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LIVE OAK — Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative contributed more than $239.8 million to Florida’s economy, including $209.6 million to the local economy in Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette and Suwannee counties during a five-year period from 2013 to 2017, according to a new economic impact study conducted by the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association.

“Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative provides electricity to the homes and businesses in the Suwannee Valley, creating jobs, fueling growth and powering the lives within our community,” SVEC CEO Michael McWaters said in a release. “This study helps quantify the economic impact we have in our region.”

The study also reports that during the five-year period, SVEC provided or supported an average of 378 jobs per year and $88.3 million in labor income throughout Florida, including 285 jobs annually and $70.6 million in labor income in the local community. Many of the 89 full- and part-time jobs SVEC provides are linemen, but other jobs at the co-op include engineers, member service representatives and accountants.

“Whether it’s setting up a new account, maintaining service or rebuilding after a storm, we’re here for our consumer-members,” said Craig Ragan an employee of SVEC for more than 30 years. “I’m very fortunate to have a job where I can serve others and support my family.”

The economic impact study also found that SVEC generated more than $61.3 million in state and local tax revenue. That revenue is reinvested in strengthening our community’s schools and other essential services.

Statewide, the impact of Florida’s electric cooperatives on the economy is astounding. The findings from a separate economic impact study conducted by NRECA indicate that electric cooperatives contributed more than $11.6 billion to the state’s economy from 2013 to 2017 and provide or support more than 15,000 jobs for Floridian’s per year, on average.

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