Western Illinois Electrical Coop. holds 82nd annual meeting
CARTHAGE – Members of Western Illinois Electrical Coop. (WIEC) gathered Thursday, June 23 at the Hancock County Extension Center for their co-op’s 82nd Annual Meeting of Members. Before WIEC leadership provided updates, members were treated to a ribeye sandwich dinner and music by sibling pianists Katie, Anna and Luke Biery.
In his report, Manager Todd Grotts said that while WIEC has come a long way in its 80-plus years, it is facing many challenges. “The energy industry is amid one of the most challenging periods in history,” he said. “As the pace of change continues to accelerate, grid regulators and operators are beginning to identify elevated reliability risks. Rapidly changing resource mixes and more frequent extreme weather events are among the biggest challenges to reliability.”
In addition, Grotts explained that federal and state legislatures have created mandates that are forcing the industry into a new era. “This is not an argument against the transition but a recognition that, without a collective focus, system reliability faces risk that is essential to our economy as well as the health and safety of its population,” he explained.
Further, Grotts discussed what WIEC is doing at the co-op level and how it is managing reliability for its members. “We know how important reliability is to our members and we will continue to invest in making improvements to our system that will increase reliability to you the member,” Grotts said. WIEC is constantly working on reliability through vegetation management, pole and line inspections, daily general maintenance, and substation maintenance.
“WIEC will continue to carry on the legacy and traditions of the past 82 years,” Grotts said. “We would like to thank you for your support over the past year. I would also like to thank our dedicated employees who continue to work hard to provide safe and reliable service to our members.”
Board Treasurer Janet Spory reported that WIEC had a strong year with margins of more than $465,000. Profits made by the co-op are referred to as margins, which are allocated to each member in proportion to the value of the electricity they purchase.
Spory explained, “Margins are reinvested into the co-op for a period of time prior to being returned to the members to avoid or reduce interest charges related to borrowing other funds. The retirement of capital credits is a tangible demonstration of the financial value of your ownership in WIEC.”
In the past year, the board authorized the return of nearly $254,000 in general capital credit retirements to current and former WIEC members.
During the meeting, members voted to approve changes to the bylaws. The changes decrease the number of members necessary to constitute a quorum for the business meeting from 150 to 100 members and increase the number a member can vote by proxy from three to five.
Board President Kent Flesner retired from the board effective at the end of the meeting and was thanked for his years serving WIEC members. “I want to thank you for allowing me to serve on the WIEC board. We have super people with whom to work. It has been a good ride. Stay involved, be safe at all times and be sure to come back next year,” he said.
Taking Flesner’s place on the board, Stephen Patrick of Carthage was elected to represent District 4. Mark Burling of Carthage was re-elected to represent District 5.
At the end of the meeting, prizes were drawn. Five grand prize winners received 1,000 kWh of free electricity.
Western Illinois Electrical Coop. is a member of Touchstone Energy® — an alliance of more than 700 local, consumer-owned electric utilities around the country. The co-op is committed to providing superior service based on four core principles: integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community. The co-op serves more than 3,600 meters over 1,220 miles of line in Adams, Hancock, Henderson and McDonough counties. For more information visit www.wiec.net.