Rappahannock Electric Cooperative member-owners selected three of their peers to serve on REC’s board of directors. More than 15,000 people returned their proxy designation cards or participated in the virtual Annual Meeting, which was held Aug. 10.
• In Region I, Michael Lindsay was reelected. This region covers the counties of Frederick, Shenandoah, and portions of Page, Warren and Rappahannock.
• In Region VI, Linda Gray was reelected. This region covers Caroline County.
• In Region VII, Mark Wood was re-elected. This region covers Louisa County.
John D. Hewa, REC’s president and CEO, and Christopher Shipe, Region II Director and board chairman, shared highlights from the past year and reviewed items that members can look forward to in the future.
As they did so, one thing was clear: REC continues to invest in reliability and the community.
“Your board and cooperative leadership is focused on ensuring your power is reliable, that the value of electricity remains affordable and that REC has innovative energy solutions you can benefit from,” Shipe said. Among the highlights shared:
• In 2021, REC cleared more than 1,500 miles of right-of-way and removed 27,000 hazard trees; more than 2,700 poles were replaced with taller and stronger ones; crews built over 100 miles of underground and overhead power lines and 3,324 new services were added.
• REC continues to maintain and improve the system with wise investments in infrastructure and strategic planning.
• To proactively prepare the grid, and member-owners, REC has launched Vividly Brighter. This suite of innovative energy solutions offers members opportunities to lower their energy costs, learn about EVs and explore solar energy options. At the same time, it addresses the growing demand on the grid as EVs and smart homes move from a future idea to our present reality. Learn more at myrec.coop/vividlybrighter.
“Taking care of the grid and providing members with safe and reliable power is our top goal, and that is something we will never lose sight of,” Hewa said.
Similarly, the cooperative continues to invest in the future of the communities it serves.
• Last year, for instance, REC assisted more than 20,000 members with payment plans due to the pandemic and distributed $11.4 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
• In addition, the board of directors approved the return of more than $12 million in capital credits, $10 million of which was cash back on members’ electric bills.
• Cooperative employees participated in hundreds of community events and gave back to the community through the United Way and an employee charity known as Project Big Heart.
• Local students received $20,000 in scholarships and $223,000 was donated to 93 nonprofits and charities across REC’s 22-county service area through The Power of Change. Learn how you can help at myrec.coop/power-change.
• REC continues to play a significant role in facilitating the extension of broadband throughout Virginia. The cooperative is committed to bridging the digital divide through its broadband partnerships across 15 counties.
Hewa and Shipe also addressed struggles faced over the last year.
• In January, REC and its members experienced historic Winter Storm Frida. More than 100,000 connections were without power as a result of over 3,700 grid events. At least 640 poles were broken and over 1,200 field workers, including mutual aid from 13 states, worked around the clock for nine days to restore power.
• The cooperative and member-owners have also faced a steady stream of major storm patterns throughout the summer.
Shipe and Hewa noted that REC continues to deliver on its core business to provide safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable power.
“We’re taking care of the grid and taking care of our membership,” Hewa said in closing. “Together with you, the membership, our future looks very bright — Vividly Brighter indeed.”
—Report by Casey Hollins, Managing Director—Communications and Public Relations