Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative's Annual Meeting of the Members is a special time for member-owners to gather, hear from Cooperative leadership, and vote to elect Board members. As a member, you have a stake and a voice in all Cooperative matters and decisions. As a member-owner, we encourage you to attend this special event, fellowship with other members and cooperative employees, learn about the cooperative's business activities and place your vote to elect your Cooperative Board members. Along with attending and voting, you will also enjoy a BBQ dinner as well as have the opportunity to win giveaways, including the grand prize of a $200 credit towards your light bill.
Mark your calenders, the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Members will be held on June 20, 2018.
MEC Celebrates 80th Annual Membership Meeting
Following are the remarks delivered by President & CEO John C. Lee, Jr., to the membership at the Annual Membership Meeting held on June 20.
“Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. . . and welcome to your cooperative’s Annual Membership Meeting. Taking into consideration today’s high heat index, my remarks will be far briefer, than in year’s past.
“While all our annual meetings are significant in that they represent this organization’s commitment to its members … and its members’ commitment to their cooperative, today’s gathering is a little more so because it marks 80 years of electric service provided by Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative to you, and those before you. The theme for this 80th anniversary meeting is…We Deliver, and I hope you’ll agree that already today we have delivered a great meal, some fantastic fellowship, and some red balloons. More about the balloons later. How does your cooperative deliver?
“It was in March of 1938 that the coordinated efforts and hard work of area citizens came to fruition, when MEC was incorporated as a not-for-profit electric service provider. Before then, farmers and rural residents had no electric power, while their not-too-distant neighbors in towns and cities could ease their workload with the use of electrical appliances, tools and equipment.
There was a need among the rural population, a need that transcended any luxuries provided by power, a need that would improve this region’s quality of life.
So, your cooperative brought electricity to the countryside, greatly reducing the drudgery of hard work, and bettering life for those in Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina and, today … 80 years later, MEC continues to deliver as your electric service provider.
“Having ANY electric service provider is of little use if you are unable to receive power, and use it when needed. As previously mentioned by our Board Chairman, your homes and businesses received power 99.963 percent of the time in 2017. When it comes to reliability …We Deliver.
Meeting your expectations is a high priority for your cooperative and you expect excellent service delivered by courteous, professional employees, and rightly so. Our American Customer Service Index score of 86 continues to be among the highest utility ratings in the nation, and is particularly impressive when compared to the national average of 78 for all electric cooperatives. When it comes to outstanding customer service … We Deliver.
When Mother Nature unleashes her wrath on our system, and we experience outages, you expect your lights to be back on in a reasonable time frame.
No one, is better at restoring electric service than this cooperative, and that’s a task in which we take great pride. You can count on our crews in uniform to respond promptly, any time day or night, in any weather, to get your service back on as quickly as possible. When it comes to efficient service restoration … We Deliver.
When area fire departments, rescue squads and civic organizations need manpower, resources, or safety speakers … or recreational leagues need coaches, facility assistance, or business minded people to serve on their Boards, your cooperative and its employees … are always there to lend a hand. There are few, if any, corporate citizens in our area, that do more to encourage quality of life improvements than your cooperative. When it comes to supporting, and being involved in, the communities MEC serves…We Deliver.
Young people and educators in our rural community can also attest that We Deliver. MEC offers scholarships for graduating seniors whose parents or legal guardians are members of the Cooperative, as well as, educational opportunities such as Youth Tour, and a week-end session at the Virginia Institute on Cooperative Education.
Members of our staff assist pre-K, elementary, middle and high schools with presentations on a variety of subjects. When it comes to supporting students, educators and educational institutions in our region … We Deliver.
With regards to this organization’s resources, you expect us to use them wisely, to be conservative and prudent, and keep your electric bill affordable. Through effective cost cutting measures, that include reducing the workforce, negotiating favorable contracts for goods and services, and doing our best at ODEC through our representation there to keep power costs reasonable, we have managed to avoid major rate actions.
Despite the fact that this cooperative is seeing little to no growth in Members, and an increase in the cost of everything we use to generate, transmit and, ultimately, deliver power to your home … we have held the line on costs and, in fact, continue to return dollars in capital credits to our Members each year. When it comes to keeping our rates consistent and affordable, and returning excess margins to you … We Deliver.
In this capital intensive, long-term business, the fiscal health of on organization will ultimately determine its success. Being financially healthy is a critical requirement, especially if we are to continue to provide you with quality service at affordable rates.
Your cooperative’s financials are strong, and for the indices used to determine an organization’s fiscal strength such as equity, debt service coverage, and times interest earned ratios, MEC is on very solid ground. When it comes to maintaining your cooperative’s financial stability … We Deliver.
And, as I have noted every year since I came to MEC, your cooperative is governed, managed and staffed by a very dedicated group of hard working people who share the strong, common mission of serving you. They give you all they’ve got, every single day, and I can assure you that their responsibilities to you here are taken seriously. They NEVER take the privilege of serving you for granted and it’s an honor to work alongside all of them. When it comes to caring about you … We Deliver.
Earlier, I mentioned the red balloons you see here today and they have a special purpose … they are balloons to celebrate empowerment. On June 7, 2018, just down the road from here, our cooperative strung its very first section of fiber-optic cable for the backbone ring we’ll use to meet the growing communications needs between our substations and district offices. That development is significant in itself, however, making it an even more historical event is the fact that capacity in that cable of fibers will be leased to EMPOWER Broadband, an affiliate of MEC.
And EMPOWER Broadband will offer reliable, high-speed retail internet service to you, our Members, through a fiber-to-the-premises project.
Delivering high-speed broadband service to our Members is a development that will dramatically impact our region’s quality of life, its economic well-being and, perhaps most importantly, provide our youth and others with educational and career opportunities that they’ve never had before.
It is my firm belief that June 7, 2018, and the event that occurred that day will, one day in the future, be recalled by our membership as the day our region finally began to successfully close the digital divide between our rural area, and our urban neighbors.
To say the EMPOWER Broadband project is generating some excitement amongst our membership would be an understatement. Our initial EMPOWER Broadband announcement, and subsequent updates, have generated hundreds of Facebook comments including Jeremy’s who says, “Finally! Thank you, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative! This area has needed reliable high-speed internet for so long. Thanks for bringing us country folk up to date!”, and Dianne’s post that states: “MEC . . . you guys rock! Always quick to get the power back on, and now internet coming to the country! Yay!”
Edna added a simple but profound “This is wonderful” and Skips message reads: “AMAZING!! High speed internet will advance our children’s education and allow our local business leaders to service our population so much better. Mecklenburg Electric Co-op is a leader in technology and savings for their customers. Congratulations MEC and thank you.”
Please understand that we are still in the very early stages of the Broadband offering and, accordingly, we are short on details today. However, things are coming together quickly, and we encourage you to tune in to Cooperative Living magazine, our Facebook page, our website, and area newspapers for additional developments. Lastly, I want to ask for your patience as we deploy fiber and roll out high speed internet service to our membership through EMPOWER Broadband. We will build out the system only as fast as we can secure funds, like those we were able to receive from the Tobacco Commission. Deploying fiber is expensive, and this will be a long-term project.
However, as it was with electric service, so it will be with internet access, when no one else would … We Deliver.
“We Deliver” … is our promise to you. It’s a pledge from your Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative board of directors, and our 102 employees to each of you, this Cooperative’s Member/Owners.
It’s our vow to continue delivering electric power that is safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly, and provided with customer service that goes beyond your expectations. We are very proud of this cooperative’s humble beginnings, gratified with its strong tradition of excellent service, and excited about creating a new legacy and the additional value we can bring to you through technology and innovation. Thank you for allowing us to serve you and for your gracious support of this organization.