Summary of board’s meeting in January

Posted on Feb 26 2020 in Decatur County REMC
  • Chairman Steve AmRhein called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m., and Michael Brelage kept minutes of the meeting.
  • All members of the board were present. Also present were DCREMC CEO Brett Abplanalp and DCREMC staff members Jennie Meyer, Crystal Greathouse, and Jeanne Loechle.
  • Upon motion by Dale Wernke, seconded by Brian Scheidler, and carried, the agenda of the meeting was approved.
  • Donna Walker, Rob Horton, and Tom VanParis from Hoosier Energy presented a patronage check for $364,000. They also discussed the recent announcement regarding the retirement of the Merom generating station in 2023. The decision came after a year of resource planning in which Hoosier Energy maintained a customer first approach. This move will help save Hoosier Energy and its members $700 million in avoided costs over 20 years along with reducing the carbon footprint by 80 percent.
  • The financial report was given by Jennie Meyer and reviewed as presented on Call to Order. Revenues for the year are below budget as well as power costs and expenses which drove margins greater than budget. The financials were accepted by the board as presented and filed for audit.
  • The board asked Abplanalp to identify prepayment penalties on exiting loans to verify the feasibility of refinancing options. The board also asked for the difference in the budgeted interest paid and the actual interest paid in 2019.
  • A motion was made by Jeff Lawrence seconded by Suzanne Parmer, and carried, approving the consent agenda by unanimous vote.
  • Abplanalp reported he completed performance reviews along with face-to-face meetings with employees. Also, he is currently finalizing right of way contracts with Asplundh and has finalized a contract with ElectriCom. 
  • The DCREMC office will be closed, Monday, Feb. 17, for Presidents Day and employee training.
  • Abplanalp reported on the CEO Close Up event. Items discussed included designing capital credit beneficiary process, blanket easements, and workplace bullying lawsuits.
  • The dashboard review showed that the leading causes of December power outages include snow on trees and vehicle and machine accidents. The board asked Abplanalp to add a dashboard metric for number of outages by cause.
  • Project reviews indicate the new website will launch the week of Jan. 27. Contractor, New River, will start replacing reject poles in March.
  • Hometown Energy update was given by Brian Scheidler. A new member packet was created to include the “duty to warn” information, provided annually along with the annual rate letter.
  • Hoosier Energy Board update was given by Jason Barnhorst echoing the comments of Hoosier Energy’s CEO, Donna Walker. Abplanalp reported that in the Hoosier Energy CEO meeting, discussions included a new electric vehicle loaner program available to distribution cooperatives, time-of-use rate structure, and the evaluation of 84 core member services.

Old Business

  • Abplanalp reported that the Broadband Committee continues to consider DCREMC’s role in broadband initiatives, including partnerships with other organizations currently providing broadband. He also reported ETC is looking to use some of DCREMC’s poles for fiber.
  • A data center site location was recently evaluated and is being considered one of the top sites in the Hoosier Energy network.

New Business

  • On a motion by Dale Wernke seconded by Michael Brelage and passed Policy 11-2 Testing of Metering Equipment was removed.
  • On a motion by Suzanne Parmer, seconded by Brian Scheidler, and passed the Security & Street Light Tariff was modified as redline with the addition of removing the 10 year reconnect fee.
  • Jason Barnhorst was nominated as the CFC voting delegate by Michael Brelage seconded by Suzanne Parmer and elected.
  • The DCREMC equity ratio was discussed and more information was requested for the next meeting.
  • Upon a motion made by Jason Barnhorst and seconded by Jeff Lawrence the meeting was adjourned to executive session at 9:08 p.m.
  • Coming out of executive session Dale Wernke made the motion, “we authorize Steve AmRhein as Chairman of the Board to present the executive employment contract to Brett Abplanalp with the authority to make minor changes excluding section 1 ”term” and section 4-1 “salary” and pending Abplanalp acceptance, will execute the contract.”
  • Jason Barnhorst seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-3 Suzanne Parmer, Carl Riedeman, and Jeff Lawrence dissenting.