CEO Karen Moore
Whether you’re buying building supplies, gasoline or even groceries, you’ve probably noticed an upward trend in costs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, inflation rose faster this year than it has in over a decade.
This continued increase in costs is unfortunately happening at the same time many industries are facing unprecedented challenges in hiring workers, leading many businesses to close their doors due to staff shortages.
I wish I could say that Baldwin EMC is completely shielded from these challenges, but not even a company that’s been around as long as we have is immune. We’re experiencing upward momentum in the cost of everything from supplies to postage, and lead times for the materials we depend on are longer than they have been in quite a while.
Through all of it, though, I’m pleased to say Baldwin EMC has kept rates to our members stable, and our workforce is just as dependable as it’s ever been. This is critically important in 2021, as data from the Energy Information Agency (EIA), suggests the typical U.S. household now uses more electrical energy than ever before. At home, in schools and business, and in commercial sectors such as transportation, the need for electricity is rapidly increasing.
Typically, when demand goes up, so too does the price, as is the case with most goods or services, like cable or even your favorite specialty coffee. However, that’s not true with electricity. Over the last five years, the cost of rent increased 3.4%; medical care increased 2.8%; and education increased 2.2%. But the cost of electricity only increased 1%.
For cooperatives like Baldwin EMC, much of our rate stability can be attributed to our membership in PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, which closely analyzes fuel market trends in order to make purchases at financially prudent times. We also utilize a diverse power generation mix that balances the benefits and risks associated with each source, including reliability, economics and environmental factors.
And as far as our workforce is concerned, we’ve spent the last several decades positioning ourselves as one of the most desired employers in our region, not only by offering competitive wages and benefit packages, but also by maintaining a well-engaged and loyal workforce. It’s not uncommon for our employees to stay with us for 30 to 40 years, and even longer in some cases.
So, while we’re not invulnerable to the economic challenges our country is currently facing, a history spanning eight decades gives us the wisdom and experience to make decisions that will hopefully guarantee our presence for eight more decades.
Or better yet, even more.