Fredericksburg, Va. – Member-owners attending Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s (REC) 72nd Annual Meeting on Saturday, Aug. 14 had the opportunity to meet and vote on the candidates for the Board of Directors and to pose questions to the Cooperative’s management. During the Annual Meeting, employees also exhibited information at over 21 display booths about the Cooperative’s reliability, safety, efficiency and community involvement.
In addition to receiving a general business and financial update, members elected, by acclamation, Frank B. Boxley, Jr. and Linda R. Gray for three-year terms. Frank B. Boxley, Jr., a resident of Louisa County has served on REC’s Board since 1989 and has completed the Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) Certificate program, through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Linda R. Gray was elected to REC’s board of directors in 1998. She currently serves as secretary of the Board and is on several cooperative board standing committees. A native of Caroline County, Ms. Gray resides in the Sparta community.
In REC’s contested election, members voted by ballot between Robert G. Marmet and Thomas T. Grady. With over 85 percent of the votes, members elected Mr. Grady to continue serving as REC’s Region II Director. Mr. Grady, who resides in Fauquier, has been an REC member for over twelve years and recently completed his first year representing the members of Region II on REC’s Board. He has completed several courses and is working towards a Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) Certificate through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Marmet, a Piedmont Environmental Council energy policy lawyer, campaigned heavily in Clarke County for the REC director position.
“I’d like to congratulate Thomas Grady for his win for the Region II representative on the REC Board of Directors” Marmet said in a written statement on Monday. “Thank you to the volunteers who worked tirelessly on my behalf for their energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to the cause. I’d also like to thank the REC members who voted for me for their support throughout my campaign.”
Members also learned about the challenges and accomplishments from 2009 and 2010. Kent D. Farmer, REC’s president and CEO said, “The acquisition is behind us, and the transition has begun. This has been a smooth process, successfully carried out by an extremely qualified and dedicated workforce.”
The acquisition of Allegheny Power resulted in REC becoming Virginia’s largest electric cooperative and its third largest electric utility. In one moment, REC experienced more than 20 years of growth. Farmer said, “REC saw the decision to work with Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative to purchase Allegheny Power’s Virginia territory as an opportunity to grow the Cooperative business and to reduce per-unit operating costs for members.”
REC and its members were reminded just how much impact the weather can have on our electrical system. “Record-setting snowstorms hit our service area this past February, causing millions of dollars in damages to the distribution system. This resulted in many cold, powerless hours for our members,” explained Farmer. “REC employees endured almost unbearable conditions as they worked to restore power to every member.”
Farmer also mentioned future challenges that REC is facing such as power supply options, legislation that affects the electric industry and environmental concerns. Through the efforts of REC’s skilled workforce, the Cooperative will continue to make decisions that benefit the members.
Jack Reasor, president and CEO of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), REC’s generation supply source, discussed the proposed construction of an electric generation facility called Cypress Creek Power Station. Reasor stated, “Our primary responsibility and challenge is to provide reliable, environmentally balanced power at the lowest possible cost. The demand for electricity continues to grow, and we recognize that the two ways we can meet that growth is through energy efficiency and maintaining a diverse portfolio of assets and contracts.”
Reasor explained to REC’s members that the lowest cost electricity that can ever be delivered is the electricity that is never used. He said, “Even if all of us reduce usage, we are still going to have a higher demand for electricity in the future than we do today. We cannot just rely on one source of energy; we have to have other alternatives.” ODEC continues evaluating the possibility of building a coal plant, but no final decision has been made.
Although Marmet will not be joining the REC Board of Directors this term, he said that he plans to stay active on the Cypress Creek Power Station issue.
“Despite the fact that I am disappointed that I won’t be joining the board, I am encouraged by the conversations I had with the CEO and other board members at Saturday’s Annual Meeting. They have assured me that their top priority is improving energy efficiency measures within the coop, so I look forward to seeing these new programs implemented within the coming year. As a REC member, I would also like to see the newly-elected board make a firm commitment to transparency and accountability in its decision-making, particularly regarding financial decisions. It is my hope that the board members recognize that REC members care about our coop and are invested in its future, and share my concern about the proposed $6 billion Hampton Roads coal plant and its effects on both REC and the town of Dendron. I hope to have the opportunity to work closely with the board and the membership at large as we build a sustainable energy future for REC and the Commonwealth” Marmet said
According to Reasor, ODEC is convinced that with the technology available to them, if they do build the plant it will be the cleanest coal plant in the United States, and costs for the plant will be distributed to approximately half a million member-owners.