Our Cooperative is only as strong as the communities it serves.
Eastern Oregon communities are struggling. The slow decline of the lumber/timber industry and the closure of so many supporting businesses have forced many of our friends and neighbors to leave this beautiful county in search of good paying jobs elsewhere. We know that we need to stop this trend – we need to find a way to bring good living wage jobs back to our communities.
Our Cooperative is only as strong as the communities it serves. OTEC employees work hard every day to ensure that all members have safe, reliable and affordable power whenever you need it. But, OTEC does more than that. Over the past two years, OTEC has facilitated Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) loans to Malheur Lumber and Blue Mountain Hospital totaling nearly one million dollars. These loans allowed Malheur Lumber to add an additional product line and provided the funds for Blue Mountain Hospital to purchase a much needed new x-ray machine.
OTEC partners with City, County and Regional leaders in each of our service areas to provide needed guidance of line extensions, new load growth, and electric rates. We work hand in hand with city and county officials to provide the most cost effective options to meet the economic development need. The OTEC Board has adopted three policies that address economic development specifically.
In the end, however, the only funds OTEC has to contribute are those paid by you, the rate payers. Few among us can afford higher electricity rates to fund economic development. Reversing the trend of economic decline will take time and an investment from all of us. Your Electric Cooperative will continue to try to find ways to support and foster growth in the most fair and equitable means for all cooperative members.