CHELCO announcements & events
CHELCO members re-elect three incumbent trustees
Three incumbent trustees were reelected to the CHELCO Board of Trustees, it was announced at the electric cooperative’s annual meeting Saturday, April 22. Members voted by mail prior to the annual meeting.
It was also announced that there would be no base rate increase in 2017. This is the fourth year in a row without a rate increase.
Almost 600 members and their families attended the 76th annual meeting at the CHELCO Operations Center north of DeFuniak Spring on Highway 331. Members enjoyed food, entertainment, exhibits, demonstrations and tethered rides in the Touchstone Energy Balloon. CHELCO is member of Touchstone Energy, a national association of cooperatives that provides marketing, branding and many other support services.
During his report, CEO Steve Rhodes announced that CHELCO will build a tech center to house several of its departments. The announcement was a part of Rhodes’ overall report that highlighted key performance improvements, plus continued cost control measures.
Facilities discussions began in 2011 as the co-op began studying current issues and future needs. The new tech center will be just south of the CHELCO Operations Center. Due to growth, CHELCO now has departments scattered in areas of DeFuniak Springs. The new facility will house departments, such as engineering, metering services, energy control center and power quality, that interact daily with the operations area.
The headquarters building on Baldwin Avenue will continue to house administrative, finance, customer service and marketing functions. That facility will be remodeled after the CHELCO Tech Center is complete.
The theme of Rhodes’ report on the past year was how CHELCO was continuing to control costs while maintaining or improving safety, reliability and service.
The CEO mentioned that through Dec. 31, 2016, CHELCO had 610 days of no lost time accidents. Additionally, the co-op is reaching out to educate the public on electrical safety, providing demonstrations to about 1,200 adults and children in 2016.
He provided a chart that showed that controllable local costs per meter have been in steady decline since 2012. He pointed out that there had been a $1 million rate reduction in 2015, as well as additional $1 million returned to member at the end of 2014 and 2015 due to margins being higher than anticipated.
He added that CHELCO winning the Eglin Air Force Base electrical facilities privatization contract will help keep rates low because some CHELCO costs are allowed to be allocated to Eglin expenses to fulfill that agreement.
Following the business meeting, the Board of Trustees met in a reorganizational meeting and elected the following officers: President Gerald Edmondson; Vice President Pat Carlyle; Secretary/Treasurer Gayle Hughes; and Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Terry Pilcher.
CHELCO CEO Steve Rhodes told members that there will be no base rate increase in 2017 at the co-op's annual membership meeting.