Members and employees of Coastal Electric Cooperative gathered with the Board of Trustees for the co-op's 79th Annual Meeting held Saturday, October 5th at The Cooperative's headquarters.
Members at the meeting re-elected Mr. James Bunton, Jr. to represent district 2, Mr. Jamey Copeland to represent District 4 and Mr. Jerry Crosby to represent district 5, all three of whom ran unopposed
Members were also asked to consider and vote on two matters that were required as a result of governance reform legislation passed into law earlier in 2019. The first was to consider adoption of proposed bylaw revisions relating to governance transparency and alters annual meetings are to be conducted in the future. The second was to consider single-member voting districts. Coastal Electric is currently divided into nine geographic districts, each district being represented by one trustee on the board. This structure ensures that the entire service territory is represented, giving all members a vote in every district election. Single-member voting districts would restrict members to vote only for board candidates representing the district where the member lives, limiting them to vote every third year. Coastal Electric attorney Manning Unger asked for a motion that the membership approve the Board’s recommendation to adopt the proposed bylaw changes and retain full voting rights for every member in every district. The vote was to accept the proposed bylaw changes and retain full voting rights for every member in every district.
During the meeting, CEO Larry Hinz informed members about McDonough Power’s most recent news. He indicated that Santee Cooper has been the majority wholesale power provider and even with the turmoil surrounding Santee Cooper and the failed nuclear project, wholesale power costs are expected to be stable in 2020. Because of this, he did not expect to raise rates in 2020. This would be the sixth year in a row without a rate increase.
Mr. Hinz shared the following data: that Coastal Electric has a total 11,676 active services, total utility plant grew $1,693,988, from March 31, 2018 to March 31, 2019, total utility plant is just over $62.4 million, which is triple what it was 20 years ago, coastal paid $1.1 million in property taxes to the County last year, and capital credits totaling $201,007 were returned in December of 2018 to members under a plan that was approved by the membership at last year’s annual meeting, returning the same amount per year for a 6-year period.