among cooperatives, which is another guiding principle. From our history, we know we are much more effective with accomplishing goals by working together with sister cooperatives on a regional and national basis. Improved efficiency and cost effectiveness are other benefits of working together.
Being a part of the Touchstone Energy Cooperative network is a big benefit to our co-op, our members and our communities. It enhances our local connections and has given us the ability to follow through on another very important guiding principle— education, training and information. The list of resources and tools available through Touchstone Energy is long. You can learn more by visiting us online at HorryElectric.com and TogetherWeSave.com.
Horry Electric Cooperative is here for the long haul. You can count on us to look out for you and be your advocate. It matters to us, because we work and live here, too. The majority of us are members ourselves. What impacts you, also impacts us.
Stay tuned as we gear up to celebrate 75 years in Horry County and 18 years as a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.