McLeod Co-op Power Members gathered for its 86th Annual Meeting
The members of McLeod Cooperative Power Association gathered for the 86th annual meeting of the Cooperative on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 at the Hutchinson Event Center. There were approximately 250 people in attendance including 171 registered members.
Doug Kirtz, Board President, presided over the meeting. He welcomed those in attendance and thanked them for attending citing the Co-op’s Annual Meeting as a milestone to be celebrated. He went on to say that the Board of Directors were grateful to be able to gather again as a membership after what was a long and sometimes difficult year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also spoke to the vital role elections play in the democracy of the Cooperative and thanked those who voted in this year’s balloting.
The Co-op’s CEO, Ron Meier, provided a year in review for McLeod Co-op Power. He referenced 2020 as a challenging year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Co-op’s employees were recognized for persevering through those challenges. He also reported that during 2020 the cooperative invested over $1-million-dollars totaling 22 miles of powerline improvements. Members heard that the Cooperative’s new headquarters was completed in 2020. The facility project came in both on time and on budget with the building opening in August of 2020. Additionally, 2020 rebates and grants to members totaling $114,900 were highlighted.
Great River Energy (GRE) President and CEO, David Saggau, addressed the membership in a prerecorded video. Mr. Saggau began his address by reiterating GRE’s focus on Rates, Reliability, and Environmental Stewardship. It was shared that wholesale power rates remain very competitive with GRE’s wholesale power rate in 2020 being roughly 10% below the weighted regional average cost of electricity. He went on to review GRE’s decision to sell or close Coal Creek Station and the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Transmission Line noting the economic advantages involved with this decision. To replace Coal Creek Station, GRE will be adding over 900 MW of cost-effective wind resources and natural gas peaking plants. His closing remarks noted that GRE retired $25-million dollars in capital credits to the members in 2020 and began providing bill credits to its members in May of 2021.Click to View the Full GRE Message
Steph Jakel, Manager of Finance, then provided the financial report for 2020. She was pleased to report that there is not a planned rate increase for 2021 making three consecutive years with no rate increases. She also noted that the Co-op saw good sales in 2020 and is projecting an increase of Kilowatt-hours sold for 2021 with current demand and potential growth in the region. The Cooperative ended 2020 financially sound with a clean audit report. Additional information was provided related to tree trimming expenses as well as capital expenses with converting powerlines from overhead to underground. Members also heard that the cooperative returned Capital Credits of over $350,000 to members.
Dan Ehrke, Member Services Manager, provided an overview of the Cooperative’s new SmartHub account management tool. The software through a web browser or smartphone allowing members to pay their bills electronically, view usage history, receiving notifications, and report outages. SmartHub is a free service for members that may be interested in registering for this service.
Operation Round Up Trust Board Member, Cheryl Bielke, announced that since Operation Round Up began in 2004 the program has awarded nearly $150,000 to local organizations. This year 23 applications were received. Twenty projects received funds for a total of $22,000.
Another important aspect of the meeting included the Nominating Committee sharing the election results with the membership. The candidates being elected by the membership included Doug Kirtz of District Four, Allan Duesterhoeft of District Five, and Gary Burdorf of District Six.
After CEO Ron Meier fielded various questions from the membership, a motion was made, seconded, and carried to adjourn the meeting. With the meeting adjourned, the attendance door prizes were announced. The winner of the Grand Prize, a 21” EGO Power Lawn Mower, was Donald Sturges of rural Hutchinson. Guests were then treated to a lunch by Chef Craig Catering.Download the 2020 Annual Report