Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric (SWCE) is a member-owned electric cooperative, where our members are our owners. SWCE offers electrical distribution services to residents of the greater Rice, Waseca, Steele, Blue Earth, Dodge, Goodhue, Freeborn, Faribault, and LeSueur counties. Since its beginning in 1936, the cooperative has grown steadily to its present membership of more than 11,000. Today, SWCE has more than 2,000 miles of line and 20 substations for its 900-square-mile service territory. They are celebrating these milestones in this, their 85th anniversary year.
Energy conservation is important to protecting and valuing our earthly resources. Therefore, SWCE incentivizes their members through a wide variety of energy rebate programs, including electric water heaters and smart water heater controllers, solar power, electric vehicle charging and rebates for energy conservation. Through their energy portfolio, they have a program to provide 100% renewable power if a member chooses. Powering our area through renewable energy with reliable service is their priority.
(An SWCE linesman hard at work)
One of the seven Cooperative Principles that SWCE follows is ‘concern for community’. They are committed to our area’s growth through job creation via their economic development financial partnerships with business. Through their Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) and USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG) and other member-proprietary loan programs, they help starting or growing businesses with low-interest loans so they can focus on what they do best—running their business and growing our local economy. In tandem with SWCE’s concern for growing our community is also its safety. That is why they partner with area fire departments to offer hands-on education and training of electric vehicles, solar roofing shingles and rooftop solar units. New technology of solar on homes and electric vehicles means an increased level of knowledge is needed for our public safety professionals to know how to approach electricity, mitigate incidents and keep residents and passengers safe. SWCE is pleased to be able to teach how to safely work with new electric technology to ensure our community’s safety.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the physical office of Steele-Waseca Co-operative Electric has been closed, but SWCE was able to safely connect with members during their annual meeting’s first drive-thru event last fall that welcomed 726 members and guests. SWCE believes this strong turnout speaks to the resiliency of our members and the trust they have placed in their co-op. Connecting with members at Town Hall meetings and the Annual Meeting is SWCE’s desire, but they will continually monitor conditions to determine members’ safety for these events in the upcoming year. You can find more information on their website at www.SWCE.coop or by phone at (507) 451-7340. You can also email at SWCE@SWCE.coop or follow them on Facebook.
Our Chamber has approximately 530 members that invest their resources, employee volunteerism and confidence in the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism and the business community.