To keep our members, directors, and employees safe, we recently completed three District Meetings in a virtual fashion. I was extremely pleased that attendance remained fairly close to that of our traditional in-person meetings. That is a testament to the flexibility of our members and their desire to remain engaged with Lake Region Electric Cooperative. Thank you for your interest in learning more about your cooperative. We are glad you carved out time to participate from the comfort of your homes.
The online-only meetings were held in Districts 1, 4, and 7. Leadership in a cooperative comes from the grassroots. Members participated in the democratic process of nominating candidates for the Board of Directors. A very special thank you goes to all those who expressed a desire to run for election. Member control through democratic self-governance is a hallmark of our cooperative.
Additionally, the meetings included updates on some issues important to our core business. A foremost aim is to always be good fiscal stewards. Probably the best news we delivered during the District Meetings concerned rate stability. We foresee no need to raise electric rates this year because of the strategic actions we have taken. The creation of new revenue streams has had a positive impact on cooperative finances. Our natural gas venture, Lake Region Energy Services, is going strong and within three years from its inception the venture is turning a profit.
Our innovative wind-solar hybrid project, located in Trondhjem Township, is directly interconnected into a distribution feeder of the rural Erhard Substation. It saves approximately $250,000 annually in purchased wholesale energy costs. All of the output is utilized locally by our cooperative members.
The reliability of electric service is always a priority. We are using new technology, known as Exacter, in a preventative and proactive way. Exacter is used to identify potential trouble spots before an outage occurs, allowing our crews to make preemptive repairs. This, of course, makes a safer situation for linemen who can do the work during daylight hours as part of their regular duties instead of reacting to a failed piece of equipment at night or during inclement weather.
Lake Region Electric Cooperative keeps its members as the center of its focus. The last major piece of business conducted during the meetings was a discussion of the record $1,685,230 retirement of Capital Credits in 2020. Since 1937, more than $32 million has been paid to members. Through our system of Capital Credits, Lake Region members are sharing in the financial success of the cooperative. Returning this money to our members helps support the economies of local communities. Additionally, the cooperative has demonstrated the cooperative principle of Concern for Community by providing members with a $25 COVID Relief credit on their January 2021 electric bills.