Powell Valley Electric Cooperative held its annual meeting on Sept. 18 at Hancock County High School in Sneedville, Tenn. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the safety of its members, the cooperative limited the social activities that are ordinarily part of its annual meeting, such as health checks, lunch and bucket truck rides.

Board President Roger Ball called the meeting to order, while John Hoyle, director of accounting and finance, presented the annual financial report, which stated the co-op is in a sound financial position.

In his report, General Manager Brad Coppock discussed the challenges that COVID-19 has presented for the cooperative.

“Luckily, at our offices, we have been able to keep our lobbies open to our members. We continue to frequently sanitize, social distance and stagger work schedules where possible,” he noted. “The virus may have changed how we work, our families’ lives and the way we educate our children, but it has not changed our commitment to serving the members of the cooperative.”

In that vein, Coppock said he was pleased that, along with the partners at the Tennessee Valley Authority, the cooperative gave $40,000 to its communities to assist businesses and families affected by the pandemic.

“As of May, TVA and local power companies across the Tennessee Valley provided nearly $8 million to organizations to assist efforts to help those most impacted by the pandemic. This was a tremendous accomplishment,” he said.

PVEC has several projects in the works, as well, Coppock said. It recently completed an upgrade that allows it to communicate better with its substations and more than 60 downline devices on the distribution system. Also, the cooperative recently started a five-year project to upgrade our advanced metering infrastructure system that allows it to read more than 33,000 meters every day. “These upgrades position your cooperative to provide the reliable service you’ve come to expect,” he said.

Coppock also noted the cooperative partnered with Scott County Telephone Cooperative to form PVECFiber, which is bringing broadband to unserved areas of its service territory. “It will take a few years to complete, but rest assured, we are pursuing all avenues to bring high-speed internet to all homes and businesses in our service area as quickly as possible,” he said.

Additionally, the Powell Valley board of directors has voted to pass along an extension of a special pandemic relief tax credited approved by TVA to PVEC members, Coppock said.

He also recognized Randell Meyers, who retired earlier this year as general manager and CEO. “So, when you see Randell, on behalf of the board, the employees and the members, please recognize him for his 57 years of dedicated service to the cooperative. Thank you, Randell — we appreciate you.”

During the business session, incumbent directors Roger Ball, representing District 2; Mike Shockley, representing District 7; and David Kindle, representing District 8, were reelected to the board of directors without opposition. During the reorganizational meeting of the board, officers reelected were Roger Ball, president; David Kindle, vice president; and Judith Robertson, secretary-treasurer.

—Report by Jessica Smith, Member Services Representative, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative