A&N Electric Cooperative members reelected five of their peers to continue serving on the cooperative’s board of directors, during its 81st annual meeting, held on Aug. 26.
More than 1,800 cooperative members participated in this year’s election of directors through designated proxy. The election process was overseen and certified by the cooperative’s Credentials and Elections Committee, which is independent of the board.
• In District 1, Christopher D. Bott was reelected. This district covers the northern areas of Accomack County from Parksley’s northern border to the Virginia/Maryland state line and includes Tangier and Smith islands.
• In District 2, E. Garrison Drummond was reelected. This district covers the areas of Accomack County from Melfa’s northern border to the northern border of Parksley.
• In District 3, W.E. “Ted” Shockley was reelected. This district covers the area just north of Nassawadox, in the south, to just above Melfa in the north.
• In District 4, Ralph W. Dodd was reelected. This district covers the southern portion of the peninsula beginning in Nassawadox.
• Also in District 4, Penney P. Holland was re-elected.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the cooperative held its annual meeting at the cooperative’s Tasley headquarters, with attendance limits set for health and safety. The meeting was broadcast live on WESR radio for members who were not able to attend in person.
In addition to the election of directors, the cooperative provided its members reports on its end-of-year financial status, updates how COVID-19 has affected the local area and what’s ahead for the future of the co-op.
Addison Nottingham, chairman of A&N Electric Cooperative’s board, addressed the end of the residential disconnect moratorium and how the cooperative is reaching out to past-due members to establish payment arrangements.
“Members with a past-due balance due to COVID-19 are urged to contact one of our member service representatives to develop a sustainable payment plan,” he said. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, the cooperative has regularly reached out to past-due members in the hopes of establishing payment arrangements.”
Nottingham reminded members that the board recently voted to return $1.75 million in capital credits to the membership. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the board has authorized the return of $4.25 million in capital credits to help members dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly all members receive capital credits in the form of a bill credit, which was applied in June.
The cooperative has retired more than $31 million in capital credits to the membership since 1981.
Nottingham also pointed out the cooperative recently achieved the three-year mark of no lost time accidents. At the time of the meeting, the cooperative had gone 1,123 days since the last lost-time accident. That equates to well over a quarter-million man-hours worked during that time.
“This is a direct result of our employees’ unwavering commitment to safety,” Nottingham said.
He also lauded the cooperative’s employee nonprofit organization, Lighting the Way, which logged more than 120 volunteer hours, donated more than $4,200 to local causes and partnered with the USDA and project-Homes to help rehabilitate six homes of local co-op members during the pandemic.
A&N Electric Cooperative CEO Butch Williamson echoed Nottingham’s remarks on the residential disconnect moratorium, adding that the cooperative has applied more than $652,000 in funding through Members Helping Members and CARES relief funds for members who have fallen behind.
“We want those who are still struggling to contact us to discuss payment options,” Williamson said. “It is important that you communicate with our members’ services department and discuss how we can assist you with your bill and what flexible payment arrangements are available.”
Williamson also addressed a new billing option that will be offered to residential members. With the recent upgrades to A&N’s advanced metering infrastructure, the cooperative has been given approval by the State Corporation Commission to offer prepaid metering.
“Prepaid metering is a voluntary, pay-as-you-go option, allowing co-op members to make payments into an account to cover the costs of their future energy use,” Williamson said. “It was developed for members to help control their energy budget, determine how much or little to pay based on your current usage, and provides a way to eliminate deposits and late fees.”
Williamson highlighted the several renewable energy options currently available. Dozens of residential members currently subscribe to the Cooperative Sunshare community solar program and many more take advantage of the net metering tariff for at-home solar arrays.
“A&N was among the first cooperatives in the state to offer solar subscriptions,” Williamson said. “Today, along with other cooperatives around the region, will be implementing more solar initiatives through Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, our wholesale power provider.”
Williamson added that, in February, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative announced its strategic goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions over time, seeking to achieve a 50% reduction (from 2005 levels) in its carbon intensity by 2030 and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Turning to community needs, Williamson addressed the local broadband issue.
“The cooperative understands what high-speed internet access means to the local community for healthcare, education, business, and your personal lives,” Williamson said. “A&N continues to support the expansion of broadband throughout the Eastern Shore and has from the beginning when broadband was being deployed back in 2009.”
He added that the cooperative will continue to explore the expansion of broadband services to underserved areas and will support the current providers without hindering the safe, reliable and affordable electric service the cooperative has historically provided.
Nottingham also reported on some of the work that Members Helping Members has been doing in the local community. This year the community non-profit distributed over $52,000 to assist members in paying their electric service bill. That funding helped 255 local families.
After the business meeting adjourned, the cooperative opened up the floor for questions and comments from the members present.
Immediately following the annual meeting, the board held officer elections, reelecting Nottingham as its chairman, Christopher D. Bott as its vice-chairman and Robert L. Nock as the board’s secretary-treasurer.
—Report by Jay Diem, Coordinator, Communications and Public Relations, A&N Electric Cooperative
Above photo: A&N Electric Cooperative President and CEO Butch Williamson addresses the co-op’s 81st annual meeting. (Photo By: Jay Diem)