President's column

Dustin TrippCapital Credit Refund and Smarthub Introduction

Capital Credits

The most profound and distinct difference between electric cooperatives and other utility business structures is that electric cooperatives are not-for-profit organizations that are member-owned and member-controlled. Your Cooperative sets the electric rates high enough to cover the costs of providing service and at the end of the year, any funds that were collected above the cost of service are allocated to you, our members, in the form of capital credits.

These capital credits are retained by the Cooperative and used to build and maintain the infrastructure necessary to serve the members and service the long-term debt of the Cooperative. When the financial condition and cash position of the Cooperative permits, the capital credits are then retired and paid back to you, as members and owners.

I am pleased to inform you, as Cooperative members and owners, that your Cooperative's Board of Trustees approved the retirement and return of $1 million of Capital Credits to the members. The capital credits that were returned were from the years 1979 and 2011. This means that if you were a Cooperative member in either or both of these years, you should have received a check in mid-December for those capital credits.

Dustin TrippRegulatory Update

Over the past several years, your Cooperative has been informing you of pending legislation and new environmental regulations that if enacted would impact the cost of generating electricity.  The most recent development occurred in September with a new proposed regulation by the U.S. EPA.

On September 20, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed carbon pollution standards for coal and natural gas power plants built in the future.  In addition, the EPA announced that it is in the process of engaging with states, stakeholders, and the public to establish carbon pollution standards for currently operating power plants.

The proposed standard would require any new coal-fired generating facility to implement a technology known as carbon capture and storage (CCS).  This technology would require capturing the carbon formed during the generation process, compress it into a liquid form, and transport it via pipeline to a site suitable for injecting it underground permanently without leakage.

Dustin TrippNational Cooperative Month

Since 1964, October has been designated as National Cooperative Month, providing cooperatives with an opportunity to explain the cooperative difference to their members.  In this month’s article, I would like to explain some of the cooperative differences and how it benefits all of us as cooperative members.

As the electric utility industry continues to evolve and face continual change, we can all be proud that we are part of the electric cooperative program.  Electric cooperatives have a very unique business model that provides many benefits for its members and has proven the test of time for over 75 years.  Your electric cooperative is a not-for-profit, member-owned business and exists for the sole reason of serving members.  Your electric cooperative sets the rates just high enough to cover the cost of doing business unlike investor-owned utilities that strive to maximize profits for investors or shareholders.  Any money that is collected by the cooperative above the cost of operations is allocated back to you as capital credits.  This allocation becomes your equity ownership in the cooperative and when the financial condition of the cooperative permits, the capital credits are returned to you in the form of cash.  Over the past three years, your cooperative has paid back over $4.8 million in capital credits as cash to members.

Dustin Tripp75th Annual Meeting of Members Report

SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative held its' 75th Annual Meeting on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 with approximately 1,355 members registered and approximately 2,000 in total attendance.  This year marks your Cooperative’s 75th Anniversary and members celebrated this historic milestone.  For those of you who were unable to attend your Cooperative's annual meeting, this article will summarize the activities and reports members received at the annual meeting.

Members attending the Annual Meeting received attendance gifts consisting of a 75th Anniversary blanket, a $15 bill credit and a 75th Anniversary booklet that contained facts about your Cooperative’s history and recipes that were published in the Illinois Country Living throughout the years.  Members were able to meet with various vendors, enjoy bucket truck rides and entertainment provided by The Bankesters.

Dustin TrippPossible EPA Changes for Coal

Southern Illinois is rich in coal deposits, and coal-fired generation plants are the primary source of electric generation in the Midwest.  In fact coal-fired generation provided approximately 37% of the nation’s electricity in 2012 making coal the most common source of fuel for electricity generation in the United States.  To put this into perspective, all of the wind and solar renewable energy generation that you may have seen scattered across the United States provided only 5.4% of the nation’s electricity in 2012.

In a speech on June 25, 2012, President Obama announced a broad new federal mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants.  The President will direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set carbon emissions standards for both new and existing power plants.

Dustin TrippAnnual Meeting

SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative is very pleased to announce that it will be celebrating 75 years of service at the upcoming Annual Member's Meeting to be held on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 at the Little Chapel Church (located approximately 3 ½ miles north of Harrisburg on Route 34). 

Entertainment and registration will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the business session begins at 7:00 p.m. During the business session, members will learn about the Cooperative's past year of operation and the ways your Cooperative is working to improve the service provided while keeping rates as competitive as possible. In addition, they will be able to participate in the process of selecting four individuals to serve on the Cooperative's Board of Trustees.