79th Annual Meeting mixes fun with business
Samsung Galaxy Tab A
Contixo Quadcopter Drone
32” LED HDTV
Parrot Mambo Drone
Girls Power Wheels Jeep
Our youngest winner at 3 months old, Kearney
Boys Power Wheels Jeep
Cooperative Principle 3 – Members’ economic participation
From the General Manager
Thanks to everyone who attended the 79th Annual Meeting held at the Kearney office, May 11.
Congratulations to our lucky prize winners, whose names were drawn. Tara Burgess won the year or $1500 in electric service and Carol Huntsman and Glen Stone who each won $750 or six months of electric service.
Although there is fun and games at the annual meeting, there also was important business conducted.
Members elected three members to the Board of Directors: Debi Stewart, North District; Gary Shanks, South District; and Robert Ray, West District.
The Board met after the Annual Meeting and elected Debi Stewart president; Kendall Davis, vice president; Theresa Wren, secretary; and Larry Leachman, treasurer.
We appreciate the talent, skills and commitment the board members bring to Platte-Clay.
In response to member requests, this year the co-op gave those attending the meeting the option of picking up their capital credit check, in amounts of more than $15, or having it applied to their account.
Members who registered for the annual meeting also received a $10 credit on their bill.
In keeping with the 7 Cooperative Principles, Members’ Economic Participation, the co-op returned $1.1 million in capital credits to members.
Those who were not at the annual meeting will be receiving their capital credit checks (of more than $15) in June.
The Annual Meeting is always a good time to take stock of where the co-op has been and where it’s going.
Electric power sales fluctuate, depending on the weather. Sales are down a bit, and that’s because of milder winters and summers. We’re beginning to see a bit of growth in the Northland.
Members play an important role in keeping overall demand down, one of the major drivers in the cost of power, and as important, in managing individual household demand costs.
We’ve seen a drop in energy use—the average co-op member now pays for 1,230 kWh a month, down from 1,428 kWh a month in 2010. It’s a tribute to both members managing energy use by using more efficient lighting, heating and cooling plus simply making saving energy a household focus.
We want to thank all of the members who spent May 11 with the co-op and who participated in Annual Meeting activities.
I especially want to thank the members who stayed for the first Annual Meeting Town Hall that followed the business meeting. Both the Board and staff had a great discussion with the members who participated. We believe it was time well spent and anticipate additional Town Hall meetings throughout the service area.
We hope to see you at next year’s Annual Meeting.
If you have questions or concerns, please e-mail me, email@example.com
Board and staff members stayed after the Annual Meeting for the Town Hall session.
79th Annual Meeting
Dave Deihl, far left and Debi Stewart, far right, presented electric service prize checks. Above: 1, grand prize winner, one year or $1500 maximum electric service, Tara Burgess shown with her family; 2 and 3, six months or $750 electric service, 2, Glen Stone; and 3, Carol Huntsman, all of Kearney. Winning the Cummins Onan Generator, Mary Brown, of Holt, who entered the Board of Directors booth drawing.
Above Left: Members used new electronic voting machines this year. Above Right, a member checks her capital credit check records. The co-op returned $1.1 million in capital credits this year.
Above Left, convenient trams picked up members at or near their vehicles and brought them to the headquarters warehouse. Above Right, say cheese. Kids enjoyed a light picnic supper before registering for prizes and enjoying the carnival.
Mike Torres officially retired May 12, the day following the co-op’s Annual Meeting.
“Retire” is a funny word and doesn’t at all describe Mike Torres.
He has an active, full and rich life, including any number of hobbies and board positions outside of his role as Platte-Clay’s chief executive officer. And most important, a wife and five children and several grandchildren to fill his days and help plan his trips.
His time at Platte-Clay started 20 years ago. After a national search, the Board of Directors named Mike Torres the third general manager in 1997.
He had managed a Colorado rural electric cooperative, Delta-Montrose Electric Assoc. (DMEA) based in Delta, Colo., after serving as its controller for two years. In his management role he pulled the struggling co-op back from the brink of bankruptcy to solvency and increased member satisfaction from 76 to 98 percent in the time he was there, 1983-1996.
His time at Platte-Clay is highlighted with a number of industry challenges that marks him as an industry leader and Platte-Clay as one of Missouri’s most progressive cooperatives.
Of note —
He started an aggressive, yet fiscally-responsible capital improvements program to replace the oldest and most unreliable parts of the electric distribution system.
A rolling, five-year, methodical brush and tree trimming program in each of the three co-op districts now keeps blinks and outages to a minimum, reflected in the co-op’s American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score for reliability: 9.18 compared to the ACSI regional co-ops’ combined score of 9.10.
His commitment to integrating technology, including an interactive voice response unit to handle multiple member calls, a GIS system identifying every component that makes up the distribution system and laptops in all of the service trucks add to the co-op’s speed and reliability in determining and repairing damage.
Today Platte-Clay is Missouri’s top-ranked rural electric co-op for providing reliable service.
He strongly supported and encouraged energy efficiency—to save member’s household dollars and to avoid the cost of building an additional power plant with projected costs of at least a billion dollars.
Truly a “numbers guy,” Mike used numbers—generated by the American Consumer Service Index surveys–to better understand what co-op members feel is important and worked to meet those needs and as a result, improve those numbers.
More recently, for example, he insisted on three surveys to affirm interest in solar energy. As part of the solar project, Mike sent staff members to industry meetings to meet with suppliers and to gain a broader understanding of how a community solar array could be integrated into co-op operations.
In addition, because of member interest and requests for Platte-Clay to sell residential solar applications, co-op employees constructed the 100 kW solar array co-located at the co-op’s headquarters. Their understanding has paid off when employees check a member’s solar site before signing off on the net metering agreement.
In 2016, Mike proposed and the Board of Directors approved a move to demand billing, again placing the co-op among the first in Missouri and an early adopter among all U.S. utilities making that significant operational change: a decision based on numbers and innovation.
Mike personally led the charge and the co-op started a comprehensive member communications plan that included monthly manager’s columns, newsletter articles, advertising, interviews, a web site-based video, a special demand booth at the annual meeting in 2016 and 2017, a personal pre-business meeting review and community meetings in each of the co-op districts.
Today members understand how to manage demand to keep their costs down. As a result of moving to demand billing, whatever the future brings, higher- or lower-cost energy, fairly recouping costs via demand charges will pay for maintaining the co-op infrastructure.
Interesting, although not entirely surprising, the demand rate structure now is becoming a trendy topic of seminars, webinars and workshops.
Mike has been good for co-op members, for the communities and organizations in the service area and for other Missouri co-ops and their members.
We’re certain that his family, friends, hobbies and organizations are going to happily fill his days.
Thanks, Mike, it’s been a great 20 years.
Our shared commitment
One of the best things about Platte-Clay is how we keep in touch with one another so we all gain an understanding of important issues. And one of the best ways to get a measurement of how members feel is through surveys.
Every three years the co-op paticipates in an American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey. In the last survey, there were a couple of environment-related questions. The questions asked members to share their feelings on climate change, it asked how much members would be willing to pay to support the Clean Power Plan to fight climate change and if climate change was an issue.
Not long after that, the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute also conducted a survey asking its participants about climate change and how much more they would be willing to pay on their electric bill to help the environment.
The results were almost identical: 40 in 100 in the University of Chicago survey said they wouldn’t pay a dollar more to combat climate change; 50 in 100 Platte-Clay members said they wouldn’t pay more to combat climate change.
Interesting, also in the a large majority, 77 out of 100, in the University of Chicago survey said climate change is happening, and the government should take steps to address it. Platte-Clay’s question was “are you concerned about the environment/climate change,” and an identical 77 out of 100 said yes.
Because of the strong response found in both member and national surveys, the co-op continues to work on environmental issues and has taken important steps to address climate change.
The most obvious co-op response to environmental concerns is Solartech, the first co-op community solar array in Missouri, and one of the first 100 in the U.S. Providing energy generated by the sun is one sure way to combat climate change and demonstrate the co-op membership’s support for the environment.
Although the Solartech dashboard is constantly updating, since it was built and began operation in the spring of 2015, the energy it has generated has saved 268 tons of CO2 – while generating more than 373,500 kilowatt hours of energy. As a point of information, the average Platte-Clay member uses 1230 kWh a month. For those interested in data, the Solartech dashboard can be found on the co-op web site, www.pcec.coop
And there are more benefits from the solar array. Building Solartech using the Platte-Clay line crews, technicians and engineering staff provided a practical learning experience so employees now have a thorough understanding of the complexities involved with installing a solar array, including safety features and interconnection issues.
Solartech is the most obvious result of the co-op’s concern for the environment and in fact, its environmental policy.
Although the co-op always has followed state and federal environmental rules and regulations, in 2005 the Board developed a formalized environmental plan that has been revised and updated three times, in 2011, 2015 and 2017, as part of routine policy reviews.
The goals and objectives of the plan are clear:
“As a consumer-owned utility, Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative Inc. (PCEC) is committed to a meaningful dialogue with our members concerning the protection of the environment. PCEC will provide affordable, reliable electricity for its customers and also be a good steward of our shared environment. In furtherance of the foregoing, PCEC will:
- Comply with environmental laws and regulations that apply to our operations
- Seek regular member input regarding environmental issues and share such views with N.W. Electric and Associated Electric Cooperative (AECI) (Platte-Clay’s generation and transmission cooperative partners)
- Consider environmental factors in planning and managing our business
- Periodically evaluate our environmental goals and policies
Platte-Clay will be a good member of the community in connection with environmental matters. We hope that our members and affiliates will join us in this effort.”
This policy explains our shared commitment to the environment and to the community we serve.
One of the things we’ll be doing this fall is planting a monarch butterfly garden at the Kearney headquarters. The monarch is endangered because of loss of habitat.
The monarch garden was included in the 2017 business plan—and that is based on the environmental plan – to consider environmental factors in planning and managing our business.
We think that helping an endangered species is a good way to help the environment and is good for our soul.
Operating by the book
Jerry Hagg, West District Board representative and long-time Platte City community leader, retired with the 2017 Annual Meeting. He had been elected to represent the West District since 1991.
Elected to serve a three year term (above, L-R), Debi Stewart, North District; Robert Ray, West District; and Gary Shanks, South District.
New for the 2017 meeting, Platte-Clay members used electronic voting machines to tabulate the three minor by-law amendments and the South District election results.
The electronic voting was a first for the co-op and reinforced the one vote per membership, part of the co-op by-laws.
This year the by-law amendedments included adding electronic communications for directors’ meetings, one saying that the co-op would file required notices with the appropriate governmental agencies and the third saying the co-op will maintain a complete accounting system that complies with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.
Two of the board candidates were uncontested, Debi Stewart (North) and Ray Roberts (West), and were elected by acclaimation.
George Schieber and Gary Shanks were on the ballot for the South District, with long-time Board representative Gary Shanks getting the most votes.
Other meeting notes: energy sales are down because of both mild weather and members are becoming more energy efficient.
The complete annual report is on the web site, www.pcec.coop
The Northland Connection is published monthly by Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, Inc., 1000 W. 92 Highway, Kearney, MO 64060. Postmaster: Please send address changes to: Northland Connection, PO Box 100, Kearney, MO 64060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Platte-Clay is an equal opportunity employer.