Your Annual Meeting
Empire Electric’s 2017 Annual Meeting Recap
Seventy-eight members and their families attended Empire Electric Association's June 15, 2017, annual meeting at the Calvin Denton Room at its headquarters in Cortez. All registered members received a $10 credit on their electric bills.
General Manager Josh Dellinger welcomed attendees and introduced special guests.
Attorney Shay Denning reported on the voting procedures for the open directorships. There was only one candidate from each district who submitted a written petition. Denning announced that Jerry Fetterman (District 1) and Sue McWilliams (District 2) are elected as a matter of law.
Secretary/Treasurer Jerry Fetterman presented the Official Notice of the Annual Meeting as published in area newspapers.
President William Bauer called for approval of the minutes of the June 16, 2016, annual meeting.
Secretary/Treasurer Fetterman reported on the solid financial performance of Empire Electric.
General Manager Josh Dellinger reported that:
- Financials - Empire has exceeded its financial goals and returned over $1.64 million dollars in capital credit in 2016 and another $1.55 million in 2017. The total capital credits returned to members throughout Empire’s history is over $26 million.
- Rates - Members saw a small rate increase in the 2017 grid access charges for single-phase residential, general service and irrigation rate classes. This is the first time since 2013 that these rate classes have seen a general rate increase.
- Power Supply - Nearly eighty percent of Empire’s budget is for wholesale power purchased from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. Tri-State implemented a four percent rate increase in 2017 and preliminary forecasts show a likely four percent increase in 2018. Afterwards, the rate forecast is fairly flat for the following eight or nine years.
- Electric System – Ninety-five new services were added to Empire’s system in 2016 for a .5 percent growth. Overall residential and CO2 kWh deliveries were down, however, there was a slight increase in large commercial energy deliveries due to increased load at the Air Products helium plant. A 21kW income-qualified solar garden was completed in 2016. Empire leveraged existing resources and received grant money from the State of Colorado for this project. A meter upgrade is underway to replace the twenty-year-old Turtle system that has become obsolete and unsupported.
- Reliability – The overall power reliability for our members is 99.97 percent.
- Safety – Empire is part of an inherently dangerous industry and commits to safety. There has not been a lost time accident for over four years and Empire continues to strive for zero future incidents by maintaining and constantly improving its safety culture.
- Community Involvement and Member Services – Empire donated over $150,000 to over 50 organizations and provided an additional $30,000 in sponsorships and giveaways. Scholarship awards totaled $50,000. Partnering with Tri-State, Empire returned over $84,000 in energy efficiency rebates. Andy Carter was hired as the new energy management advisor.
- Website – As electrical energy experts, Empire continues to improve its website by adding relevant information and easy-to-use tools to help members make informed decisions about their energy issues.
- Totten Lake Property – Since 1955, Empire has owned about 80 acres around Totten Lake. It is divided into two sections. The section nearest the lake is under contract to be sold and a plan is in development for a solar farm on the second parcel that could provide a steady revenue stream to Empire for the next 20 years or so.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike McInnes reported that:
- Tri-State is a cooperative, a not-for-profit business that serves its 43 member cooperatives.
- Tri-State’s service territory covers 200,000 square miles and has an average of six to eight members per mile of infrastructure.
- Tri-State makes every effort to reduce costs, be more efficient, and keep rate increases to a minimum. All costs are assessed every year to determine if a rate increase is needed. There was no rate increases in 2015 and 2016. The forecast for 2017 was 11.5 percent; however, Tri-State kept the increase to less than five percent. Factors that contributed to the rate increase included: Basin Electric in North Dakota passed on a 12 percent rate increase to Tri-State mid-year and that had to be offset, the termination of four of the largest non-member contracts, and the closing of Horizon Mine, Nucla Power Plant, and one unit at Craig Station.
- A regulatory win for cooperatives in 2016 was the Clean Power Act being put on hold by the Supreme Court.
President Bauer called for the following: questions or comments on the reports presented, unfinished business, and new business. There was no member response to these questions.
President Bauer called for questions, comments or suggestions from the audience. Two members responded. Mike Conne voiced his concern about the solar array that will be built on an Empire Electric parcel near Totten Lake on Road 29. Ted Ullman just added solar panels to his house and is now net-metered. He thanked Empire employees who worked with him on this project and encouraged the board to promote solar.
Energy Management Advisor Andy Carter conducted the general prize drawing.
President Bauer adjourned the meeting at 6:45 p.m.