We’ve said it often. We’ve said it in a variety of ways, both in words and in actions taken. Lake Region Electric Cooperative is a GRASSROOTS organization.
To me, to truly live out the meaning of “grassroots,” more is required than ownership by our consumer-members. Of course, that’s the cornerstone of our organization. Yet, I feel there are additional fundamental principles that need to be at work, too. These are accountability, accessibility, transparency, self-determination and direction, and ethics. Each are ingredients to building trust. We will continue to be successful in our cooperative’s mission only when there is trust. It’s essential and we pledge to work at earning your trust every day.
Lake Region’s 82nd Annual Meeting, held June 6th, 2019, drove home these points. We had a record turn-out, with approximately 700 members and friends beginning the evening with a delicious meal. The business meeting had 424 registered memberships in attendance, along with more than 100 additional members joining in a live stream webcast! This was the first time we’ve tried live streaming the event and it was very successful. If you missed the event, you can view video highlights at www.lrec.coop/annual-meeting.
Electric cooperatives were founded on the idea that neighbors could work together to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Using technology to live stream the event was just the latest way Lake Region is working to stay accessible to our co-op members.
Rate stability and improvements in service reliability were key achievements during 2018. This required developing clear objectives and maintaining a deep focus on all of the underlying factors. The support of our employees has led to success in cost containment for controllable expenses. Our coordinated work with Great River Energy has led to upgrades in transmission lines and substations. When coupled with our local vegetation management practices, this has resulted in greater electric grid reliability.
During the annual meeting we celebrated other achievements, as well. Financially, we posted record margins. It was also the sixth straight year of at least $1 million in capital credit retirements. We also have potential profitability in just the second year for the natural gas subsidiary and savings from the Hybrid Renewable Energy project. We’re proud of our wind-solar hybrid facility near Erhard — a first of its kind in the nation!
At Lake Region Electric Cooperative, decision making is local. Our co-op policies and strategic imperatives are driven by the local directors who have been elected from and by their local peers. Thank you to all who ran for a seat on the board of directors. Your active involvement is indicative of a healthy and vibrant cooperative. We welcome newly elected director, Mike Brasel, the winner of a four-person race in District 3. He has an engineering background and an MBA which will be beneficial to our board discussions. Congratulations also go to incumbent director Joyce Valley of District 6, elected by acclamation and incumbent director Robert Shaw, elected in a two-person race in District 9.
I hope you’ll agree — this recent annual meeting not only gathered together the people of our diverse co-op membership, but also served as a celebration of the key elements of our grassroots organization. We are working together, working for you!