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Medina EC News

2017 Annual Membership Meeting Report

We hope to see you at the annual meeting

Each September, Medina Electric Cooperative holds an Annual Membership Meeting. This year’s meeting is September 30 at 10 a.m. at the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. Registration starts at 9 a.m. Before the meeting, members can visit booths and get information on programs or visit with staff. This year, there will also be two pre-meeting sessions for members who want more in depth information on safety around power lines or energy efficiency and renewables. The Safety Around Power Lines session will start at 9:15 a.m. and the Energy Efficiency and Renewables session will start at 9:30 a.m.

Changing Expectations, Unchanging Priorities

Address from CEO Mark Rollans

Affordable, reliable electricity: providing that is Medina EC’s top priority. It became the priority soon after the cooperative was founded in 1938 and it has remained the priority for nearly 80 years.

Back in the late 1930’s, members paid a $5 membership fee for the chance at having electricity. Today, that $5 membership fee hasn’t changed, but the expectations of members have.

Times have changed, our members have changed, and we have to change how we do business to meet changing expectations. Affordable, reliable electricity is still at the core of our business. But communicating with members, payment options, outage restoration processes: all of it has changed over the years to continue to meet the expectations of our members.

We serve more than 18,000 members, and you are not all the same. Some people want to get their news in this magazine. Others want to hear from us on Facebook. Some people want to visit the office and talk with someone. Others prefer to pay their bill through the app and not have to interact with anyone.

As your cooperative, we serve all 18,000 of you, and we are constantly working behind the scenes to be sure you all have the options and conveniences you want, along with keeping power flowing to more than 32,000 meters without any interruptions. It’s a tall order, but it is one our staff is up for.

At the same time, we have financial goals and benchmarks to meet. Those financial goals have been set and voted on by the board and are critical for the cooperative’s long-term viability.

Revenue was up in 2016 from 2015, but it was down $19.5 million from what we projected in our budget. Some of that was because power costs (which are billed to members based on how many kWh of electricity they use) were lower than what we projected, which is a good thing for our members. Power costs were still higher in 2016 than they were in 2015 but not as much higher as staff thought they were going to be.

Even with revenue down from what was projected, the cooperative still met all of its financial goals.

We did complete a cost of service study in 2016, and in April 2017, the Customer Service Charge for general service rates changed as a result. Rate changes are never an easy decision for our board to make, and we know that no rate increase is easy for members.

However, just as I mentioned earlier, when the cost of serving our members increases, there are still financial goals to be met to keep the cooperative viable. And, as a not-for-profit cooperative, when costs increase, rates must also increase.

The good news is that any additional revenue from a rate change is not going to line pockets of investors: It is going back into the system of electric lines and equipment that we use to serve your home with power.

January 2017 marked my tenth year as CEO, and I can truly say that I love the cooperative business model. Working for an organization where our customers are members, where there are no outside investors who demand higher profits and less service to our members, and where giving back to communities is one of the central tenets of business is truly an honor.

I hope you will join us on Saturday, September 30, for your annual meeting. Come visit with staff, meet the board members, shake my hand, and see first-hand what the cooperative difference is. It’s about much more than electricity.

Improving Quality of Life is Core of Cooperative Business Model

Address from Board President Glenn Schweers

Annual meeting is an important event for your cooperative. It’s where results for the board of directors election are announced, important financial information is discussed and, of course, it’s a time to give away great door prizes.

There’s another purpose, though; it’s not laid out in the co-op’s bylaws, but it’s just as important.

Medina EC’s annual meeting is designed to take care of the important business of your co-op and the equally important business of building a sense of real community. All cooperatives serve economic and social purposes. Safe, reliable and affordable electric power is crucial to our mission, but improving quality of life is at the core of what we do every day.

Medina Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting is a community gathering where neighbors can meet new neighbors or catch up with old acquaintances. As our lives get busier with the “errands of life,” and more of our interactions with others occur online, we need to renew the value of face-to-face human connections. Your co-op is uniquely positioned to bring together members of our local communities, and we enjoy doing just that at the annual meeting every year.

Since Medina EC’s service area is so large, we move the meeting annually. We feel that this rotation gives all members an opportunity to attend an annual meeting near them. Serving 17 counties means that a meeting near you may still be two hours away, but with a more than four hour drive from our office in Hondo to our office in Rio Grande City, it’s impossible to have a meeting where some of our members don’t have to drive.

I think rural Americans do a good job of staying connected to our neighbors (in part because we need to), but it is not something we should take for granted. The simple acts of smiling, saying hello and shaking someone’s hand truly lift both parties.

Whether you do that in person, or with a comment or message through social media, staying connected to others in our community is an important thing.

If you have not attended the annual meeting in the past, or if it has been a few years, I urge you to take the time to be with your fellow co-op members and employees.

Your electric co-op is connected to you by more than just power lines. We are your neighbors, and we look forward to seeing you Saturday morning, September 30, at the Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde for your annual meeting.

Come early if you want to attend one of the pre-meeting sessions on energy efficiency, renewables or safety around power lines, or be there at 10 a.m. for the business meeting and entertainment and the meal that will follow.

I, and the other board members, look forward to seeing you there.

Operating Statistics

The 2015 and 2016 financials were included in your September issue of the printed magazine, but here is a PDF version if you would like to review them.