A large crowd attended Federated Rural Electric’s 84th Annual Meeting August 1 at the Martin County West High School gym in Sherburn.
“We had 381 members register and served 583 members and family members a pork loin supper,” said Scott Reimer, Federated’s general manager. “We like Sherburn for its air conditioning; it’s always great to see so many turn out for their electric cooperative — voting for members who represent their interests.”
Members elected director: Jon Saxen, Sherburn, for District At-Large. On the Nominating Committee Jeff Ziemer, Welcome, was elected for District 5, Tyler Sauck, Truman, was elected for District Six. In addition, members voted on a bylaw amendment to eliminate director term limits, which passed.
President David A. Hansen and General Manager Scott Reimer provided a cooperative update on 2019 highlights. Hansen reported on legislative activity that affects the electric cooperative and rates. “While we agree that wind and solar are good resources and have their place, we cannot forget that Winter Storm Wesley was a close call. It was so cold that wind turbines were not operating and there was a shortage of natural gas. Thankfully, our coal plants provided the reliable electricity when temperatures were 20 below zero.” Hansen added that next year we may see cooperative governance issues appear in legislation; cooperatives follow safety and environmental legislations and are self-governed by members, whom members elect.
Manager Reimer reported that 2019 was a year of financial stability. Margins in 2018 were higher with $1.1 million returned as capital credits, plus Federated has electric rates that are lower than the state and national average. “No rate increase is needed in 2020,” he said. “Members also saw 99.98 percent reliable electricity in 2018.”
Reimer commented that the April ice storm was the big event this year — even worse than the 2013 April ice storm. “Federated saw 1,500 locations damaged from broken to leaning poles totaling an estimated $4 million. Thankfully, this qualifies us for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This rebuilding will take two to three years as 11 electric cooperatives were affected and the
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demand will be great for hiring contractors to rebuild our lines. Much of the overhead will be rebuilt using shorter spans and conductor to withstand the wind and ice, along with using hazard mitigation funds to rebuild some lines as underground.”
One more Federated building project involves an addition to the co-op’s Welcome Warehouse, doubling in size to accommodate larger vehicles and have more material storage inside, Reimer explained. The Board will vote on the project’s final plans at their next board meeting with possible groundbreaking yet this fall.
After the presentations members were asked if they had any questions. One member asked about what Federated is doing to bring broadband to the rural areas. “Federated was part of the Martin County committee that applied for a broadband funding grant and broadband was installed last summer by the two phone companies Bevcomm and Frontier,” stated Andrea Christoffer, Federated’s Marketing & Communications Manager. In addition, Federated has offered satellite internet service since 2005.”
Members attending the Annual Meeting played Bingo during registration and received a bamboo cutting board as an attendance gift.
Three children won Lego sets and two passes to Center Creek Orchard in their respective age groups:
- Ages 3-5: Susanna Oberbeck, Welcome
- Ages 6-8: Gavin Schoen, Sherburn
- Ages 9-10: Bella Hill, Fairmont
In addition, nearly 50 door prizes were awarded to the members. The top three prize winners were:
- Richard Perrine, Sherburn, won a free trip for two on the 2020 Summer Basin Tour.
- Dean & Judy Tlam, Sherburn, won $300 Federated electricity gift certificate.
- Marvin Thompson, Jackson, won a free night’s stay at the Radisson BLU at Mall of America, courtesy of KSUM/KFMC.
Federated is a Touchstone Energy cooperative serving 6,800 electric members in Jackson and Martin Counties.