East Central Energy (ECE) purchased nearly 1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2013, surpassing our previous record set in 2008. We attribute the increase to the prolonged winter and hot summer.
We safely distributed that electricity to more than 58,000 members in 14 counties on a robust system that includes over 8,000 miles of overhead and underground power lines. Our reliability continues to improve. We ranked better than co-op norms in our most recent member survey.
The price for powering our lives 24/7 has risen more slowly than the rate of inflation for the past 30 years. For just $1, you can watch a 40-inch LCD TV for one month or operate your cellphone for 1.5 years. Electricity remains an excellent value.
Great River Energy (GRE), our wholesale power supplier, is a cooperative owned by ECE and 27 other distribution co-ops. It generates, buys and sells power to benefit its member-owners and does not need to make a profit to pay outside investors. It reinvests in the power plants and transmission lines we count on for reliable electricity and returns any margins to its member co-ops. ECE benefits when GRE succeeds, and 2013 was a good year for GRE. Energy sales were up, and operation and maintenance costs were down. Innovative processes at its Blue Flint Ethanol plant and the success of its DryFining™ process at the Coal Creek Station are giving GRE a competitive edge and adding to the co-op’s bottom line.
As cooperatives, we are homegrown, locally-owned businesses. We take a different approach to the work we do because we live here and share the same goals as you: safe, reliable electricity at the lowest cost possible with service that’s top-of-the-line. We balance the financial stability of the co-op with member affordability. Safety is the cornerstone of everything we do because the power behind our communities is the people who live and work here. We strengthen our communities through involvement in economic development, school programs, civic organizations and charitable causes.
Most importantly, we listen to you. Join us Saturday, April 12 at Rush City High School for your annual meeting and see the power of your co-op membership at work. The day begins at 8 a.m. with a free and delicious pancake breakfast. Popular annual activities such as bingo and the bucket truck rides will return. You are encouraged to bring a non-perishable item for the local food shelf.
Interactive displays will highlight ECE’s energy-saving programs and electrical safety demonstrations. SmartHub, the new mobile app and Web version that allows ECE members to report power outages, pay their bill from anywhere 24/7 and receive news and alerts from their co-op, will be demonstrated. Free licensed child care will be available throughout the event.
The business meeting begins at 10:15 a.m. ECE President/CEO Steve Shurts will review the cooperative’s financial report for 2013 and recap significant events from the co-op’s past year. Results of the director elections will be announced toward the end of the meeting.
You have a voice and a vote in how we do business. That’s the power of co-op membership, and it belongs to you.
Brought to you by East Central Energy