Kankakee Valley REMC is a household name for many, but a question for many more. Kankakee Valley REMC is an electricity provider that is a member-owned cooperative. Founded on the principle of meeting the needs of the communities they serve, Kankakee Valley REMC puts that into action each day.
Amanda Steeb, Director of Marketing and Communications at Kankakee Valley REMC, is very familiar with the unique aspects of a cooperative.
“Cooperatives are community-based,” said Steeb. “They see the importance in giving back to the community and do so through corporate giving and encouraging employees their time and talents.”
For any utility company, especially Kankakee Valley REMC, safety around electricity is of the utmost importance. This applies to not only their employees, but the member-consumers, too.
“We use every opportunity to educate the public about the importance of being safe around electricity,” said Steeb. “Electricity is a necessity, but it can be harmful if it is not respected.”
A unique program to Kankakee Valley REMC is the Operation Round Up Trust program. This program focuses on giving back to non-profits in the community through grants. Started in 2000, the program is funded by Kankakee Valley REMC member-consumers who voluntarily round-up their electric bill each month to the next dollar. The funds are then placed into a trust and distributed out each quarter to non-profits who apply for a grant.
“Since 2000, our members have round-up their electric bill and put over one million dollars of support back into the community,” said Steeb. “We believe that when you support efforts that help the community, it benefits everyone!”
The benefit of being part of a cooperative is that through the democratic process the membership has a voice in the leadership of the cooperative. Each year, member-consumers can use their voice when they vote in the director elections at the annual membership meeting.
“We are not run by individuals who live in faraway places, we are run by individuals who live in our communities,” said Steeb. “For many of us, we know these individuals as our neighbors, see them in the local coffee shop or at a little league game. The board of directors at the cooperative have a vested interest in the rural community, because it is their home too.”
When you purchase a home, you have an electric provider and a gas provider already assigned to your area. So, if you receive electric service from Kankakee Valley REMC, then you become a member-consumer of the cooperative. To find out more about the cooperative difference and Kankakee Valley REMC, visit here to learn more.