Missed the Annual Meeting of Members?
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General Manager's Report - Alisha Anker
President's Report - D. Jay Frye, Board President
Treasurer's Report - Dennis Ryan, Board Treasurer
Menard Electric Cooperative Holds Annual Meeting
More than 650 pork chop dinners were served to members and their families attending Menard Electric Cooperative’s 84th Annual Meeting on August 4th at PORTA High School in Petersburg.
Members re-elected directors, learned more about the cooperative’s power supply and future goals, received a tote bag and smart LED light bulb, and won bill credits. Members and their families visited with employees, directors, neighbors and friends while enjoying a grilled pork chop dinner and cooling off with their favorite flavor of a Kona Ice snow cone.
During the business meeting General Manager Alisha Anker reassured members that Menard Electric would not be impacted, as some other utilities have been, by sudden price increases driven by the energy market. The other utilities do not own their electric generation and are largely dependent on energy market prices. Menard Electric is different because it owns its own electric generation through its wholesale power supplier, Prairie Power Inc., whose diversified resources include part of a large coal plant, several natural gas units, a small oil-fired unit, two solar farms, and offtake purchases from another solar farm and a wind farm, all located within Illinois.
She also discussed the reasons for potential rolling blackouts and explained recent changes in supply and demand, citing increases in energy use as business and industry ramps up post-covid, coupled with an ever-declining supply of coal and natural gas-fired generation due to plant closures and pressures from environmental and legislative impacts. “Unfortunately, despite the fact our wholesale supplier has ample capacity to serve the demand of our members, the transmission grid is managed on a regional level,” she said. “Operators of the transmission grid have limited options when told they will have no access to these plants in the future and their last stage effort is to implement a rolling blackout.” Sacrificing blocks of electric demand on a rotating basis actually protects the grid from a larger-scale blackout concern. Anker ended by reassuring members that co-op employees were ready for this concern.
Board President Jay Frye discussed how the employees and board work to fulfill the co-op’s mission statement to provide reliable electrical service at a reasonable cost with concern for the safety and well-being of members, employees and the communities of the cooperative. He discussed recent strategic planning goals established by the board as a method to provide that service. Members can read additional details about those plans in their August Illinois Country Living magazine.
Board Treasurer Dennis Ryan reminded members the co-op is a member-owned entity unbeholden to stakeholder profits and discussed the return of margins earned as capital credits to members. He stated Menard Electric is one of the more aggressive co-ops in the state regarding the return of those credits, having returned more than $12.8 million to members to-date.
The co-op 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 the following incumbents ran unopposed and were re-elected to three-year terms: Gary Holloway of Petersburg, District 1; Dennis Ryan of Petersburg, District 4; and, Steve Worner of Manito, District 6.