SCI REMC credits MCEDC for vision that’s driving positive changes in Morgan County
SCI REMC has enjoyed a great partnership with Morgan County Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Together, we’ve been able to identify the economic development needs of our community and focus on the key elements needed to bring Morgan County forward.
The EDC has been an organization that has provided our cooperative an opportunity to share information with our fellow community leaders, learn about needs and initiatives, and enhance our community involvement. Our fellow participants have been great supporters of our particular vision and helped us focus our efforts to place Morgan County front and center as residents and businesses seek places to land, live, and be fruitful. The EDC identified and communicated a plan for jump-starting economic growth in Morgan County, a county that had suffered a significant slow-down since the 2008 recession. The EDC identified the need to start with families, making Morgan County a place where people want to live first. Then by providing a quality workforce, we could attract the kinds of businesses that would make a positive impact on the trajectory of our county.
In 2017, Morgan County EDC was instrumental in helping SCI identify and address infrastructure needs, particularly in rural Morgan County. Through the EDC’s efforts, SCI REMC recognized the importance of improved infrastructure to economic development in the area. As a result, SCI REMC embarked on a five-year initiative to keep electric rates stable, improve electric reliability, and bring next-level services like fiber broadband to much of the rural area.
During the last four years, SCI REMC has used low-interest federal loans and leveraged support from Morgan County EDC and the other EDCs in its territory to acquire approximately $7 million in grant funding to help make these initiatives a reality. As SCI REMC nears the end of the five-year plan, we are seeing significant improvements in our electric reliability metrics, and we have achieved our goal to increase the availability of services such as best-in-class fiber-optic internet. Thankfully, we have succeeded in these areas while also keeping electric rates stable in a world where most other costs have increased significantly. This is just the start. A new set of initiatives are kicking off in 2024 with greater improvements with an emphasis on leveraging our fiber infrastructure to further improve reliability and access to the services that are essential to improve the lives of our members and our community.
As a result of these initiatives and the focused efforts of our local EDC, SCI REMC has started to see a marked increase in net electric meter installations for the first time since 2008. In 2022, SCI REMC recognized a 50% increase in net meter growth over 2021. That means more people are coming to our territory than leaving. The table below shows the net increase numbers since 2017. A growing number of families are choosing to call Morgan and surrounding counties home while a greater number of existing residents are choosing to stay rather than pursue their future elsewhere.
Despite an overall slowdown in the US economy, we expect this positive trend to continue as Morgan County has several new housing developments in progress. With the help of our EDC and the subsequent focused actions of our community leaders, we believe Morgan County’s best days are ahead.