Gemma Winchester’s mother, Olivia, stood with a board game in her hands. “Recently, while in town, I decided to buy this Electric Cooperative Association-themed Monopoly game! I had the impression the game would be enjoyable to play on rainy days such as today.”
Olivia positioned the game’s board and situated the Chance and Community Chest cards in the two
“Which piece would you want to play as?” she asked her family, holding out 10 different miniature, metal objects.
After much debate, Gemma’s brother, Kurt, decided he wanted to play as the television, while their sister, Iris, decided she wanted to play as the lightbulb. Gemma selected the laptop, and Olivia selected the lightning bolt. Gemma, Iris and Kurt’s father, Ben, settled upon the electricity pole’s transformer. Each person placed his or her preferred game piece onto the square that read “Go.”
“I’ll go first,” Olivia insisted as she picked up the dice.
The children’s mother rolled the dice and moved her lightning bolt three spaces to the Plateau Electric Co-op square and decided to purchase the cooperative.
“Cooperatives have developed and incorporated technological innovations that allow people to oversee and serve their own rural service areas more effectively and efficiently,” informed Olivia.
Gemma decided she wanted to roll the dice second, and she advanced two spaces to the “Take a Chance!” square. The teenager picked up her “chance” card and read aloud:
“The Cooperative Connections Card Program saved Tennesseans more than $2.9 million on prescription drugs. Collect 200 watts in gratitude from each member.”
Gemma collected 200 electricity watts, while Kurt rolled the dice and maneuvered his television to the Duck River Electric Membership Co-op square. After rolling the dice, Iris landed on the Community Chest block and picked up a card.
Iris read her card aloud: “Collect 1,000 watts because the cooperatives provided power to 1.1 million homes, farms and businesses across rural and suburban Tennessee areas.”
The children’s father threw the dice, moved his transformer six times and landed on the Volunteer Energy Co-op. Ben contemplated whether he wanted to purchase the co-op; in the end, he decided to invest in the cooperative.
“Electric cooperatives improve communities by recruiting jobs and investment, giving to philanthropic causes and educating future leaders.” Ben enlightened his wife and three children with the fact.
Olivia shuffled her piece to a Chance square and chose a card that read, “The cooperatives provided $94 million in payroll and benefits for Tennessee families. Collect 500 watts.”
Gemma was the next person to take a turn; when she rolled, she ended on the Caney Fork Electric Co-op. Noticing her parents speak so highly of cooperatives, she decided to buy the co-op.
“In the 1930s, there wasn’t any power in rural Tennessee, but homeowners and farmers joined to create co‑ops that brought power to their homes,” Ben educated his children. “The principal goal the co-ops had hasn’t changed, despite the changes from the 1930s to now.”
“What was the primary objective?” inquired the youngest in the family, Iris.
“The cooperative’s main goal is to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to the people they serve.” Her mother answered.
Kurt took the dice in his hands and watched as the two cubes tumbled on the board; the 13-year-old landed on the square that read Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative. Kurt decided to follow his parents and his older sister’s decisions and buy the co-op.
“Another interesting fact about cooperatives: The co‑ops exist solely to serve the communities and not shareholders,” Olivia informed. “The cooperatives distribute and sell energy at cost and invest in any excess revenue back into the electric system.”
The 12-year-old girl’s turn landed her at another Community Chest card, which she read aloud: “Collect 500 watts because electric co-ops secured more than $4 million in economic development loans in 2013.”
Ben’s roll entitled him to a Community Chest card that revealed he could collect 1,000 watts because Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives provide energy for 2.5 million Tennesseans across 71 percent of Tennessee’s landmass.
Back to Olivia’s turn, she made her way to the square reading Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Co-op. Gemma picked up the dice, rolling the number eight and landing on Tri-County Electric Membership Co-op; the girl then bought the cooperative.
“Our electric cooperatives are owned by the people they serve,” Olivia stated, “which means the cooperatives are not owned by the government.”
During Kurt’s turn, the boy rolled a two and a three, which allowed him to move five spaces to a “Take a Chance!” block. The boy drew his chance card from the deck, the card read, “Collect 500 watts because $63 million was paid in taxes for roads, schools and parks.”
Iris threw the two spotted cubes on the board and proceeded to move her lightbulb seven places to the box reading, “Community Chest.” She drew out her card and proceeded to read aloud: “Electric cooperatives serve one in three Tennessee homes. Collect 200 watts.”
The children’s father rolled the dice, which permitted him to draw a card that read, “Tennessee cooperatives kept the lights on 99.96 percent of the time despite the horrendous weather. Collect 1,000 watts.”
“So that’s why our electricity hasn’t switched off during this terrible storm!” exclaimed Iris.