Cooperative holds 86th annual meeting

 

TAYLOR ELECTRIC HOLDS 86TH ANNUAL MEETING

 

After two years of outdoor, drive-in style annual meetings due to COVID, Taylor Electric Cooperative returned to an in-person format this year, with approximately 225 members and guests gathering June 28 at the Stetsonville Community Center.  Members were treated to a chicken dinner with all the fixings.

            President and CEO Ken Ceaglske reported on a positive 2021 for the co-op, with a slight decrease in kilowatt-hour sales matched by slightly lower expenses, and favorable conditions at Dairyland Power leading to more than $200,000 in Power Cost Adjustment credits that were passed on to members directly through bills. Ceaglske also noted that the co-op returned nearly $450,000 in capital credits last year, bringing Taylor Electric’s total capital credit retirement to date to $8.5 million. In addition, favorable financial markets allowed the co-op to refinance a few loans, which will result in long-term savings.

            Ceaglske also credited the co-op’s new digger derrick truck, on display in front of the Community Center for members to see, with enabling crews to complete line construction and replacements/upgrades much more quickly and efficiently than they could have otherwise.

Reliability had been on track to be at record levels until December’s freak storm with ice and high winds that toppled trees from well outside the right-of-way, tripling the co-op’s outage time in just three days.

Looking ahead, Ceaglske cautioned that although the co-op’s financial outlook for 2022 is good, the markets have changed since the early months of the year, and the co-op will be looking into a cost-of-service and rate-structure study this fall.

Guest speaker John Carr, VP of Strategic Growth at Dairyland Power Cooperative, addressed those changing markets. He explained how the regional energy market MISO, of which Dairyland is part, operates, and how the drive to reduce carbon emissions has led to a rapid pace of coal plant retirements. This coal, he added, has been largely replaced with natural gas, which is subject to volatile price swings, and renewable sources such as wind and power, which are intermittent, leaving the region vulnerable to rolling blackouts this summer.

Carr emphasized that blackouts are not imminent, but rather the chance of them occurring are greater this summer than they were last summer.

He also emphasized that the situation underscores the need for a methodical, long-term plan for transitioning to a lower-carbon future. “Moving too fast has consequences,” he said.

Carr’s presentation generated a slew of thoughtful questions from members ranging from the potential of hydro and nuclear to the effects of the growth of EVs on the energy industry.

Director elections resulted in one new board member, as JoAnn Smith reached her term limits. Board Chairman Brian Hallgren presented a plaque to Smith thanking her for serving 15 years as a board member. Incumbent Lisa Kohn was returned to her seat for another term, and David Makovsky was newly elected.

Members also passed three bylaw amendments. 

Prizes included a $100 electric bill credit, Parkfest tickets and various gift certificates from local businesses.  Medford Motors brought in a Ford F-150 EV Truck as well as the Ford Mustang Mach-E for members to view and ask questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Board Chairman Brian Hallgren presented a plaque to JoAnn Smith for 15 years of service as a director.