Norris Electric Cooperative Holds Annual Meeting

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Published on February 11 2014 2:31 pm
Last Updated on February 12 2014 3:52 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

In the midst of one of the coldest and snowiest winters the area has seen in decades, Norris Electric Cooperative held its 76th annual meeting of members Saturday at Newton Community High School. The members, who filled the gym floor seating, heard reports on snow-related outages, the power contract with Southern Illinois Power Cooperative and the addition of a large compressor station that will increase the cooperative’s peak load.

Retiring Board President Larry Seals informed members this is the final year of a major rate increase due to the power contract with Southern Illinois Power. He pointed out Norris Electric rates are still the third lowest in the state and might fall lower as other cooperative’s 2014 rates are known.

Seals also announced that after 17 years on the board, he thought it was time to let someone else take on the role. “I certainly enjoyed my time on the board,” said Seals. “I have met many members and worked with some other great directors and certainly made new friends.”

Cooperative Manager Keith McKinney explained the restoration process after the January 5 storm that left more than 5,000 members without power.

McKinney also addressed how natural gas prices are predicted to increase, just as those of propane have done. He reminded members how there has been a shift from coal-fired power plants to natural gas-fired power plants.

“Some areas of the country will see electricity prices increase as the cost to produce electricity with natural gas goes up,” said McKinney. “We do not see that affecting us too much since the majority of our power is still generated by coal.”

A new agreement with a natural gas pipeline for a large compressor station was announced by McKinney. “That load will increase our peak load by 25 percent and will give us more clout in purchases and should overall lower our rates or keep them from going up as much,” he said. That new load is expected to come on line at the end of 2015.

Board Treasurer Dean Dietrich reported that the cooperative had revenue of $39,590,265, expenses totaling $36,855,104 and Net Patronage Capital and Margins of $2,900,981 used for construction projects that increased the cooperative’s plant value.

During the meeting, retiring Board President Larry Seals was presented with a plaque in honor of his years of service at the cooperative. Because there were no contested board positions, results of the board of director’s election were announced. Dan Strine of Wabash County was newly-elected and Dean Dietrich of Richland County and Ron Viehman of Lawrence County were re-elected; all to three-year positions on the board.

Norris Electric Cooperative is a member of Touchstone Energy — an alliance of 750 local, consumer-owned electric utilities around the country. The co-op serves more than 19,313 meters over 4,072 miles of line in parts of Clark, Crawford, Cumberland, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland and Wabash counties. For more information, visit Norris Electric online.