North Baltimore, OH – Sept. 24, 2014 – On Saturday, Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative members gathered at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green to hear updates about the operation of their cooperative; learn the results of trustee elections; vote on proposed bylaw revisions and enjoy the music of chart-topper Jason Michael Carroll and local vocalist Gabrielle Calvert.
William P. Kale of Portage was elected to begin serving on the Hancock-Wood Board of Trustees while James Demler and Tom Kagy each won re-election. President and CEO George Walton told members that the cooperative is continuing its $2.75 million work plan.
“We’re strategically investing in projects that provide future value for our members,” Walton said. He noted the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SDACA) distribution automation system has reduced the duration of outages by 34 minutes per outage, per member. “This is a significant milestone for our members,” Walton said. In addition, Walton said the cooperative has decreased the cost of trimming from $3,000 per mile of line down to $900.
Walton received a round of applause when he told members the cooperative was “not projecting any rate increases for the next several years.” He concluded his remarks by asking the members to join in the fight against proposed Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas regulations and becoming part of the Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) Co-op Owners for Political Action.
“You can help by becoming part...This political action committee is your political action committee,” Walton said. “Please consider joining today. The real power comes from you.”
Chairman Ed Crawford echoed Walton’s concerns about pending EPA regulations. “We’re facing regulations that could shut down our coal plants and raise rates for all our members,” Crawford said. “We’re estimating that $40 to $50 per month is what your electric bill would go up.” He urged members to fill out cards at the meeting asking the EPA to reconsider its proposals and also encouraged them to join the co-op owners’ PAC.
Ohio Sen. Randy Gardner and Ohio Rep. Tim Brown addressed the meeting and presented the cooperative with a commendation for 76 years of service. U.S. Rep. Bob Latta spoke about issues facing the U.S. energy sector and the good work the cooperative has done. Rachel Wenzinger, who was selected by her peers to represent Ohio on the NRECA Youth Leadership Council, spoke about what she learned on this past summer’s Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. Members were able to vote on changes to the Hancock-Wood bylaws during the meeting and approved amendments addressing trustee residency requirements; meeting attendance for trustees, and making minor corrections to language and formatting in the bylaws.
The evening came to a close with a performance from Carroll whose first album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart in 2007. He has a total of five top 40 hits.
Contributions from sponsors Quality Lines, Inc., Clouse Construction, Powerline Supply Company, Clouse Electric, First Federal Bank, Utility Systems Engineering, Legacy Farmers Cooperative, Meijer, Perry ProTech, SmartBill, Vegetation Technology Services, Campbell Inc., and CoBank allowed the co-op to waive an initial ticket fee for the event.
Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative, established April 20, 1938, serves more than 10,000 members with more than 13,000 accounts in portions of Hancock, Wood, Allen, Erie, Hardin, Henry, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties. Throughout the cooperative’s history, HWEC has delivered reliable, affordable services and supported local causes through charitable contributions, volunteerism and other activities to make a positive impact within the communities it serves. For more information, visit the Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative web site at www.hwe.coop or call 800-445-4840