Between continued COVID struggles and the crazy weather in February, we’ve had a very busy few weeks/months.
Strategic Planning Update — In the past few weeks, we hosted virtual roundtable meetings with our members, community leaders, tourism, educators, real estate agents, first responders and township trustees. These meetings provided great insight as to what our communities and members see as social and economic opportunities now and into the future. Common themes we’ve heard include leveraging big data to drive decision making, ways to grow our community, beneficial electrification, programs and rates to empower members to decide how to use their energy, and ways to leverage a low-interest market to enhance our reliability. We appreciate all the feedback and engagement, and look forward to the next phase of strategic planning as we continue to define what our co-op will look like in the future.
Industry News — Recently, there have been some interesting news stories related to our industry. GM announced it is planning to only sell zero-emission cars and trucks by 2035. Additionally, Ford announced that it will invest $29 billion in autonomous vehicles (AVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) through 2025. The technology and energy demands are exciting for our industry.
Business Update — We continue working with our power provider, Hoosier Energy, to align purchased power rates with a new generation portfolio. Decatur County REMC will experience a rate decrease this year due to a slight drop in Hoosier Energy’s power supply costs. Those with an average monthly use of 1,200 kilowatts per month could see their monthly energy bill drop by approximately three percent. That’s an annual savings of almost $59.
My team is planning the details of our reliability enhancement projects. We are working with a contractor to begin construction in the coming months.
COVID Updates — We continue to operate under normal business hours. However, we are following recommended guidelines from the governor related to face coverings, social distancing, and other safety measures. Our community room remains closed to the public.
While we have been able to continue business and serve our members and community with little to no impact from an operational standpoint, I would like to share some financial impacts we’ve experienced related to COVID. Our 2020 margins were eight percent lower than budget, which is six percent down from 2019. Residential use was basically flat from 2019 to 2020, while commercial and industrial use was down year over year. Also interesting to note: our demand peak moved from the typical January to July in 2020 due to a warmer July.
As always, my team and I invite you to engage and connect with us through multiple platforms including our website, Facebook page or by phone. You can also schedule an appointment to meet. We value your membership and feedback.