During Norris Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting, the following directors were elected, or re-elected: From left are: re-elected Director Dave Sheppard of Newton, newly elected directors Ted Helmink of Teutopolis and Kurt Holscher of Palestine re-elected Director Justin Parcel of Martinsville, and Manager Keith McKinney.
Members of Norris Electric Cooperative recently met for their 78th annual meeting. At the meeting they announced successful candidates for the Norris Electric board of directors, and were updated on the cooperative’s finances, power supply, and upgrades to its infrastructure.
At the meeting it was reported that the cooperative is in good financial condition. Although margins were slightly lower 2015 than in 2014, the co-op was still able to retire capital credits totaling nearly $900,000 for the years 1981 and 1972, without raising rates. Additionally, it was noted that Norris’ electric rates are consistently some of the lowest among cooperatives in the state.
Nick Reitz, vice president of government relations at the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, thanked the audience for being part of a grassroots effort that was successful in sending 1.2 million comments to the USEPA promoting an “all-of-the-above” strategy to support the use of coal, oil and renewable energy for the nation’s power needs. He announced with relief that this week the U.S. Supreme Court had temporarily blocked regulation meant to limit emissions from coal-fired power plants.
State Senator Dale Righter, who represents the local 55th district, also voiced concerns regarding the push for renewables, saying common sense needs to dictate its direction. In addition, he addressed Illinois’ budget crisis, “Spending more than we take in and creating more programs we can’t manage was not the direction to go, and we need to change directions. We need to balance budgets every year,” he said. He added that both he and Rep. Reis are working with Illinois’ new governor to find a solution to the months-long budget stalemate, and “that we need a change in the economic climate to ensure our policies don’t push people away who want to invest in Illinois and bring jobs to the state.”
With increasingly complicated issues facing electric cooperatives, board director education is now more important than ever before. President Gordon McClure said Norris Electric takes this seriously. With the exception of the two directors who recently joined the board, the remaining nine have achieved the Certified Credential Director certificate. McClure said, “The directors attend courses beyond what are required for this certificate and stay in close contact with industry standards and legislative issues that may affect the cooperative.”
The co-op continues to install and upgrade miles of line both above-ground and underground, and it built a substation to service a new natural gas pipeline near Altamont.
To help control costs, the co-op now enables members to monitor their daily and hourly electrical use via the Internet. Members are continuing to sign up for prepaid billing. This allows them to monitor their electric use, and pay “as they go,” rather than monthly.
During the meeting, Justin Parcel of Martinsville, and Dave Sheppard of Newton were re-elected to the co-op’s board of directors. Kurt Holscher of Palestine was elected to replace longtime director Frank Draper, who retired from the board. Ted Helmink of Teutopolis was elected, replacing his father, Joseph Helmink, who passed away late last year. Draper was honored with a plaque for his service on the board, and Helmink accepted a similar plaque on behalf of his late father.
The co-op serves more than 19,371 meters over 4,081 miles of line in parts of Clark, Crawford, Cumberland, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland and Wabash counties. For more information, visit www.norriselectric.com. Norris Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.