Giving Back to Our Community – Manager’s Message – December 2020

Monthly Manager's Message Header - Powerlines against a sunset

Dear Members,

Over the years, you have probably heard or read about Benton REA’s concern for our community. This is one of the core principles that sets cooperatives apart from other types of utilities. We take this mission and responsibility to heart. It’s who we are as a co-op.

Throughout the past year, like so many of you, Benton REA rose to meet new challenges and strengthen the safety net for our community. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we made adjustments to programs and operations to maintain business continuity while staying focused on the bigger mission of helping our members during this turbulent time.

With the holidays here, these recent events have made me think about the role Benton REA plays in our community. While our purpose is to provide safe and reliable electricity, we have a greater mission: to be a catalyst for good.

You are probably aware of our new Benton REA electric bill assistance program called Power to Care, where we take donations from generous members who round up the amount due on their electric bill to help neighbors pay their electric bills. We also have a scholarship program where we give $48,000 each year to our community’s brightest young people.

So far this year, Benton REA has donated more than $14,600 to local nonprofits supporting schools, youth programs, civic and chamber activities, community health and events. In 2019, we donated $22,099. There is still time to send us a request for your organization to receive a donation from Benton REA.

We also have a strong commitment to safety—not just for employees, but for our community as well. When we can, we visit schools to teach children how to be safe around electricity. Local businesses have invited us to share our safety message with their employees.

Benton REA invests in economic development through an active role in our local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. Our ownership credit loans and USDA grants help some of our industrial members improve efficiencies.

You see our employees serving on local boards, coaching youth sports and volunteering at charitable events. When you work at a co-op, you understand how important a strong community is—after all, without community, the co-op wouldn’t exist.

We know Benton REA’s core job is to keep the lights on, but our passion is our community. We live and work here too, and we want to make it a better place for all.

If there is anything we can do to help—whether providing energy-saving advice to help lower your monthly bill or discussing payment plan options during these difficult times—please reach out to us at 509-786-2913. Thank you for supporting Benton REA, your local electric cooperative.


Michael J. Bradshaw signature

Michael J. Bradshaw

General Manager

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