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COMMENTARY ARCHVES
   

FEBRUARY COMMENTARY
by Share Brandt

Annual Meeting Top 10

Here’s a New Year’s resolution for electric cooperative members: This year I will attend the co-op annual meeting.

February marks the beginning of electric co-op annual meeting season for Wisconsin’s member-owned electric companies. Some of you have never attended your cooperative’s annual meeting. Here are the top 10 things you will miss if you continue to stay away!

The Countdown

10: Share a cup of coffee and a cookie, a full breakfast, or lunch with family and friends you haven’t seen lately. Catch up with neighbors you don’t normally see in the course of your workday travels.

9: Expect the unexpected! While members register and wait for the meeting to start they will be entertained in interesting ways. I have listened to polka music; played bingo; watched the line crew give bucket truck rides; witnessed dozens of old refrigerators, stoves, and computers being loaded on a truck for recycling; and looked at interesting displays about wind energy, sealing the air leaks in your house, and electric fireplaces; and watched live-line safety demonstrations where they fried a hotdog at 7,200 volts.

8: Meet and greet your legislators who often show up to visit with constituents during the registration time before the meeting starts. This is your opportunity to talk with them personally about the issues they will vote on in Madison.

7: Register and stay for the meeting and be eligible for a door prize that could be $50 or $100 credit on your electric bill. After the meeting the co-op may hand out a pound of cheese, butter, or CFL bulbs. Register the kids for the children’s program, and they will be amused by a magician or a clown, perhaps a coloring contest, and have a chance to win children’s door prizes.

6: Learn about lower rates for “off-peak” water heating, energy-saving storage heat for the whole house, electric in-floor heat, or other ways to make your home more efficient.

5: Learn what makes your electricity. It is not all coal anymore. Hear from your power supplier how the new power supply is a balance of wind, solar, methane digester, landfill gas, natural gas, coal, and nuclear.

4: Meet your employees and put a face with the name. Shake hands with the general manager. These folks will be at the registration tables, displays, and bustling around making sure the members have a good experience.

3: Find out where the line crews will be rebuilding power lines and upgrading for higher level of service, building a new substation, or doing right-of-way clearing projects to protect public safety and prevent forest fires. You will learn if they are expected in your area in the coming year.

2: During the Q&A session, ask questions you have wondered about but never taken time to call and ask. I have heard questions about why facility charges have increased and energy charges decreased, about what capital credits are and why did I receive a check, and about tree-trimming activities.

1: Exercise your right to vote for the board of directors who will set policy for your electric cooperative. Hear from the candidates before you cast your ballot. The annual meeting is your opportunity to have a voice in your electric co-op business practices.

Electric co-ops were created to solve a common need for rural folks. We got started because of people wanting the same choice—electricity to their homes. Electric co-ops work for members who help make them work for communities. Please join the meeting fun this year.

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