MECA MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS
A Unified Voice for Advocacy Issues
MECA works with member co-ops and other allies to achieve legislative and regulatory outcomes that positively impact our co-ops, communities and quality of life.
Policy and Legislative Analysis
MECA uses a network of technical experts to monitor legislation in the Michigan House and Senate. We provide prompt alerts to MECA member co-ops on items of potential interest or concern, and deliver in-depth analysis and response for key issues impacting our members.
MECA coordinates and participates in dozens of grassroots outreach efforts with member co-ops throughout the year. Together, we support local candidate fundraisers, host elected officials at co-op events, and participate in legislative visits in Lansing and Washington, D.C. These efforts are effective because of the close working relationship MECA and its member co-ops have built with elected officials through coordinated lobbying efforts.
Political Action Committees
Political Action Committees (PACs) are an important part of member co-op legislative outreach efforts. MECA coordinates federal- and state-level PAC support for political candidates who will speak for, and protect the interests of electric co-ops, regardless of political party affiliation. In the last general election, 91% (federal) and 100% (state) of our PAC supported candidates were elected or reelected into office.
MECA and its member co-ops benefit from robust legal counsel provided by the Dykema Energy Industry Group. Dykema has been an energy industry thought leader for decades, and their dynamic team of experienced attorneys are available to advise MECA member co-ops on a full array of regulatory, corporate, and transactional matters.
MECA works with member co-ops to ensure complete regulatory compliance for pubic legal notices, industry reporting, and state filings. Our methodology combines a deep understanding of required regulations, agency interpretation, and industry best practices.
MECA coordinates co-op engagement in multiple ongoing workgroups with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and various state agencies in Lansing. These workgroups investigate specific issues or develop regulatory activities that can affect member-regulated co-ops. Our coordinated efforts minimize co-op staff time while keeping all member co-ops informed.
A Powerful Partnership for Co-op Legislation
MECA and its member co-ops are powerful and effective public policy advocates on State and Federal issues. Together, MECA and its member co-ops were an important part of the following recent co-op successes:
Michigan House Bill 4266 makes it possible for electric co-ops to provide fiberoptic internet service within existing electric easements without fear of lawsuit.
Pole Attachment Legislation
Michigan House Bill 5266 creates consistent standards for co-op pole attachments, which is intended to encourage development of broadband access to rural areas, promoting connectivity and creating jobs.
The bipartisan RURAL Act legislation ensures that electric co-ops do not become federally taxable as a result of accepting grant funds from FEMA or from the FCC or RUS for rural broadband purposes.
The SECURE Act pension legislation lowers electric co-op premiums paid to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) by more than $30 million per year year nationally, and nearly $1 million annually for Michigan electric co-ops.
Repeal of the 40% “Cadillac Tax” eliminates future taxes paid by employers and/or employees on electric co-op health care plans, helping protect health care benefits for all co-op employees.
Parking Lot Tax
Repeal of the “parking lot tax” (first introduced in the 2016 tax package passed by Congress) provides an approximately $100,000 tax relief for Michigan electric co-ops.
Safety Training and Support
Safety is one of the most important concerns of the electric utility industry. MECA empowers the safety cultures of participating electric co-ops and utility partners through a comprehensive Safety & Loss Control program.
Traditional on-site meetings are a foundational element of workplace safety practices. Participating co-ops receive up to 10 onsite safety meetings each year, delivered by our Certified Loss Control Professional (CLCP) instructors. Co-op employees learn how to avoid accidents, injury and illness, combat complacency, and take appropriate corrective actions.
MECA hosts several best-in-class, hands-on workplace and technical safety training workshops each year. Participating co-ops receive priority attendance for up to two employees per workshop.
Our back-to-back, intensive Block Training format is an efficient and effective way for participating co-ops to provide annual and bi-annual training requirements on First Aid, CPR, blood-borne pathogens, emergency response plans, and more. Block Training is provided by certified National Safety Council (NSC) instructors.
Unannounced, on-site crew observations provide participating co-op leadership with valuable information on employee safe work practices in the field. Positive, productive reporting includes recommendations to help supervisors correct any unsafe work habits.
In the event of an accident, MECA can provide participating co-ops with on-site assistance. Our experienced Certified Loss Control Professional (CLCP) staff can help conduct a comprehensive accident investigation, providing a more complete understanding of how the accident occurred, factors involved, and preventative measures to be taken.
Accident and Near-Miss Review
Learning from previous events can prevent future accidents. Because our team is actively involved in a statewide and national network of safety professionals, participating co-ops benefit from a comprehensive accident and near miss knowledge base for on-site meeting review and discussion.
The Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program (RESAP) promotes the highest safety standards among electric co-ops. MECA coordinates 4-person teams to conduct the required multi-day, on-site RESAP observation for participating co-ops. Using identified safety criteria, the team provides an honest assessment to improve safety performance and culture.
Commitment to Zero Contacts
Commitment to Zero Contacts is a national initiative designed to provide co-op leadership, supervisors and field personnel with resources to help eliminate serious injuries and fatalities due to electrical contact. MECA is a Commitment to Zero program advocate for its member co-ops.
MECA provides participating co-ops with access to multiple online safety resources. This content can be used for co-op meetings or self-paced individual employee training.
Mutual Aid in Crisis or Disaster
Restoring power after a major storm or other crisis is a complex task. A safe, swift restoration requires logistical expertise, skilled line workers and specialized equipment. MECA coordinates this critical process for the Michigan electric co-ops and many of their neighboring municipalities.
Mutual Aid Network
Participating co-ops benefit from a statewide mutual aid partnership that is unmatched in the industry, including 10 co-ops, nearly 20 municipalities, a growing number of investor-owned utilities, and access to a wider national network. These relationships enable faster outage restoration and greater cost savings for affected co-ops.
Communication is critical before, during and after a mutual aid event. Participating co-ops benefit from situational awareness pre-event communication; daily updates during an event to report on the situation and discuss needs for crews or equipment; and post-event review once power is restored and crews have returned home.
MECA works closely with the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC) during major mutual aid events. This statewide coordination has a positive impact in restoration efforts.
Communications and Marketing Support
MECA assists member co-ops with the development and implementation of strategic communications that advance co-op priorities and member-consumer engagement.
Michigan Country Lines Magazine
MECA collaborates with each member co-op to produce and mail up to 10 editions of the award-winning Michigan Country Lines magazine each year. Our network of professional writers and photographers produce exclusive co-op content designed to keep member consumers informed and engaged. Michigan Country Lines magazine has been a cost-effective co-op communication for over 30 years.
Social Media Support
MECA provides member co-ops with customized social media content designed to complement Michigan Country Lines magazine and other marketing and communications efforts. Member co-ops also have access to social media management tools for scheduling content, monitoring relevant conversations, and measuring digital campaign effectiveness.
MECA offers development and hosting for co-op websites, digital employee handbooks, marketing campaign landing pages and more. Our services include custom design, WordPress development, branding, consultation and website management.
Digital Advertising Services
MECA helps member co-ops meet their marketing and communications goals by promoting co-op programs and services on the most popular digital platforms. Our team is Google Ads certified to help you target messages to co-op members that are most likely to respond, based on geography, demographics, personal interests and recent online activity.
Member Engagement Resources
MECA helps member co-ops look beyond satisfaction surveys to discover which engagement efforts actually create member loyalty. We use Member Loyalty Index studies to provide our member co-ops with actionable insights that lead to increased member-consumer loyalty.
MECA is a one-stop-shop for co-op creative services. We’ve helped member co-ops develop logos, print advertising, website graphics, office displays, collateral material, wearables, billboards and more! Our in-house team uses communication strategy and graphic design to increase brand awareness and member engagement.
Professional Development Resources
MECA member co-ops have exclusive access to education and training resources and events for their directors, managers, employees and future leaders.
MECA Board Meetings
Every MECA member co-op is entitled to two voting representatives on the Board of Directors. MECA board meetings are where this group makes important policy decisions that affect all Michigan co-ops, share information among their peers, and receive co-op issue updates and special presentations.
Co-op CEOs make better decisions with advice and information from their peers. MECA hosts regular, highly-attended conference calls for member co-op CEOs to share candid dialogue about important issues between MECA board meetings.
MECA member co-ops have access to in-state training specifically designed to help their directors better understand their roles and responsibilities, stay up-to-date on industry issues and trends, and prepare for future challenges. Directors can earn and maintain NRECA director certifications at a significantly reduced cost.
MECA works with its member co-ops to identify and deliver in-demand employee training. Last year, MECA delivered professional development opportunities to over 100 member co-op employees. In-state training is a cost-effective, flexible and and efficient way to provide co-op employees with the knowledge and skills they need to support their co-op mission.
Washington, D.C. Youth Tour
Youth Tour is a unique community outreach opportunity that builds engagement and loyalty with co-op members. Students selected by their co-op travel to Washington, D.C. to learn about co-ops, leadership, and democracy. Youth Tour creates life-long advocates for the co-op program.
MECA member co-op directors and staff are invited to attend the annual Michigan Electric Cooperative Symposium. This event provides industry updates from state and national experts, hands-on workshops, and unique networking opportunities.
MECA hosts monthly conference calls and two in-person conferences each year for member co-op communications professionals. Participants learn from outside experts and share their collective ideas, tools and strategies during roundtable discussions.
Member Services Conference
MECA hosts an annual conference for member co-op Member Services professionals. Participants learn from outside experts and share their collective ideas, tools and strategies during roundtable discussions.
Mobile Directory App
The MECA mobile app for Apple and Android devices keeps member co-ops connected with a searchable database of co-op directors, managers and employees.