Committed to the Cooperative Difference
The world has changed since our last Annual Membership Meeting
Message From Board President Kenneth White
It is an honor to have been elected president of the Medina Electric Cooperative board, and I appreciate the support and cooperation of the board of directors and the staff.
A year ago, who would have ever imagined that the world would have been so impacted by COVID-19? It has taken a serious toll on lives and has affected each of our daily routines in some way.
Medina EC had to make quick decisions to adjust some of our daily operations. At times, information and recommendations were coming so fast that procedures had to be changed weekly. The parking lots of Medina EC buildings have looked different during COVID-19, and lobbies may not have been open to the public, but Medina EC employees did not stop working.
I would like to thank the staff for meeting the challenges head-on and adapting quickly. With their efforts, Medina EC has continued to provide the reliable service members expect while also keeping everyone healthy and safe.
The most recent change made as a result of COVID-19 was the difficult decision to cancel the annual membership meeting, scheduled for October 10 in Uvalde. This was a very difficult decision for your board because we look forward to this event each year, as we know staff and many members also do. Ultimately, we want to do our part to keep everyone healthy and we felt this was the only way.
In lieu of this year’s meeting, we have some exciting prizes planned for all members who return the card on the back of the September magazine that was mailed to you, so I hope many of you will take advantage of that.
Since we won’t be getting together this year, I would like to highlight a few things that have been accomplished since the September 2019 meeting.
Medina EC has added 723 services, bringing the total to 34,385* meters served. The co-op has one of the largest service areas in the state, serving 10,750 square miles across 17 South Texas counties. Over 50 miles of new distribution lines were added, so cooperative staff now has more than 9,725* miles of lines to maintain.
The co-op’s goal is to inspect about 10% of the distribution system poles every year and replaces the poles not meeting industry standards. Since last year’s meeting, 1,522* poles have been replaced at an average cost of $2,294.76 per pole.
The electric industry is continually advancing, and Medina EC strives to adopt new technologies to stay abreast of these changes for our members. Newer meters can provide valuable data pertaining to service at each location. For example, new meters can report any loss of power automatically instead of members needing to call in to report outages.
After numerous consultations and presentations by Medina EC staff, the board approved a plan to begin replacing existing meters, which were installed in the early 2000s and nearing the end of their life, with these newer, more advanced meters, enabling the cooperative to offer better service to members going forward. To date, 10,519 meters have been replaced.
We have several years remaining to complete installing these meters at the co-op’s more than 34,000 service locations, but this is a great start.
One benefit of cooperative membership is the return of capital credits. The Medina EC board approved the return of $1.8 million to members in 2019, and since inception, the cooperative has returned more than $31 million to members.
COVID-19 has impacted all of us. Through it all, Medina Electric Cooperative has remained committed to safely providing the most reliable electric service at the most affordable price to its member-owners.
During these difficult times, the actions taken by the board and staff have made it possible to continue to keep the lights on for you, the members. We hope to see you again, in person, in Uvalde next fall. Until then, stay safe and healthy.
*as of June 30, 2020
Coexisting With COVID-19
Quick adjustments necessary in a changing world
Message From CEO Mark Rollans
If ever there was a year that was different than expected, it is 2020.
For the cooperative, the arrival of COVID-19 quickly changed how we did business. Employees adapted to new ways of working. That meant moving many in-office employees to home offices; ensuring that vehicles were distributed so that each crew member had their own truck whenever practical; and for employees that needed to stay in the office, ensuring we had practices in place to keep them safe. A COVID-19 outbreak among our employees could prevent us from delivering reliable electricity to our members, so we took all the steps we could to prevent that from happening.
Our mission is to exceed member expectations in everything we do, and we kept that at the forefront of all our decisions regarding COVID-19.
Storm season brought additional challenges. Memorial Day saw a weekend of storms and outages impacting the northern part of our service area, in Uvalde, Medina, Frio and La Salle counties. At the end of July, Hurricane Hanna made her way inland, causing flooding and high winds for our members in Starr County, at the southern end of our service area.
Throughout all the unknowns from COVID-19 and storms, your cooperative has maintained financial stability and implemented new technologies to help us continue to exceed member expectations in the future.
Just as many of us have had to change habits in our personal lives—washing our hands more, wearing masks in stores, having less in-person interactions—Medina EC has changed many of our business processes, and we made those changes in a few weeks. While we have changed the way we do business, we never changed our mission.
It will be interesting to see what the coming year holds. My hope is that you all stay healthy, and I look forward to seeing you again.