Verendrye holds 77th Annual Meeting
Around 3,000 people attended Verendrye Electric Cooperative’s 77th Annual meeting where members enjoyed food and entertainment, voted for directors and heard from the new manager about his goals for the cooperative.
Randy Hauck, who became manager in May after Bruce Carlson retired, said he wants to continue providing service excellence to the members and keep the cooperative strong. “From outage restoration to billing calls, water heater sales, electric heating equipment or even collection calls, whenever we interact with you the members, I want us to deliver service excellence,” Hauck said.
Hauck also discussed how the EPA’s Clean Power Plan could affect rates, and urged members to join the Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) to help the cooperative support candidates and elected officials who support cooperatives. “The more ACRE members we have, the more it shows our elected officials that we have voting members who want fair treatment and common sense regulations for electric cooperatives,” he said.
Hauck said Verendrye Electric is doing well financially, but a slowdown in the area economy, coupled with lower sales because of a mild winter and little need for grain drying, have put pressure on rates. Revenue in 2015 was $47.6 million, a decrease of $108,000 from 2014. Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Verendrye’s generation cooperative, has indicated a wholesale rate increase will be coming this year.
Board Chairman Blaine Bruner noted that having a diverse membership, which includes about 9 percent of sales to the Air Force, helps the cooperative stay financially strong. Bruner said the cooperative will continue to help save its members money with rebates for water heaters and heat pumps and free energy audits.
Bruner urged members to be more involved in their cooperative. “Please sign up for the next member energy tour to see how electricity is made, stay informed by reading North Dakota Living, like our Facebook and You Tube pages and join ACRE to help us advocate for cooperatives,” he said.
Members also voted for directors. Bruner was re-elected after defeating challenger Mark Knudtson for the Eastern District, and Karen Hennessy (Western District) and Bruce Anderson (Central District), both ran unopposed.
The cooperative is also returning $700,000 in capital credits checks. If your check is at least $5 and you were not at the annual meeting, it will be mailed to you.