Co-op members rate Beartooth Electric

Members of Beartooth Electric Cooperative are more satisfied with their rural utility than they were four years ago, as shown by responses to a member survey completed in October. Write-in comments indicate that rate hikes in 2006 to 2011 and the costly bankruptcy of the co-op’s former wholesale supplier, Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative, hold lingering pain for some members.

In customer satisfaction ratings the co-op improved over survey results in 2012 and 2015. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being “very satisfied”), 76 percent of respondents ranked Beartooth 7 or higher, compared to 68 percent in 2015 and 52 percent in 2012. Less than one percent of members are “very dissatisfied.” 

Efforts to repair members’ trust after poor financial decisions in the past may be working. In this survey, 57 percent of respondents said they were ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ in the board’s evaluation of the co-op’s future. An additional 27 percent of members were “somewhat confident,” six percent were undecided and nine percent were “not confident.” 

“Through changes in bylaws and an environment of complete transparency, we’ve tried to show members they are in charge now,” said Dave Peterson, president of the Beartooth Electric Co-op Board of Trustees. “We’re providing information to members every way we can—but more communication the other direction is needed. We have to know what members think.”

The survey results showed that, of those members who gave an opinion about the future of the co-op, more currently favor remaining a stand-alone than those who favor a merger with another co-op. The greatest segment of responders was undecided, however. The totals were 43 percent undecided, 35 percent to remain stand-alone, and 22 percent for merger. 

The survey was mailed to the co-op’s 4,459 members with their annual election packets and provided online. About twelve percent of members responded—548. Seventy-one percent of those who answered the survey have been Beartooth members longer than 11 years; 78 percent were age 55 or older.

“Thanks to our members who responded; they have provided great input to help guide the board and the direction of the co-op,” said Peterson. “We would like to see more members respond in the future.” 

The survey results are available at beartoothelectric.com. The next meeting of the Beartooth Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees is today, Nov. 17, at noon at the office in Red Lodge. Members are welcome to attend. Beartooth members are also encouraged to email, call or write their board representative.

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Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961

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