Southeastern Electric Cooperative’s annual membership meeting was held at the Lennox High School on June 6, 2019.
A delicious supper was served to more than 1,100 members/guests by Central Catering, Hawarden, Iowa. Lennox City Mayor Tracy West gave the Welcoming Address and Pastor Jeff Spencer gave the invocation. Director Daryl Terveen announced that he had checked with the registration desk and there were approximately 455 members registered for the annual meeting. Having established a quorum of at least 50 members, it was in legal session to act on the business to come before the meeting.
President Don Heeren gave his report on the 2018 operations of the cooperative and remarked that this year’s theme is “Energizing Our Cooperative Future,” Heeren stated, “There are different ways to interpret this theme.” Heeren explained that one way is by keeping our distribution system energized so that it delivers reliable, quality electric service at the flip of a switch. Another way to interpret it is to engage our younger members in the co-op and help them recognize the cooperative difference and the cooperative philosophies that are the rock and foundation of the business model we use to provide quality electric service. “Efforts to educate our membership about the benefits of the cooperative business model are ongoing and are crucial to keeping our membership energized now and into the future.” stated Heeren. He also mentioned some legislative issues that are facing co-ops. He explained that electric cooperatives of South Dakota initiated legislation to amend the law governing the territorial boundaries of electric utilities. The proposed change would eliminate the ability of municipal electric systems to take service territory away from neighboring co-ops or investor-owned utilities through annexation. “Hopefully, representatives from each side of this issue can work toward a compromise acceptable to both sides.” said Heeren.
After Heeren recognized the board of directors, Manager Schardin and Attorney Alan Peterson, he announced that Lynell Hofer of District 2 is retiring from the board and is not seeking re-election after 31 years of service to Southeastern Electric. Heeren recognize Lynell for the years of dedicated and exceptional service throughout his tenure representing his district.
Treasurer Pat Scheier gave the Treasurer’s Report. In his report, Scheier noted that SEC has seen significant growth in consumers served in the last few years. “Along with the growth of members served, we’ve seen record kilowatt-hour purchases during 2018.” stated Scheier. He also touched on the cost of wholesale power, new construction cost and upgrades to our members and how SEC has done a good job managing our finances so we can continue to refund our members in capital credits. A general refund of $1.5 million was issued back to our membership in 2018.
Scheier concluded, “I’m happy to report that 2018 was an excellent year for Southeastern and will enable us to maintain competitive retail rates and that the 2018 financial statements audited by Eide Bailly issued a “clean” opinion.”
General Manager Brad Schardin gave his presentation by reviewing the activities of the cooperative to the membership. Schardin talked about recent challenges for Southeastern because of the number of retirements and the sudden death of Accountant/Work Order Clerk Curt Anderson. “This year we will be going through a lot of employee changes. Our members will be seeing a lot of new faces at Southeastern this year and in the years to come,” said Schardin. He also touched on the financial status of Southeastern.
Schardin concluded his report on how our membership is becoming more technology focused and how Southeastern is embracing the changes and challenges that go along with those types of demands from our younger membership. He commented, “Most of our younger members use cell phones and portable devices to do most everything these days. From shopping to paying their electric bills online, that’s why it’s so important that Southeastern keep up with the times.”
Attorney Allan Peterson announced that Robert Wollmann won the election and will represent District 2 for a three-year term due to Lynell Hofer’s retirement. John Ostraat, District 5, and Steve Holmberg, District 8, ran unopposed and were both re-elected for another three-year term.
Following the close of the meeting, prizes were given away. Richard Hill of Canton was the winner of the $500 grand prize, Cindy Havelaar of Hudson won the MECO electric grill and Sue Nipe of Sioux Falls was the recipe drawing winner.
The board of directors and the employees of Southeastern Electric would like to thank everyone who attended this year’s annual meeting.