Kandiyohi Power Cooperative International Work in Guatemala
In 2005 our board expressed a desire to get involved with another sister cooperative that needed help to improve their operation. We approached NRECA and asked if they could recommend another cooperative we could become involved with. They asked us to consider Guatemala as a possibility. We traveled to Zacapa, Guatemala and made an assessment of the utility and their needs. When we returned we notified NRECA that we would be happy to establish a relationship with the Municipal Utility in Zacapa, Guatemala.
In 2005 we addressed some of the more pressing issues dealing with safety and crew training. In late 2006 we sent a crate of tools that would outfit two line crews to do first class line construction and maintenance. We traveled to Zacapa with two of our linemen and they spent time training the Zacapa linemen how to use the tools properly and safely. In August 2007 we sent one bucket truck and one digger truck to Zacapa. We also traveled to Zacapa to present this equipment to the city and we had our linemen spend 3 days training the Zacapa linemen how to operate the trucks.
In December of 2008 we sent a new meter test bench to Zacapa. The meter tester they had been using was a homemade tester. It worked but it was not very accurate and it could not test the new solid state meters. We traveled to Guatemala and brought in a person to train their meter people how to use the new tester. Our linemen also worked with the Zacapa linemen sharing knowledge and safe work habits. In 2009 we worked with Zacapa to strengthen their administrative structure to make their utility more stable financially.
In 2010, working with NRECA, we expanded our scope of work in Guatemala to work with all 15 Municipal utilities in a more general way. We held a workshop in Guatemala City in August of 2010 for all the municipal’s and several small hydro associations. We shared information about how to improve their utilities and operate more efficiently. Most of these utilities are financially constrained but there are several things they can do administratively that will not cost anything and more than likely will improve their financial position. We have expanded this into a series of Administrative Training workshops and continue to visit Guatemala once or twice a year.
As of 2013 there are no Electric Cooperatives in Guatemala but there is growing interest to start some. We have been working with NRECA to assist these groups to understand what an electric coop is and how they work. We hope to help the first electric cooperative get started in Guatemala.
Our work in Guatemala is funded through donations to our work there and it does not cost the members of KPC a dime and does a lot to promote the cooperative spirit and show people that Americans do care about what is happening in the rest of the world.
Kandiyohi Power Cooperative International Work in the Philippines
Kandiyohi Power Cooperative (KPC) has been working with a Sister Cooperative in the Philippines since 1994. In November of 1994 the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) officially recognized the relationship between KPC and Iloilo 1 Electric Cooperative (ILECO-I), in Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines. Over the years KPC has been involved with conducting safety and hot line training in the Philippines as well is hosting linemen from our sister Cooperative here in Minnesota. We have shipped 45 containers of transformers and other material and seven trucks to the Philippines from Minnesota. Some of this material has been donated by KPC and other Minnesota cooperatives but most of it has been purchased by ILECO-I through our trade partnership. This relationship is still going strong today. They have become a first class cooperative and are both financially and technically strong.
The trade partnership that has developed through this relationship has generated funds to cover all our costs of working in the Philippines and part of the cost of our work in Guatemala. Our work in the Philippines does a lot to promote the cooperative spirit and show people that Americans do care about what is happening in the rest of the world.