Each year as Miami-Cass REMC’s CEO, I am given the privilege of addressing you, our members, at our member appreciation day/annual meeting. Here are a few highlights from my address to those in attendance.
Employee retirement: Line Superintendent Mike Long, a Miami-Cass employee for 41 years, retired at beginning of the year and Director of Information Technology Charles Lewis, an employee for 40 years, will be retiring the first of 2019. When I started with Miami-Cass back in 2000, both were already patriarchs in the Miami-Cass family. They were the “go-to” guys who had seen it all. Long started his career as a meter reader and ended his career as superintendent. Lewis’ first position was as a work order clerk, and he is now “Mr. IT.” Their combined 81 years of service (more years then the company has been incorporated) and experience will be missed.
State of the REMC: We have had another great year. Our financial strength is as strong as it has ever been. Our excellent and dedicated employees work hard to provide the absolute best service we can for you, our members. Our outage time remains one of the top in the industry with just 200 minutes per member. Safety and reliability still remain the two most important elements of our mission to our members. I am proud to say that we have had no lost-time injuries for close to nine years. That is quite a feat given the type of work our employees do day in and day out.
Last year, our operations department rebuilt 13 miles of line and added two more miles to our plant. We added 10 new members, fought outages and provided general maintenance. For the last couple of years, we have been replacing old security lights with new LED lighting. The payback for installing these lights is right around 18 months. We maintain some 2,000 security lights, and we hope to replace or convert the remaining ones to LED over the next few years. Our front office and accounting department have been working on many new projects, all with the intent of making your member experience better. They are always looking for new ways to streamline our processes. A couple of examples are implementing a better way to retain records and inventory simplification. Our employees are some of the best in the industry, and I would put them up against any other co-op.
Capital credits: We are finally ready to roll out one of the largest projects we have undertaken in some time — capital credit allocation and retirements. As I mentioned during last year’s annual meeting, Miami-Cass REMC will be retiring capital credits from years 1940 to 1977. Each year, if the co-op has positive margins, those monies are allocated back to the members. The more energy you use, the bigger the piece of that margin that is allocated to you. Since our inception until now, previous boards had decided each year that it was more prudent at that time to use those margins to build plant and hold down borrowing.
After a long process of record compilation and conversion, I am pleased to announce that the first checks will be going out Sept. 1. Names will be posted on our website of estates and or current members who have checks owed to them. We will be advertising in local papers and Electric Consumer for the years that are available. If you were a member during this time, or you have a parent or grandparent who were members from 1940-1977, contact the office, and one of our representatives will walk you through the process. Going forward, each year the board will vote on future retirements and how they will be paid out.
In closing, I want to thank all the members who were able to attend our annual meeting. Your attendance each year is paramount in the process of being a not-for-profit co-op. We will always look for the best ways to promote the meeting while remaining fiscally responsible in its promotion and presentation. We are currently exploring new and inventive ways of voting for our board of directors (e.g. electronic and absentee voting). Next year will be our 80th anniversary, so look for something a little more special. Stay tuned for more details!