Cooperative Holds 83rd Annual Meeting
Duncan, Colonna and Shockley Elected to Board
A&N Electric Cooperative held its 83rd Annual Meeting at its Tasley headquarters on Aug. 24. The meeting was broadcast live on WESR for co-op members who were not able to attend in person.
At the Annual Meeting, Cooperative members elected three of their peers to serve on the Cooperative’s Board of Directors.
More than 1,800 cooperative members participated in this year’s election of directors, either in person or 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, Gregory L. Duncan 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 2, Keith Colonna was elected. This district covers the areas between Melfa in the south and Parksley in the north.
In District 3, W.E. “Ted” Shockley III was reelected. This district covers the area just north of Nassawadox in the south to just above Melfa in the north.
All three candidates were unopposed in their elections to the board and will serve three-year terms per the Cooperative’s Bylaws.
In addition to the election of directors, the Cooperative provided its members reports on its end-of-year financial status, updates on the Cooperative and what’s ahead for the future of the co-op.
Addison Nottingham, Chairman of A&N Electric Cooperative’s Board, welcomed co-op members in attendance and those listening at home through WESR’s live broadcast.
He reminded members of the Cooperative’s tornado response one year ago.
Last August, a waterspout came ashore on Smith Island, Md., damaging homes and breaking several electric utility poles. Cooperative personnel on nearby Tangier Island were able to respond within an hour, isolate the damage and restore power to the majority of the island with a generator located there.
“Our team on the islands jumped into action immediately after the storm and were able to isolate damage and get parts of the islands back on while more help arrived to make necessary repairs,” said Nottingham.
He applauded Cooperative employees for working safe and announced that the cooperative had surpassed two consecutive years with no lost time accidents.
He highlighted the Cooperative’s most recent Gaff-N-Go Lineman Rodeo team participants and the Gaff-N-Grill team, which won first place overall and two third place awards at the recent event held in the spring.
Nottingham announced that the Board recently voted to return $2.57 million in capital credits to the membership. Nearly all members receive capital credits in the form of a bill credit, which was applied in July.
In total, the Cooperative has retired more than $33 million in capital credits to its membership.
Nottingham also highlighted local youth programs including two recent winners of the Virginia, Maryland, Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives Scholarship fund recipients and the Cooperative’s continued support of the Cooperative Youth Tour program, which sponsored three local youth delegates for a week-long trip to Washington D.C. recently in June.
Nottingham, who also serves on the Members Helping Members Board, reported the nonprofit raised more than $71,000 in funds and was able to assist 283 Cooperative members with paying their electric service bills in 2022.
President and CEO Butch Williamson acknowledged the many challenges that the Cooperative is faced with but echoed its commitment to reliable, responsive and efficient service at the lowest possible price.
Williamson touched on the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemics, which have caused supply and demand strains, material delays, and placed increased pressure on material costs.
Those rising costs have also affected energy prices recently.
“Most utility energy costs alone, within the region, have seen increases of as much as 50% or more,” Williamson said. “Fortunately, as a member of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, we saw much lower increases. A&N was shielded with hedging strategies that softened our costs to the 15-25% range. That is the value of being a member of ODEC.”
He happily reported that as of Aug. 1 and for the remainder of the year, energy prices are forecast to decrease.
Williamson discussed recent upgrades through the Cooperative’s Advance Metering Infrastructure and other system improvements which have led to quicker response and restoration times. He also highlighted the Cooperative’s perpetual task of managing trees and vegetation growth near power lines that helps reduce blinks and outages.
Hundreds of miles of right of way were maintained and hundreds of trees were removed that had the potential to cause issues,” Williamson said. “Maintaining over 2500 miles of line here on the shore is a never-ending mission that we take very seriously.”
He also highlighted the Cooperative’s annual commitment to Arbor Day through a member appreciation event, which was held this past spring at the Cooperative’s headquarters. The event saw hundreds of co-op members attend, who took home seedlings to plant at home. The Cooperative will also be present at the upcoming Eastern Shore Agricultural Fair in October.
Turning to local renewable initiatives, Williamson announced that the Cooperative Sunshare program was recently fully approved by the State Corporation Commission and that it is now available to residential and small commercial members.
Williamson also announced the need to restructure rates to more accurately reflect the rising cost of service.
“This reallocation of revenue within the current rates is needed to coincide with our standard fixed allocated costs,” Willamson said. “This change will assist in stabilizing the revenue by reducing the charge on the kilowatt hour charge and adding it to a fixed monthly access charge.”
The proposed rate adjustment will result in a decrease or an increase to a standard, monthly residential bill depending on how much energy is used in a given month. In general, the more electricity used, the more the overall bill will decrease when compared to the rates currently in effect. The Cooperative anticipates that more than two-thirds of the membership should see a decrease in their overall, monthly bill as a result of the proposed rate adjustment, which will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2024. The Cooperative will be provided more information on this proposed rate adjustment in upcoming editions of Cooperative Living Magazine, the Cooperative’s website anec.com and local media outlets.
“A&N has a lot going on to make sure we make sound decisions, meet your needs, while providing affordable electric service,” Williamson said. “As always, we welcome your calls or stop-by to discuss your concerns or how we can help.”
Immediately following the Annual Meeting, the Board held officer elections, reelecting Addison Nottingham as its Chairman, Christopher Bott as its Vice Chairman, and Ralph Dodd as the Board’s Secretary/Treasurer.