11/16/10 — Tri-County Electric Membership holds 70th annual meeting at Mount Olive College

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Tri-County Electric Membership holds 70th annual meeting at Mount Olive College

By From staff reports
Published in News on November 16, 2010 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Tri-County Electric Membership Corp. Operation Round-up program began 10 years ago has raised $1,022,520.29 that has been given back to non-profit organizations and individuals in the company's service area.

In that program, Tri-County members allow the cooperative to round-up their electric bills to the next highest dollar to help fellow members, people in the community and non-profit organization in the service territory. Each member averages giving about 48 cents per month and Tri-County's participation rate is the highest in the nation with 95 percent.

That was just one of several reports given Tri-County General Manager J. Michael Davis during the cooperative's 70th annual membership meeting held Saturday, Nov. 13 at Mount Olive College. Approximately 1,850 people were present with 878 members registering from Wayne, Duplin, Lenoir, Johnston, Jones, Sampson and Wilson counties.

The three incumbents running for board seats were re-elected: Dallace Grady of Duplin County, William Farmer Jr. and Worth Overman Jr. of Wayne County and Leland Heath of Lenoir County.

The King's Messengers entertained the audience.

Davis opened the meeting by welcoming the members.

"Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation is a member-driven cooperative committed to providing reliable electric power at a reasonable cost, to offering superior service, and to taking an active role in supporting the communities it serves," Davis said. "Tri-County Electric Membership Corp. belongs to each of you."

The cooperative is now valued at more than $71 million dollars with almost $60 million of that being invested in plant facilities to serve the members, he said.

At the end of 2009, member equity or ownership totaled almost $22 million or approximately 30.54 percent of total assets, Davis said.

"The cooperative has very high ethical standards, enforced by a board ethics policy, and the cooperative is not motivated by profit," Davis said. "All of the profits or margins earned by the cooperative are returned to the members. In that spirit, the Tri-County Board of Directors recently approved a capital credit refund of over $1,000,000 representing 50 percent of the margins of 1993. Those refund checks were mailed about two weeks ago. There were 9,789 checks mailed."

Davis told members that over the next several months, the co-op will be introducing some programs to help them save energy and comply with the state renewable energy law. The state law requires power providers to purchase a certain percentage of electricity generated by renewable sources such as wind and solar energy.

The mandate also gives co-ops the option of complying by enacting energy efficiency measures. By helping their members use energy more efficiently, the cooperative will be able to meet the mandates for reducing dependency on non-renewable resources and help the members save on their energy bills, he said.

Last December, each member received a Co-op Connections Card. This program helps members receive discounts on products and services from participating local pharmacies and national businesses. The card was free to each member and has already saved the members more than $35,000 with 89 percent of the savings being on generic drugs, he said.

Since the Bright Idea Grant program began in 1994, Tri-County has granted $996,042 for 1,054 projects initiated by teachers in Wayne, Duplin and Lenoir counties.

The employee-funded scholarship program has benefited 347 students with $157,000 in scholarships to high school seniors.

The corporation servesmore than 23,000 members in Wayne, Duplin, Lenoir, Johnston, Jones, Sampson and Wilson counties.