Menard Electric Cooperative held its 83rd Annual Meeting on August 5th at PORTA High School in Petersburg. Members approved bylaw changes, re-elected directors, learned about proposed energy legislation and other aspects of the cooperative, enjoyed a grilled pork chop dinner, received an appreciation gift, won bill credits and more.
In his report Board President Jay Frye thanked co-op employees for providing excellent service as they navigated the difficulties and uncertainty of 2020; he noted that their completion of a four-year comprehensive work plan, a 10-year financial forecast, and a cost-of-service study will aid the Board of Directors as they make decisions moving forward.
General Manager Alisha Anker discussed the co-op’s focus on safely providing reliable service and talked about improvements to reliability due to the construction of substations and new transmission lines in the co-op’s territory by Prairie Power, Inc.
She focused much of her comments on important pending legislation that would prompt the closing of energy generation resources, including the co-op’s largest source of power, Prairie State Energy Campus.
“By disallowing the use of coal and natural gas to source electric generation, a significant threat to the reliability of the electric grid across the State is at risk. Estimates indicate the impact of this plant’s closure could result in a 20-25% rate increase for cooperative members,” warned Anker. She discussed a coalition formed to fight this issue, saying, “Together we hope to beat back this legislation with real action.” Asking for help from members to contact their legislative representatives and the Governor’s office, she encouraged those who had not yet registered their support or sent letters to reference information printed in the August Illinois Country Living magazine and at Take Action Now.
The cooperative is governed by a Board of Directors made up of nine members elected from and by the membership to serve three-year terms. This year Gary Martin, District 2, D. Jay Frye, District 5 and Donald McMillan, District 9, ran unopposed and were re-elected to three-year terms. In addition, as a result of the cancellation of last year’s annual meeting due to statewide COVID regulations, Jodine Tate, District 3, Michael Patrick, District 7, and Warren Goetsch, District 8, ran unopposed and were re-elected to serve the remaining two years of a three-year term which commenced in 2020.
Members also voted to approve four Bylaw Amendments, the primary focus of which was to allow for an annual meeting to be held in a non-traditional format if the need would arise.