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MEC celebrates $2M in savings for members: Co-op Connections expo celebrates businesses, savings

March 19, 2018 GMT

BULLHEAD CITY — Mohave Electric Cooperative members had 2 million reasons to celebrate on Friday.

Since MEC CEO Tyler Carlson implemented the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives national program locally in 2011, the utility’s Co-op Connections discount card program has saved MEC members $2 million in prescription drug costs.

MEC members’ savings rank ninth in the country for prescription

drug discounts.

The utility celebrated the milestone — and the members and local businesses that participate in the program — during Friday’s Co-op Connections Business Expo hosted by the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a big number,” Carlson said. “The community desperately needs economic support and help, we’ve got a whole bunch of people on a fixed income — we’re proud to be able to offer a program that gives people such a benefit.”

The discount card, free to Mohave Electric members, offers savings at participating local and national businesses, including most pharmacies.

“It’s so well known locally, it’s no longer called the Co-op Connections Card, I hear it called the Mohave Electric card,” Carlson said. “I’ve been in a drug store, standing in line for my prescriptions and I’ll hear the tech say, ‘Well, if you have your MEC card, this medication is cheaper than your insurance.’ And if they don’t have the card, I’ll just give them mine, because that’s incredible.”

About 40 local and small businesses participating in the Co-op Connections Card discount program were invited to show off their goods and services at the expo.

“The people with the Co-op Connections program are so friendly,” said Janice Duvall, owner of Beauty Lab Permanent Make-up. “They help local businesses get their name out.”

Participation in the program is also free to businesses, which get to choose the discount they offer.

“It’s easy for small businesses to take part and MEC does all the advertising,” said Ardie Lauxman, MEC chief financial officer. “Mohave Electric is pro-

community development and events like this one promote that. I think it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Carlson called it the MEC Co-op Connections family.

“Not only does [the program] bring the business community closer to the community because there is a connection between most businesses and Mohave Electric members, but it also brings the business community together,” Carlson said. “It’s very cool.”

For attendees, the expo offered giveaways, prize drawings and an opportunity to learn about local businesses participating in the program.

“I love the expo,” said Linda Sears. “I come to find good info on what’s available. I got some good contacts on medical things for people I know.”

Mary Mafara brought her daughters, Harley and Ariannah.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “There are more businesses here than I expected.”

For Carlson and the staff at Mohave Electric, the expo and the Co-op Connections Card discount program is a way to support their community.

“We can’t always control the cost of energy, the cost of our fuel and resources so sometimes the electricity rates may vary, but what we can do is help you keep a dollar in your pocket,” Carlson said. “When you look at the MEC service area nationally, we have a high incidence of use of the card and the reason for that is the economic conditions, it really is. If you’re on a fixed income or in a less affluent area, every penny helps.”