Intercounty members receive assurance on energy capacity
Intercounty Electric Cooperative held its 74th annual meeting Friday in Licking.
The day started with cooler temperatures than preceding days, providing a little comfort as hundreds of people patiently waited in line for the registration to open at 8 a.m. Registering 970 members was a quick process with the computer system and bar scanning of registration books the members brought with them, Intercounty said. The full count of members and their guests was down from the previous year to about 2,500.
Texas County Memorial Hospital provided a health fair, the Licking Lions Club had a hearing van, there were 46 craft fair vendors and Intercounty established a member services tent.
The Kellys, a local young family of talented musicians, opened up the festivity part of the day with a blend of traditional/original acoustic bluegrass gospel music. They closed the day with another performance that provided an enjoyable afternoon.
The business meeting began at 10 a.m. with Larry Tubbs of the Licking Church of Christ giving the invocation. Mountain Grove ROTC posted flags as Sgt. Marty Elmore of the Missouri State Highway Patrol led the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the National Anthem. Licking Mayor Linda Miller welcomed members and their guests to the Licking City Park.
Jim White, board president, after recognizing IECA’s Auxiliary, employees and directors to thank them for the fine job they are doing and the conducting of official business, announced that there would be no rate increases for 2010. He encouraged members to participate in “Operation Round Up” as a way to help neighbors and friends. He also reminded the members that the directors want to hear from them and desire to answer any questions they have. He announced the milestone of 75 years in 2011 stating, “the co-op philosophy hasn’t changed, making us different from other utilities. It’s still all about the members-owners.”
Tom Fleener, board secretary/treasurer, reported Intercounty’s financial status to the membership.
Dwayne Cartwright, general manager, detailed to the members the current work plan and new projects that will carry Intercounty into the future while improving system reliability.
Joe Wilkinson, director of member services and corporate communications for Associated Electric Cooperative — the generation cooperative for the Missouri’s cooperatives — talked to members about the organization and that the decisions they make are based on their mission to provide Missouri cooperative members economical and reliable power supply. They understand that more than half of co-op households earn less than $50,000, and increases in energy bills impact these members. As customer loads continue to grow the reserve capacity is diminishing, so it is important they build more resources to make sure they have the generation they need to serve members for years to come. With the addition of a natural gas combined cycle plant, Chouteau 2 in Pryor, Okla., they will have enough capacity to serve through 2019. Wilkinson also explained that another important energy resource for them is the members’ involvement in energy efficiency.
Associated helped with that effort by providing their distribution cooperatives with 2.3 million CFLs in 2008 and 2009 to hand out to members. He closed with a plea to members to continue to help with the issues in Washington, D.C., that will affect power supply and ultimately rates in Missouri through Cap and Trade legislation and EPA involvement in regulating green house gas emissions. Wilkinson reiterated that as cooperatives, they believe in being responsible with the environment.
In the last 14 years, Associated has spent more than $1 billion on air controls; however, the regulations that are looming in Washington would dwarf those expenses. Wilkinson pointed out that there are very rich companies lobbying for legislation.
“As cooperatives, we don’t have their type of money to spend on lobbying, but what we do have is our voices,” Wilkinson said.
Electric cooperatives are 42 million members strong and these voices carry a lot of weight in congress. Wilkinson encouraged members to visit the nationwide cooperative network at www.ourenergy.coop to send the message to Washington.
With the conclusion of the business meeting, a barbecue lunch was served and the voting booth was opened for members to choose their board directors for another three-year term. Re-elected were Jim White, north district; Hal Dandridge, central district; and Rick Ichord, south district.
Summer Adey of Licking won a $600 energy credit. Receiving $100 electric credits were Robert Sherrill, Fred and Janice Wood, Robert Miller, Kevin and Aveny Mathis and Juanita Hill. Many more members took home small electric appliances and tools.
Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association serves 2,916 square miles covering Phelps, Dent and Texas counties and parts of seven other counties. IECA operates 5,786 miles of line, serving more than 30,000 active meters and employs 118 local citizens.