A record number of members, over 400, and their families, registered at Menard Electric Cooperative’s 82nd Annual Meeting on June 13th at PORTA High School in Petersburg. Before the business meeting, attendees enjoyed a grilled pork chop dinner, homemade ice cream, bucket truck rides, face painting and balloon twisting, music by Avery Kern, and visiting with co-op employees and directors. To allow members to become more engaged with electric vehicles, the co-op also made available at the PORTA entrance a Chevrolet Bolt from a local dealership. Registered members received a $15 bill credit and were entered into a prize drawing.
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 Dennis Ryan of District 4 and Steve Worner of District 6 ran unopposed and were re-elected. Director Roy Seaney of District 1 announced his retirement from the board after serving 25 years. Two members ran for District 1 Director seat and through a ballot vote members elected Gary Holloway of Petersburg to serve a three-year term.
The theme of the meeting was Power for Generations and Board President Jay Frye and General Manager Alisha Anker discussed in a joint report how the co-op’s new strategic plan focuses on improving co-op operations for present and future generations. They discussed a long-range capital work plan focused on distributed automation and line loss improvement that will include enhanced substation communications and load control. Anker told members that in 2018 the co-op completed its 3rd phase of a 6-year program to upgrade main feeder circuit breakers at substations. “This opens up all kinds of possibilities for modern distributed operations,” said Anker, citing some new load control options.
She also discussed an increased focus on opening up lines of communication and engaging members in new ways, such as through a recent March Mania Madness program that encouraged members to alter their kilowatt usage for a potential prize.
The third strategic planning goal included development of a long-term financial plan. “We are looking for rates that include alignment with our power costs and load control incentives,” said President Frye, remarking that new initiatives for electric vehicles and renewable distributed generation alternatives would be included. He indicated that cost of service and rate studies will help ensure all members have fair and equal access to the co-op’s services.
While discussing the fourth initiative concerning enhancing the co-op’s safety programs, Alisha asked for a round of applause in appreciation of the co-op’s 6 years, 11 months, and 7 days without a lost time incident.
Treasurer Dennis Ryan also addressed members, sharing that the co-op had recently returned $600,000 in capital credits to members who had service during 1995 and a portion of 1996; bringing the total capital credits returned to over $10.7 million. He stated that members owned 41.1% of the co-op’s total assets at the end of 2018, which totaled $2,019,691; over $1.1 million of which are capital credits allocated from Prairie Power, Inc. and over $214,000 allocated from CoBank and other financial resources; those credits will be returned to the co-op at a later date.