Members and guests were welcomed by BARC Board President,Keith Swisher and BARC CEO Mike Keyser. Swisher noted the theme of the past year was overcoming challenges, both financial and operational, for the co-op. During a global health pandemic, the cooperative developed safe, innovative methods to continue accomplishing its goals in several areas and better serve its members.
Realizing the need for reliable internet service was greater than ever, BARC Connects was able to safely continue expansion of fiber-to-the-home services, connecting consumers to reliable internet service. The SolarizeBARC program proved very successful in the past year with the cooperative installing 24 new solar PV systems at a combined value of $675,000. BARC exceeded its sustainability plan goal with 20% of energy sales coming from non-carbon resources and continued development of two utility-scale solar projects. The cooperative also began development on an innovative new voluntary electric vehicle charging rate.
“The future continues to be very bright for BARC,” said Swisher, “and we are steadfastly focused on maintaining safe, affordable and reliable electric service, as well as broadband and renewable energy services.”
Keyser focused on the future of the cooperative and the cooperative’s dedication to improving the quality of life of its members and community. He spoke to BARC being named No. 7 Most Innovative Company by Fast Company Magazine and stated, “This was not only a recognition of how much we have accomplished these past few years, but it is also a testament to who we are and where we are headed.”
Keyser also discussed BARC’s top priorities, including the cooperative’s commitment to safety and a safe working environment for all employees; member access to renewable energy and development of BARC’s first battery storage project; and continued expansion of reliable broadband service. By the end of 2021, BARC will have passed 13,000 eligible premises with access to the fiber network. “I truly believe innovation is in our DNA at BARC as we are always improving, adapting and innovating with a strategic eye to the future,” said Keyser.
Board Secretary/Treasurer, John Quantz announced that BARC experienced unprecedented challenges in the past year due to a state-required moratorium on electric disconnections and a decrease in energy sales. BARC’s balance sheet increased to just over $104 million in total assets at the end of 2020. This increase from just under $94 million the year before was driven primarily by BARC’s rapid fiber project expansion.
Three director seats were up for a vote this year. Prior to the conclusion of the meeting, BARC attorney Creigh Deeds announced the re-election of directors Jason Black (District 2); Edsel “Tommy” Ford (District 6) and John Quantz (District 7) to serve three-year terms.
— Report by Tish Blackwell, Director of Communications, BARC Electric Cooperative
Above Photo; BARC CEO Mike Keyser discusses the state of the co-op at its annual meeting. (Photo By: Steven Johnson)