Hancock-Wood Electric Co-op welcomes nearly 2,000 and announces election results at Annual Business Meeting
NORTH BALTIMORE, OHIO – June 15, 2015 – On June 13, the month’s abundant rain let up long enough for Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative to welcome nearly 2,000 member-owners and their families to its Annual Business Meeting/Member Appreciation Day at the Hancock County Fairgrounds. Also in attendance were Lu Cooke, District Representative for Congressman Robert Latta, and Hancock County Commissioner Mark Gazarek, along with Pat O’Loughlin, who next month will succeed retiring Ohio Rural Electric Cooperative President and CEO Anthony Ahern. Fifteen-year-old vocalist Gabrielle Calvert delivered a moving rendition of the National Anthem prior to start of the business-meeting portion of the event.
Outgoing Board of Trustees Chairman Ed Crawford, who completed his fourth and final three-year term, opened the business meeting. He spoke about accomplishments he had seen the co-op make during his 12-year tenure.
Crawford said, “One of the more significant achievements, was the advent of a major Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition distribution automation project. And, for the first time in the history of the cooperative, operations personnel began to remotely transfer power from one substation to another, while making repairs, so the duration of power interruptions was significantly reduced.”
He mentioned Hancock-Wood’s shared national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) award with Hancock County for interconnecting the Granger Landfill gas turbines into the co-op’s distribution system to “green” power nearly 1,000 homes. Crawford also said the co-op had invested more than $40 million in infrastructure repair and replacement during the past decade.
Crawford warned members that inaction on their part could result in the shuttering of more coal plants – costing jobs and significantly raising rates.
“You, as Members, have funded emission controls at our Cardinal Plant to make it one of the cleanest coal plants in the entire world, but we still need your help. Get involved and tell your members of Congress that we need common-sense EPA regulations that take into account the cost impact on co-op members and ensure a stable and reliable power grid that meets the electricity needs of our country.”
Crawford announced the following election results: in District 1, Timothy Phillips won, running unopposed in his district. He serves as vice president of the board of trustees for the Henry County Water and Sewer District and has been owner of Tim Phillips Contracting Water and Wastewater Services for 15 years. In District 4, Incumbent Marlene Barker defeated Douglas Andrus of Findlay by a vote of 140 to 57. Barker was elected to the Hancock-Wood Electric Board of Trustees in 2006, was installed as a board officer in 2014 and serves as its assistant secretary/treasurer.
In District 5, Candidate Edward Ingold defeated H. Richard Rowe Jr., both of Findlay, by a vote of 189 to 172. Ingold is a Hancock County Health Trustee and a trustee of Hancock County Park District Foundation. He is a former Hancock County Commissioner. In District 10, Knut Lahrs won after running unopposed in his district. He was past Village of Kelleys Island Environmental Protection Agency certified transfer station attendant and owned Moshannon Homes, J & K Development Corporation and Lars-Starcher Corp. Each trustee took an oath of office administered by attorney Robert Hollister.
In executive session following the meeting, officers were elected as follows: Chairman Tom Kagy, Vice Chairman William Kale, Secretary/Treasurer Tom Dierksheide and Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Marlene Barker.
O’Loughlin delivered the generation and transmission perspective, saying, “Our power supply is cleaner than ever before, meeting or exceeding all environmental standards. Emissions are down 90 percent for nearly all pollutants since the 1990s. We provide electricity from a diverse set of power generation resources including coal, natural gas and a variety of renewable energy projects but still are largely dependent on coal to keep electricity prices down.
“Today we are challenged in ability to keep power supply affordable and reliable by an overreaching EPA that, in spite of accomplishments to make power supply cleaner than ever by every measure, continue to push for more regulation. If this is allowed to be put in place it will threaten reliability and increase the cost of providing electric with minimal effect on the environment.”
In his president’s report, President and CEO George Walton said, “To improve service reliability, we continued an aggressive $2.75 million Rebuild Program – replacing 33 miles of aging electric lines along with major power substation upgrades. We are on track to complete 31 rebuild projects this year located along Township Road 194 in Amanda Township, Township Road 173 in Marion Township, County Road 33 in Orange Township, and County Road 5F in Blanchard Township in Putnam County). Over the next four years, we plan to complete all required upgrades on the co-op’s 24 substations. These projects, coupled with our technological innovation and extensive maintenance programs carried out last year, made for a total company capital and maintenance investment of $8.5 million.”
Following the business meeting, the crowds took advantage of the catered lunch by Harlan’s Barbecue, and kiddie rides, face painting, balloon animals, mini-golf and entertainers including a performance by Nashville Crush, a Lima, Ohio, band that just released its first international single, “Make it Bounce,” and is the winner of the Lift Master Garage Band contest, which allowed them to open for Rock and Roll Hall of Famers ZZ Top at last month’s CocaCola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Families also enjoyed the bungee jump, corn-hole games, strolling juggler and magician and energy savings demonstrations as well as exhibitor booths and a health fair. All members received a gift package and grand-prize winners Saul Flores Huape and Angie Holcombe took home a large screen TV and freezer full of edibles, respectively. A member who won the Family Fun Destination Package did not reveal his name.
Each year at the annual meeting, the Hancock-Wood members donate non-perishable goods to a local food pantry. This year more than 380 pounds of food were collected.
Those who helped make the event possible are presenting sponsor Quality Lines, Inc., along with Clouse Construction Corp., Power Line Supply Co., Clouse Electric Ltd., First Federal Bank, Utility Systems Engineering, Inc., Legacy Farmers Cooperative and Perry Protech. Flag City Water Systems provided drinking water.
Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative, established April 20, 1938, serves 13,000 accounts and 11,000 members in portions of Hancock, Wood, Allen, Erie, Hardin, Henry, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties. The annual meeting is presented in accordance with one of the co-op’s operating principles – concern for community. For more information about Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative, visit www.hwe.coop or call 800-445-4840.