Merry Christmas! The holiday season puts me in a jolly mood for sure. I’m ready to eat great food, enjoy special time with my family, and cherish the memories we make.
This year has certainly been interesting and uniquely challenging, but together we are figuring out how to best serve and meet your needs through a pandemic. We even managed to host an event after our annual meeting was canceled due to COVID. I am so proud of our team and thankful for everyone who attended our drive-thru member event in October. We were excited to see all of you!
Through the virtual town hall meeting in October, we shared a brief business update and our outlook for the future, and we reviewed the new bill design. My team and I are finalizing the 2021 budget which includes long-term strategic planning to set the vision for our future. We have already begun pulling together data and information from industry partners and plan to also gather information from community leaders and members to help guide the future direction of our cooperative.
Our future landscape is beginning to take shape and I am excited to share what we are forecasting. I will start with wholesale power rates. Our power supplier, Hoosier Energy; our cooperative’s leadership; and others have been working hard to build out and plan a future, diverse energy portfolio. It is now coming to fruition. If things continue to develop as forecasted, we expect wholesale power rates to remain stable or even decline over the next few years, which could directly impact your bill.
Next is the progression of our right-of-way reclaim process. We plan to complete this process in 2025 which will allow us to move to a maintenance process of mowing, spraying and side cutting. This will result in lower investment and increased reliability to you.
We are entering a new strategic planning session that I believe will position us to meet member’s wants and needs while providing innovative programs and rate structures that empower members — placing more control in the consumers’ hands. I also expect to develop an infrastructure strategy focused on lifecycle management (replace prior to failure) and long-term serviceability.
Our approach is aimed at maximizing 21st century reliability expectations with potentially flat to declining rates.
As we prepare for next year, we look forward to tackling new challenges and the opportunity to serve you and the greater community. On behalf of the Decatur County REMC family, we hope your holidays are filled with joy and blessings.