Operation Round Up transitioning to “opt out” program | SteamboatToday.com

Operation Round Up transitioning to “opt out” program

Jim Patterson

Yampa Valley Electric Association's Operation Round Up is transitioning from an "opt-in" to an "opt-out" proposition.

Operation Round Up is a program whereby customers can round their monthly bills to the next highest dollar, with the surplus going to benefit worthwhile social and civic endeavors in YVEA's service area. In the past, customers have been required to opt-in to the program, but beginning Jan. 1, the round up will automatically be applied to all YVEA customers' bills unless they opt out.

According to Tammi Strickland, communication and public relations manager for YVEA, the association made the change in an effort to bolster the program by raising awareness of it and simplifying the process of participating.

"At the start, the program wasn't marketed well, and it wasn't easy to opt in," Strickland said. "We think we can grow the operation in a huge way (with the change)."

Strickland said that, in 2014, the association received 65 applications for assistance, totaling some $112,000, but collected only about $30,000 from customers who opted to have their bills rounded up.

"Obviously, we couldn't fund them all, and others, we could only partially fund," she said.

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The association hopes by removing the necessity to opt in, more customers will participate in the program, and more funding applications can be met.

According to Strickland, participation will cost the average association customer about $6 per year, but multiplied across total membership, the collective fundraising potential of those dollars is astonishing.

"If the full membership (about 23,000 customers) were to participate, it would generate about $150,000 per year," she said.

Past Operation Round Up beneficiaries — which are selected from a pool of applicants by a six-member volunteer board comprised of representatives from communities throughout Routt County — include the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Colorado, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, The Haven Assisted Living Facility, the Humane Society of Moffat County, Routt County Humane Society, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Soda Creek Elementary School, Steamboat Art Museum and more.

Customers not wishing to participate may opt out of the program by completing and returning to YVEA an insert in their bills, by calling the YVEA office at 970-879-1160, by emailing oru@yvea.com with the account holder's name, address and account number or by visiting yvea.com/content/operation-roundup.

To reach Jim Patterson, call 970-871-4208, email jpatterson@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JimPatterson15