Summary of board’s meeting in October

Posted on Feb 06 2023 in Decatur County REMC

NOTE: Board meeting minutes are available on our website,, once approved. 

The meeting was opened by Chairman Steve AmRhein and Brian Scheidler, who kept the minutes of the meeting.

All board members were present. Also present was CEO Brett Abplanalp and employees Crystal Greathouse, Matt Raver, Jeanne Loechle, Pat Nobbe, Sam Ruf, HR intern Elizabeth Westerfeld and John Wolfram with Catalyst Consulting.

Dale Wernke moved to approve the agenda. Jason Barnhorst seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 

Safety Minute and Cool Moment

The cool moment was presented by Elizabeth Westerfeld and included her experience as DCREMC’s HR intern. Abplanalp then showed the campaign video for United Fund.

The safety moment was presented by Abplanalp and included information about tampering with a meter, which is theft of electricity from your REMC and is extremely dangerous. 

Strategic Initiative Report Out 

Abplanalp briefly went over the process DCREMC has been through with strategic planning, what feedback the management team was looking for, and the next steps. Each of the initiative team leaders presented the team’s scope and recommended projects.

Member to Address the Board

There was discussion on an infrastructure improvement project and the reporting process for actual CAPEX spending throughout the year.

The board went into executive session at approximately 8:30 p.m. to cover individual member impacts of the cost-of-service study due to wholesale tariff changes, presented by Catalyst Consulting’s John Wolfram.

The board came out of executive session and went back into general session at approximately 9:02 p.m. 

Cost of Service Study Review

John Wolfram of Catalyst Consulting went over the results of the study and discussed recommendations with the board and management. A class segmentation study was completed for commercial classes. The recommendation was to keep the practice of reviewing peak demands for each member every two years and move members to the appropriate tariff.

All the major rate classes are contributing to margins. Single-phase (residential, general service) class is contributing at a level lower than the system average and large member classes are contributing at a level above average. This is typical and in John’s expert opinion, he recommended no changes to base rates for any of the classes. The per unit charges from the cost-of-service study show that the customer charges, demand charges and energy charges in the current rate schedules are largely in line with cost to serve. Again, the recommendation was to leave those charges where they are currently.

Abplanalp then went over current solar rates compared to data from the 2021 wholesale power bill.

Annual Meeting Survey Results

Greathouse presented the results of the annual meeting survey and recommendations for 2023.

Highlights from the annual meeting survey:

  • 941 surveys completed by membership 
  • 73% were satisfied to very satisfied with the annual meeting
  • 76% were satisfied to very satisfied with the voting process
  • The top reasons for attending the annual meeting were the bill credit and food
  • Motivating factors to participate in our director elections were “to have a voice” and “electing the right candidates” 
  • 90% of respondents preferred to vote online and by mail 
  • Top election considerations were convenience/multiplatform, security and a non-biased election 
  • Top communication methods from respondents were bill inserts, email and monthly magazine.

The recommendation for 2023 was an in-person event at the Decatur County Fairgrounds, followed by a virtual business meeting with SBS as the election vendor (online, SmartHub and mail), electronic onsite voting administered by SBS, bag meals, and a $10 bill credit for attending.

Barnhorst moved to approve the recommendations for budget approval. Wernke seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 

For Your Information — Investigation

The chairman of the board discussed with the board special board meeting minutes that were not disclosed to anyone other than the directors, due to the legal nature of the meeting.

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

Suzanne Parmer moved to approve the minutes from the Sept. 22, 2022, board meeting. Barnhorst seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 

CEO Updates

Abplanalp reported out this month’s focus, which was the work around our cost-of-service study, wrapping up our strategic initiatives teamwork, completing our organizational changes discussed during the August board meeting, starting the budget process for 2023 with the management team and the 2023 right-of-way plan.

Financial Updates

Raver reported on September financials.

Net utility plant increased $350,780 in September, total other property and investment increased $9,082 and total current and accrued assets show a $1,062,599 decrease from last month.

Revenues are under YTD budget by $196,543 but power costs are also under by $47,021 resulting in a gross margin under budget of $149,522 YTD. Controllable expenses are over budget $223,164, mainly due to ROW timing and outages. The cash flow statement shows a September beginning balance of $2,279,353 and we ended the current month with a net decrease in cash of $651,098.

Financial Management Plan

Raver covered management’s recommendations. How fast we retire capital credits and what type of margins (rates) we want to target will tell us what effect it will have on our equity/debt position. 

IEC Annual Meeting Delegate

Suzanne Parmer moved to nominate and approve Brian Scheidler as the IEC annual meeting delegate. Jeff Lawrence seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 

Reduce to Seven Board Members

The board had discussion on the proposed bylaw updates for the reduction in districts and also term limits.

Special Retirement to  Uncollectable Account Process

Greathouse presented a new process to apply capital credit towards accounts that have uncollectable debt. This will save the co-op money by reducing collection service fees. 

Policy/Bylaws Review & Report Out 

Policies 10-15, 10-16, 2-3 and 10-14 were discussed with presented changes.

Parmer moved to approve the changes as presented for 10-15, 10-16, 2-3 and 10-14. Dale Wernke seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 

December Board Meeting Date

Jeff Lawrence moved to change the December board meeting date to Dec. 21. Parmer seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 

The Hoosier Energy Board 

Barnhorst gave the Hoosier Energy board update and the Finance and Audit Committee meeting update. 

IEC Board/Committee Update

AmRhein gave the IEC board update. Annual meeting is planned for Dec. 5-6. 

Director Training/Conf Report Out 

Parmer discussed the Women in Energy Conference she attended.

Barnhorst moved to adjourn the meeting. Lawrence seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously, and the meeting was adjourned at 11:28 p.m.

The board then moved into executive session to discuss the 2023 Salary & Wage Administration Plan, board strategic initiative and board governance.