NOVEC’s Gainesville Technical Center was the site of the Cooperative’s annual meeting on Sept. 21, 2022. About 50 members attended the event, where Cindy Gilbride was reelected to represent District 1 of the Board of Directors. Board Chairman Wade House and President and CEO Dave Schleicher addressed attendees about the Co-op’s achievements and challenges. Highlights of their remarks include:

Board Chairman Wade House:

  • Said the board returned $6.2 million in CashBack to members in 2021.
  • Reported that NOVEC kept customers’ lights on 99.99% of the time last year. He credited the ongoing substantial investment to upgrade, expand, and maintain the electric distribution system. He added, “The biggest reason for our reliability is the great people who work at NOVEC.”

President and CEO Dave Schleicher:

  • Noted the substantial data center growth. “In addition to the data centers we already serve, we have over 20 data center projects in various phases being built in Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun counties. We have a legal obligation to serve them and will work to satisfy their power needs as new members,” he said.
  • Explained the new SmartHub online portal offers tools to help customers reduce energy use and costs and has eliminated credit card transaction fees. However, Schleicher said, “We could have done better with the Aug. 1 rollout of SmartHub. … We appreciate your patience.”
  • Reported how rising natural gas and gasoline costs are increasing electricity costs. “Last year, we paid 8.4 cents per kilowatt-hour for wholesale electricity. This year, we’ve paid between 9.6 and 10 cents.” While 88 cents of every dollar NOVEC charges customers is for wholesale power, NOVEC does not earn a margin (profit) on it. Rather, the state requires the Co-op to “pass through” wholesale power costs to customers. Schleicher praised the Co-op’s Power Supply Team for securing low-cost energy deals, but said, “The trend is for higher costs into 2023.”
  • Stated the COVID pandemic and supply chain challenges have slowed utility-scale solar development. Even so, Schleicher said, “NOVEC continues to seek opportunities for large-scale solar projects.”
  • Commended NOVEC HELPS, the Co-op’s 501 (c)(3) employee organization, for raising and donating more than $37,000 to charitable organizations in 2021.
  • Thanked the more than 21,000 customers who voluntarily participate in Operation Round Up. Their extra cents totaled $144,000 and helped 379 NOVEC customers with bill-payment assistance in 2021.

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–Report by NOVEC.