On Thursday, June 13, Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) hosted more than 1,200 member-owners and guests for the 83rd annual meeting. The event was held at the James University Convocation Center in Harrisonburg.
The annual meeting provides an opportunity for member-owners to join in fellowship and learn more about programs and projects at the cooperative. The primary order of business, however, is the election of directors to the SVEC board.
There were two incumbent directors elected and two new directors selected to join the board. Both Robbie Marchant, who represents the City of Winchester, and Bill Orndoff, who represents the City of Winchester and Frederick/Clarke counties, won re-election to their seats.
Conrad Helsley of Strasburg, was elected to occupy the seat for Shenandoah/Warren counties after Board Chair Fred Garber selected retirement after 34 years of service. Lastly, Jerry Dofflemyer, of Luray, defeated Board Vice Chair David Ferguson to represent Shenandoah/Warren/Page counties.
Directors serve four-year terms. To learn more about the Board of Directors, please click here.
SVEC President and CEO Michael Hastings, as well as three vice presidents – Mike Aulgur, VP of Member Services; Tom Beamon, VP of Finance and Accounting; and Greg Rogers, VP of Engineering and Operations – addressed the audience. The special guest speaker was Marcus Harris, president/CEO of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, SVEC’s wholesale energy provider based out of Glen Allen, Va.
Highlights of the speeches include:
- Celebrating 2018 for safety achievements – the co-op surpasses 2 million hours worked without a lost-time accident – and reliability. The average outage hours per member-owner was 3.26.
- Noting major improvements to the distribution system, including new substations in Dayton and Strasburg.
- Explaining an opportunity SVEC took advantage of to save money by purchasing a 25 megawatt block of energy from a third-party supplier. This resulted in $2 million savings.
- Covering results of surveys conducted in 2018 that showed over 80% of member-owners perceive SVEC as the ideal utility company, and 93% of member-owners are somewhat or very satisfied with in-person payment service at co-op offices. The co-op uses survey feedback to find ways it can better serve member-owners to not only meet but exceed their expectations.
- Announcing that work is ongoing on a grant project from North Carolina State University. The grant, from the U.S. Department of Energy, pays for research to help SVEC determine the financial feasibility and possible implementation of a community solar project in our service territory. This study comes at no cost to SVEC member-owners, but the results of it could potentially pay off in a major way. Later this year, results from the study will be shared. To learn more about the group behind this research, please click here.
- Reporting that two contracts for solar projects have been awarded for the Rockingham Complex. Nova Solar and Altenergy will be installing rooftop solar panels and a ground-level solar array. Learn more about Nova Solar here and Altenergy here.
SVEC Attorney Dale Davenport announced that changes will be coming to the director election process, to include mail-in voting and online balloting. These changes will occur in 2020.
Historically, the only method for member-owners to vote for directors was to attend annual meeting. Out of concern for the decreasing number of people attending meetings today compared to the past, the Board of Directors reviewed its election practices and those of other cooperatives. The new voting process is intended to garner input from more member-owners, ensuring that the 2nd Cooperative Principle, “Democratic Member Control,” is best followed.
One of the advantages of being a member-owner of an electric cooperative is the ability to vote and run for the board of directors, as opposed to having shareholders who live far away from the communities served.
In his final remarks as Board Chair, Garber noted the importance of this distinction, and urged member-owners to appreciate that the people who oversee SVEC are the same people who live in and give back to the Valley.
Last but not least, the awarding of door prizes is always popular at annual meeting. Congratulations to the following member-owners on their electric gift certificates!
|$200 early proxy||William K/Julia Menges||Maurertown, VA|
|$500.00||Dennis L. Cupp||Bridgewater, VA|
|$500.00||Donald R/Linda R. Shanholtzer||Rockingham, VA|
|$200.00||James H. Roberts||Mount Crawford, VA|
|$200.00||Gwyneth M. Auchard||Harrisonburg, VA|
|$200.00||John G. Sampson||Penn Laird, VA|
|$200.00||James R. Bodkin||Staunton, VA|
|$200.00||Charles V/Lois M. Oster||Penn Laird, VA|
|$100.00||Buddy M/Mamie R. Mongold||Broadway, VA|
|$100.00||Janet R. Tipton||Clear Brook, VA|
|$100.00||Danny H/Ellen G. Cline||Broadway, VA|
|$100.00||Tina M. Barb||Shenandoah, VA|
|$100.00||Cheryl A. Keener||Luray, VA|
|$100.00||Robert J/Linda S. Garber||Stuarts Draft, VA|
|$100.00||Carrie/Glenn Brumfield||Harrisonburg, VA|
|$100.00||Harold A. Putnam||Staunton, VA|
|$100.00||Gary W. Huffman||Weyers Cave, VA|
|$100.00||John B/Marley Bradfield||Stuarts Draft, VA|