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Cooperative Roots- The Cooperative Principles

The United Nations defines a cooperative as, “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise”.  Using this definition it is clear that cooperation has been in use for centuries, long before the Rochdale Pioneers formulated the Seven Cooperative Principles in mid-1800s England. The Pioneers who formulated the Seven Cooperative Principles took cooperation to a new level, giving guidance to cooperative businesses and improving their successes.   The Principles, still recognized by modern coops, are: Voluntary and open membership Democratic member control Member economic participation Autonomy and independence Education, training and information Cooperation among cooperatives Concern for Community The cooperative blueprint and its principles could be adapted to any number of businesses, services or consumer groups.  In the 1920s and 30s…

Cooperative Roots – The Antigonish Movement

Antigonish is a small town in northeastern Nova Scotia, where in the early 1900s the working people were in a vicious cycle of poverty. They worked hard fishing, farming or mining but realized little profit from their efforts. Dr. Moses Coady, Rev. Jimmy Tompkins and other clergy working with the St. Francis Xavier University’s Department of Extension embarked on a daunting task to, “help the people to build greater and better democratic institutions than we have ever had before” (Masters of their Own Destiny, Moses Coady, 1939) To accomplish this lofty goal, they taught an age-old form of doing business – cooperation. The leaders of the Antigonish Movement, as it came to be called, believed that education was the first step in the transformation they envisioned. They started hundreds of study groups in the Maritime Provinces, teaching philosophy, economics, basic principles of democracy and business. Leaders emerged from these groups with business management and marketing skills…

Annual General Meeting, June 21

It’s time for Battle River Power Coop members to mark their calendars for the Annual General Meeting (AGM), to be held on June 21 at the Norsemen Inn, Camrose. This is the perfect opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow members. It’s an event where you can meet and have discussions with your Directors, who are all fellow Coop members. Additionally, you can meet many of the dedicated employees that work to keep your Coop effective and efficient. Registration begins at 3:30 pm. The banquet is at 5:00 pm and the meeting follows at 6:00 pm. Tickets for the banquet may be purchased at the office, reserved for payment at registration by calling the office (1.877.428.3972) or by contacting one of the Directors (visit http://www.brpower.coop/about/board-of-directors for Director contact information). The cost is minimal- only $5.00 per ticket.  The agenda for the business meeting will include the audited 2017 Financial Report, election for the Board of Directors, reports by the Chair of…

Look Down! Avoid Contact with Underground Utilities

Beneath our feet is a vast system of gas lines, fiber optic cables, phone lines, water lines and electrical cables. Every year, there are hundreds of contacts with underground facilities, posing a serious safety risk, not to mention disruption to services and expensive repairs. Alberta Municipal Affairs recently released its 2016 Electrical Incidents Report in which it notes 287 contacts with underground electrical systems alone. Figures from 2008 to 2016 show a steady increase in incidents, sobering statistics to consider before breaking ground on a spring project.   2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Underground Powerline Contacts   71   96   113   64   213   264   248   276   287 Before starting any project that will involve ground disturbance, contact Alberta One-Call, allowing at least two working days before your project start date. Battle River Power Coop members must also call the office for locates of electrical lines past the meter. These are private lines,…

Look Up! Avoid Powerline Contact

The powerlines crisscrossing rural Alberta are part of the landscape. We have become so accustomed to seeing them that they often go unnoticed. Look up and stay safe when working, playing or operating machinery near power structures. Observe a 7 meter safe zone if you must work near a powerline. Take the time to lower truck boxes or augers when you move under a line, even if you think there is sufficient clearance. Electricity has the capability to arc from a line to machinery without direct contact. Plan your route when moving farm implements, grain bins or other large equipment, and call your power provider to verify the height of lines if there is doubt about safe clearance. Teach children to stay away from electrical structures when playing, flying kites or climbing trees. Never attempt to trim trees near powerlines- call your power provider for professional assistance. The most recent Electrical Incidents Statistics Report, released by Alberta Municipal Affairs, reports 584 incidents…

ACCA Co-operative Youth Leadership Program Sponsorship

The Alberta Community and Cooperative Association (ACCA) offers a Youth Leadership Program that provides an opportunity for youth to develop their leadership and teamwork skills. It is designed to give youth independence and confidence in their abilities while creating lasting friendships. These seven day programs take place at Goldeye Centre, located near Nordegg, Alberta in the summer every year. This beautiful, remote setting provides the perfect environment to build friendships, discover hidden talents, learn new skills, gain a positive view of the world, and contribute to their own future. See more, including the camp dates for different age groups at http://acca.coop/youth/ . Battle River Power Coop recognizes the importance of introducing youth to the uniqueness and values of the cooperative model. Annually, we offer sponsorship for two youth dependents of members to attend the program. Former recipients of ACCA sponsorship have reported back to Battle River Power Coop about the…

What Happens When You Call to Report a Power Outage?

Battle River Power Coop prides itself on the fact that a real person will answer the phone when you call the Coop’s toll-free number, 1.877.428.3972. When you phone to report an outage, please be ready with your land location, account number, and approximate time that the power went out. This information will be relayed through the Operations Department to a Powerline Technician (PLT) who will be dispatched to the site. Battle River Power Coop servicemen are located throughout our service area, responding as quickly and efficiently as possible to members’ calls. Service continues after office hours with PLTs on-call 24/7/365. Once onsite, the Powerline Technician reports back with an assessment of the situation and then makes appropriate repairs or requests more personnel and equipment as needed. When severe weather causes multiple outages, Battle River Power Coop diverts all available resources to restoration. Both office and field personnel put regular tasks aside and focus on power…

Women in Cooperatives

International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018, is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women all over the world, and a time to reflect on inequalities that still exist, especially in developing countries. This year’s theme, #PressforProgress, asks women and men to think, act and be gender inclusive. One vehicle for gender parity, recognized by the United Nations, is the cooperative business model. In the developing world, cooperatives offer a means for women to gain economic independence. The cooperative principles, developed in the mid-nineteenth century, included equal membership, equal voting rights, and equal economic participation long before women gained the right to vote in government elections. These same principles are at work today, empowering women to improve their economic and social standing. With the help of agencies like the Cooperative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF), groups of small farmers or crafters gain education about cooperation and business, secure start-up…

How to Choose an LED Light

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have increased in popularity in recent years as the price has gone down and quality and selection have gone up. This change in lighting choice requires consumers to learn about lumens and kelvins, because wattages do not convert in a meaningful way from incandescent bulbs to LEDs. Wattage is really a measure of power usage, and LEDs use far less power than incandescent, halogen, or even fluorescent (CFL) lights. To assist consumers in determining the brightness required for specific lighting, bulb companies now use lumens to rate how much light to expect from an LED. The following basic conversion chart will help determine an LED bulb that is comparable to the incandescent you’ve been using. Lumens (lm) Incandescent LED  2600 lm 150 W 25-28 W 1600 lm 100 W 16-20 W 1100 lm 75 W 9-13 W 800 lm 60 W 8-12 W 450 lm 40 W 6-9 W   Kelvins also play a role in illumination and are used to describe the color temperature of a light source. Lower numbers mean warmer…

Who Can Become a Director of Battle River Power Coop?

Directors of Battle River Power Coop are elected by the members from among fellow members. To be eligible for election as a Director, a member must be at least 18 years of age and in good standing. There are fifteen directors’ positions which expire in a three year rotation, ensuring continuity in governance. The 2018 election will occur during the Annual General Meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 21 at the Norsemen Inn, Camrose. Desirable qualifications are: Knowledge about cooperatives and an appreciation of the uniqueness of the cooperative business model Related experience- service on other boards and/or in community organizations Business experience Good communication skills Sound understanding of financial statements Ability to commit the necessary time to the position Election to the Board of Directors presents an opportunity to work with other dedicated Directors and to contribute to the future success of the organization. Monthly meetings take place at the Battle River Power…

New Grants for Energy Efficiency in Agriculture

On January 29, 2018, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier announced new funding for energy efficiency programs in the Alberta Agriculture sector, saying, “This investment in energy efficiency will help agricultural producers save energy and money, supporting their future growth and sustainability. With new opportunities for solar power, low-pressure irrigation and energy savings, these grants will make life more affordable for Alberta’s farmers and agri-processors while also supporting our transition to a low-carbon economy.” The new funds are a continuation of joint Federal and Provincial initiatives that were used to capacity last year. Over the next four years, more than $81Million is being made available to support eligible projects that didn’t receive funding last year and will also allow new applicants to apply. Grant applications are being finalized and will soon be available on the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry website www.agriculture.alberta.ca for the…