2021 Southwest Texas Annual Membership Meeting Recap

2021 Southwest Texas Annual Membership Meeting Recap

SWTEC Annual Meeting Gives Members Options

 

Automobiles lined up for the 2021 Annual Membership
Meeting Drive-Thru Option
BEFORE SOUTHWEST TEXAS Electric Cooperative’s 2021 annual

 meeting August 10, co-op staff prepared for members who would choose a drive-thru option for casting their ballots in the board election and picking up a barbecue dinner to-go. Drivethru tent stations were set up in the parking areas and streets around the Schleicher County Courthouse in Eldorado. More than 130 co-op members made use of the drive-thru, and co-op staff served 345 takeout meals to members and their families in their vehicles—an indication the co-op board and management made the right decision when considering the safety of co-op members and staff. Even with the high level of participation in the drive-thru option, McGowen Catering Service of San Angelo and co-op employees served 700 additional meals to co-op members and other attendees of the in-person portion of the meeting on the courthouse lawn. More than 100 members attended the in-person session.

As the co-op’s 75th annual meeting began, board Secretary
Sam Henderson Jr. declared a quorum and said meeting attendees
could therefore legally conduct the business of the co-op. Buff Whitten, Southwest Texas EC’s general manager, spoke about the impact of February’s historic polar vortex on co-op service and its finances. He praised all co-op staff for how well they responded to the challenges brought on by the savage winter storm. “We’ve never seen such extreme conditions,” Whitten said. “I was a lineman myself for about 10 years, and I can tell you how tough it is to work when it is zero degrees with a 20-mph north wind and it’s snowing.”
 
Kurtis Homer of SWTEC hands out barcecue plate during
2021 SWTEC Annual Memberhip Meeting Drive Thru.
Whitten pointed out that Golden Spread Electric Cooperative,
the generation and transmission co-op that delivers Southwest
Texas EC’s wholesale power, accumulated $273 million in excess
power costs during the storm. As one of 16 co-ops that own
Golden Spread EC, SWTEC was assigned an $11 million share
of that cost. But because of the co-op’s 75% equity, Whitten
explained, SWTEC was able to reduce its final cost of power to
$6.7 million.
“For members that use 1,000 kilowatts of electricity each
month, the cost to pay off the debt over 10 years will be about
$2.80 per month,” Whitten said.
Whitten closed his report with lessons learned from the
storm experience. There is no way to predict such a devastating
storm, he said, but the planned implementation of a two-way,
automated metering system will help manage power more
effectively in all conditions.
“We will use social media to keep our members informed
about outages and estimated repair times,” Whitten said.
Steve Williams, vice president of the board, spoke about the
importance of new, younger members stepping forward to join the board. Williams praised co-op staff and management, as well as other members of the board, for how well they handled the February storm. Co-op attorney Scott Frost took the podium to explain the process of electing directors to the board and to present the nominating committee report. The seven-member nominating committee met to review the nominations for the two open board positions, Frost said, and the committee found that three candidates were qualified to serve as directors of SWTEC. Those three candidates were Mary Buchholz, Dawson Owens and Mike Jernigan. Following the counting of ballots, incumbent Buchholz and first-time candidate Owens were declared the winners to serve three-year terms as directors. Williams presented service awards to four co-op employees: Master electrician Rojelio Adame, for 40 years of service; billing clerk Elaine Hinojosa, 20 years; crew chief Michael Faull, 20 years; and receptionist Eleanor Ramon, 10 years. Board President Pat Jackson received recognition with a service award for 10 years as a director.
 
It was just past sunset when the shadows spread across the courthouse lawn and SWTEC member services manager Eddie Albin gathered a group of co-op employees to draw names for more than 60 door prizes, including appliances, tools, gift cards and bill credits. As darkness fell and the last of the prizewinners was announced, co-op members and their families packed up folding chairs and blankets to head for home.
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