A&N Electric Cooperative members elected two of their peers to serve on the cooperative’s Board of Directors, during its 82nd Annual Meeting, held on Aug. 25.
More than 1,600 cooperative members participated in this year’s election of directors through designated proxy. The election process was overseen and certified by the cooperative’s Credentials and Elections Committee which is independent of the board.
In District 1, Mark A. Hickman was elected. This district covers the northern areas of Accomack County from Parksley’s northern border to the Virginia/Maryland state line and includes Tangier and Smith islands.
In District 3, Addison W. Nottingham Jr. was re-elected. This district covers the area just north of Nassawadox, in the south, to just above Melfa in the north.
Both Hickman and Nottingham were unopposed in their elections to the board. Board members serve three-year terms.
The cooperative held its Annual Meeting at Eastern Shore Community College’s Workforce Development Center. The meeting was broadcast live on WESR for co-op members who were not able to attend in person.
In addition to the election of directors, the cooperative provided its members reports on its end-of-year financial status, updates the cooperative continued to response to COVID-19 and what’s ahead for the future of the co-op.
The cooperative announced at the meeting that it was seeking candidates in district 1 to fill the unexpired term of the late Robert L. Nock. The deadline to submit the required paperwork is Sept. 30.
Nottingham, chairman of A&N Electric Cooperative’s board, gave a report on the cooperative’s ongoing member satisfaction surveys which help drive the company’s community focus.
“We appreciate all the members who take part in the survey and I want to assure you we are listening to your valuable feedback,” Nottingham said. “I’m happy to report our satisfaction scores continue to rise. This is a direct reflection of the comments we receive from members and the cooperative’s active response to those issues.”
Nottingham reminded members that the board recently voted to return $2.79 million in capital credits to the membership. Nearly all members receive capital credits in the form of a bill credit, which was applied in June.
The cooperative has retired more than $31 million in capital credits to the membership since 1981.
Nottingham, who also serves on the Members Helping Members Board, reported the non-profit raised more than $56,000 in funds and was able to assist 210 cooperative members with paying their electric service bill in 2021.
“On behalf of the Members Helping Members board I’d like to thank all the members who continue to support this valuable program,” he said.
On the topic of safety, Nottingham was pleased to report that in the past 4 years the cooperative has experienced only one lost time incident, and attributing the feat to employees’ “unwavering commitment to safety.”
Nottingham took the opportunity to highlight the work of the cooperative’s employee non-profit organization, Lighting the Way, which logged more than 225 volunteer hours, donated more than $2,900 to local causes and partnered with the American Red Cross to host two successful blood drives at the cooperatives Tasley headquarters.
A&N Electric Cooperative CEO Butch Williamson reminded members of the ongoing challenges presented by COVID and the cooperative’s response to assist members. The cooperative was able to assist more than 2,000 of its members through special billing arrangements and relief funds.
More than $652,000 was applied to applicable members’ bills through CARES Act funding and Members Helping Members during the pandemic.
The cooperative continues to assist the USDA 504 Loan/Grant program, which helps low-income and elderly members with much-needed repairs and improvements to homes.
Williamson addressed the cooperative’s relatively new prepaid metering program, which allows members who sign on, the ability make account payments for their future energy use. The program eliminates deposits and late fees. More information on the program and other services can be found at anec.com or by contacting a member services representative at the cooperative. The cooperative also offers free home and basic commercial energy audits for members who would like a detailed assessment of their home’s energy use.
Williamson also alerted the membership of industry-wide supply chain issues, which is affecting specialized and traditional equipment. Lead times are increasing and costs are rising for these items.
“I tell you this not to scare you, but to let you know that we are working to make sure we minimize any potential impacts,” Williamson said.
In regards to renewable energy options, Williamson informed members that several options are available through the cooperative and that large-scale industrial solar initiatives continue to grow around the region. Currently, A&N has more than 165 residential, commercial and government accounts that have installed solar or subscribed to Cooperative SunShare.
The cooperative is currently evaluating an electric vehicle charging station network across the Eastern Shore. In addition, Williamson announced a pilot EV rate offered by the cooperative. EV owners are encouraged to contact the cooperative to learn more.
Williamson also addressed the rising cost of energy generation and methods the cooperatives power supplier is using to mitigate those impacts.
“With the volatility in the markets, power supply costs at other utilities around the country have seen increases as high as 50% or higher, Williamson said. “As a member of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and because of its hedging strategies, A&N’s members has seen an average of 15 to 30% increase in electric supply costs. The open energy market has seen increases two to three times this.”
Nottingham later presented resolutions to three longtime board representatives. Resolutions were presented to Yvonne Nock, widow of the late Robert L. Nock, who served as director of district 1 for 17 years. Nock recently served as the board’s secretary-treasurer.
Nottingham also presented a resolution to Edward Parks for his 18 years of service to the cooperative and its board. Parks announced earlier in the year that he would be stepping down as a director in district 1. Nottingham thanked Parks for his dedication to the cooperative’s membership and for his work on the Members Helping Members board.
Cooperative attorney Henry Custis Jr. was also presented a resolution for his 15 years of service as the cooperative’s council. Custis will step down from his post later this year.
“We will miss Henry’s wisdom and guidance,” Nottingham said.
Immediately following the annual meeting, the board held officer elections, reelecting Nottingham as its chairman, Christopher Bott as its vice chairman and Ralph Dodd as the board’s secretary-treasurer.