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RECC celebrates 80th Annual Meeting

Members of RECC gathered for their 80th annual meeting of members on Thursday, June 8 at

Glenwood High School in

From left are co-op directors Mel Repscher, John Beatty, Thom Hart, and President/CEO David Stuva

Chatham. Before the meeting, about 550 members and guests enjoyed a pork chop dinner, vendor displays, bucket truck rides and a variety of activities for kids.
Chris Wilcox, Vice Chairman of the Board, welcomed members and recognized the service anniversaries for several co-op employees and directors. He congratulated Lou DeLaby, manager of operations and maintenance, and Dana Smith, manager of member and public relations, on their planned retirements in the coming months.
Elections were held for three positions on the Board of Directors, with Thom Hart of Atwater (District 4), John Beatty of Waverly (District 5) and Mel Repscher of Taylorville (District 6) running unopposed for new three-year terms.
In the officers’ reports, Treasurer Lou Weitekamp said that revenue for 2016 totaled $15,118,580 resulting in net margins of $233,075 compared to margins in 2015 of $364,548.
RECC Chairman of the Board Mel Repscher and President/CEO David Stuva provided updates on co-op projects and accomplishments. Stuva reported that a member satisfaction survey in 2016 showed high results for RECC in prompt outage response, knowledgeable employees and reliable electric service. Ratings improved from a 2013 survey in satisfaction with rates and keeping costs down.
Stuva and Repscher noted that rates are expected to decrease in 2018, when a new power supply contract with NextEra Energy Power Marketing goes into effect. The 10-year plus 5-month contract satisfied the Board’s concerns with potential price volatility and capacity limitations in the Midwest markets, Repscher said. He noted the new contract will provide the Board options to retain higher margins and build higher equity for a stronger future, while reducing the current Power Cost Adjustment on members’ bills.

 


$500 School Grants Awarded

Two area schools have additional learning opportunities for their students this year, thanks to Touchstone Energy Classroom Empowerment Grants Program from Rural Electric! RECC has awarded $500 mini-grants for projects that will extend beyond their classrooms and broaden the scope of their teaching efforts.

The two grants were presented to:

Sarah Jennings, Morrisonville Grade School – to purchase historical fiction novels for 5th and 6th graders as a literacy and history tool, and to help pay for tickets to a theatrical production based on the book at Sangamon Auditorium in Springfield. As a winner of a classroom grant last year, Sarah will also be continuing projects on fossil excavations and a school flowerbed with her students.

Erin Nicolas, South Fork Elementary School School – to purchase a projector for her special education classroom to share spreadsheets, websites and videos with all her students.

As a Touchstone Energy electric cooperative, RECC’s focus is on our communities, and these projects will enhance the education and experiences of youngsters in our area. We’re looking forward to hearing the positive results that will come from these schools!


2015 Capital Credit Equity allocated to members

On members’ July electric bills, which were mailed on August 4, there was a message on the left hand side of the billing statement indicating the amount of capital credit equity allocated to each member for electricity purchased in 2015. This message only appears on your master account and only appears if you had an active account in 2015.

As a member-owner of your cooperative, you share in any annual margins. Your share of these margins is called “capital credits.” At the end of each year, these net margins are allocated to each member on a basis of the dollar amount of energy used during that year. We provided you with the amount of the allocation for the year on your electric billing statement.

These allocations are not available as cash nor can they be applied as payments on your electric bill. These monies are used by your cooperative for long-term debt retirement, reserves, emergencies, system improvements and other contingencies.

Capital credits may be paid to members as the board of directors deems appropriate and as the financial condition of the cooperative permits. RECC has returned over $3 million in capital credits to members, for all margins earned since our beginning in 1937 through 1982.

For more background on capital credits, click here.


Local Youths Travel to Washington

Youth Tour at Gettysburg

RECC sent three students (middle) to Washington, with a stop at the Gettysburg Memorial Cemetery in Pennsylvania. Lucas Motley from Palmyra, Hannah Gudgel from Pawnee, and Riley Jennings from Litchfield represented Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative, with chaperones John and Sandy Lex. Sandy is RECC’s Executive Assistant.

Three local students were among the 64 Illinois high schoolers attending the 2016 Youth Tour to Washington for a week of education and fun in the nation’s capital. Illinois electric cooperatives sent 64 students on the trip, June 10-17, with nearly 1,700 students from 43 states in Washington for the annual event.

RECC sponsored Hannah Gudgel from Pawnee and Lucas Motley from Palmyra on the Youth Tour trip, and Riley Jennings from Litchfield was a self-sponsored “Willie Wiredhand” attendee. RECC’s Executive Assistant Sandy Lex was a chaperone for the trip, along with her husband, John.

RECC students and Congressman RodneyDavis

Lucas Motley, Riley Jennings, Congressman Rodney Davis, and Sarah Gudgel

The Youth Tour, sponsored by the electric and telephone cooperatives of Illinois, is an introduction to our democratic form of government and cooperatives for rural youth. Over 51,000 high school students from across the country have taken part in the Youth Tour since its start in the 1950s.

In addition to the U.S. Capitol, students visited Arlington National Cemetery, the Washington National Cathedral, Smithsonian Museums, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the World War II Memorial, memorials to Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington and Roosevelt, the National Archives, and a number of other historical sites.

The Illinois group also visited the Saudi Arabian Embassy, and met with Senator Dick Durbin and Representatives Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood during the busy week.

Youth Tour group and Capitol

Illinois electric cooperative youths enjoyed many sites in Washington, D.C.


2016 Rural Electric Youth Day

Local state representatives met with students from area schools during the Illinois Electric and Telephone Cooperatives Youth Day on Wednesday, April 13 in Springfield. More than 225 students from around Illinois had an opportunity to visit the State Capitol, view state government in action and question their legislators on key issues.
Pictured (L-R) are: Dana Smith, Manager of Member and Public Relations; Riley Jennings from Litchfield High School, Lucas Motley from Northwestern High School, Rep. Sara Wojcicki-Jimenez, Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, Hannah Gudgel from Pawnee, and Sandy Lex, Executive Assistant at Rural Electric. The students also visited with Senators Sam McCann and Andy Manar at the Capitol.
Students also heard from Secretary of State Jesse White in his office. During lunch, Treasurer Michael Frerichs challenged the students to take an interest in the political process and encouraged them to follow their dreams and do what interests them because life can take interesting turns and twists.
While in Springfield, the students also toured the Old State Capitol and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
Youth Day is designed to introduce young rural leaders to state government. There were 24 co-ops from across the state represented at the event, which has been held for nearly 50 years.
All three of the students in RECC’s group will be participating in the Youth to Washington Tour to be held June 10 – 17. Over 1,000 youths from around the country will be part of this educational event in our nation’s capital.


Capital Credit Equity For 1982 Retired

Mail_coupleRECC membersreceived refunds on their electric bills for December, for the retirement of $268,957 in capital credit equity earned in 1982. Over 1,000 members still served by the co-op saw a refund credit on their billing statements mailed January7, while 1,549 members who no longer have an active account received refund checks.

“Capital credits represent our members’ ownership in the cooperative,” says RECC Board chairman Jimmy Ayers. “As a not-for-profit cooperative, we strive for a relatively small operating margin each year, to meet our financial obligations and to be prepared for unexpected costs such as a large storm. When we have that margin at the end of the year, we re-invest the money in our system and can eventually pay it back to the members.” The latest capital credit retirement brings the total retirements made to RECC members to over $3.4 million.


New Video – The Electric Grid

The electric grid is a complex system of power plants, transmission lines, substations and distribution lines that transmit electric power from the place where it’s generated – all the way to electric co-op members at the end of the line.​ A new video explains the major components of a modern electric generation and delivery system that bring you electric power around-the-clock. Click here to wElectric Gridatch the video!


Prepaid Electric Service Option

RECC’s Prepaid Electric Service allows you to pay for energy when you choose. The easy pay-as-you-go plan will give you greater control over your budget because you can decide how much to pay and when to pay it. Prepaid Electric Service offers many benefits:

Say goodbye to large deposits
A $50 deposit and $25 toward your first energy use is all that’s needed to start on Prepaid Electric Service. (You’ll still have your $5 co-op membership fee as well.)  If you have a larger deposit with the co-op, you can apply part of it to your energy bill!

No more monthly bill
Instead of one large bill at the end of the month, you can make smaller payments when your prepaid account runs low! And there are no late fees that increase your costs.

Buy electricity when convenient
You can customize a payment schedule that works for you. Make a payment anytime online or by phone, or through our office during business hours. You can buy an electricity supply for a month or more, or enough for a few days at a time.

Monitor and control your energy use
Since you can see your prepaid balance change each day, you’ll be more aware if your electric use increases. You can also see how changes in your habits can affect your energy cost!

Receive low-balance notifications
We’ll let you know if your prepaid balance is getting low, usually when you have about five days left of typical electric use. You can choose e-mail or text messages, or phone calls to alert you of a low balance.

Prepaid Electric Service is a different way to pay and manage your electric costs.  If you want more information about this new billing option, give us a call at (217) 438-6197. We can review your account history and current balance, and explain the transition to the prepaid plan.


2014 Capital Credits Allocated To Members

On members’ July electric bills, which were mailed on August 6, there was a message on the left hand side of the billing statement indicating the amount of capital credits allocated to each member for electricity purchased in 2014. This message only appears on your master account and only appears if you were a customer in 2014.

As a member-owner of your cooperative, you share in any annual margins. Your share of these margins is called “capital credits.” At the end of each year, these net margins are allocated to each member on a basis of the dollar amount of energy used during that year. We provided you with the amount of the allocation for the year on your electric billing statement.

These allocations are not available as cash nor can they be applied as payments on your electric bill. These monies are used by your cooperative for long-term debt retirement, reserves, emergencies, system improvements and other contingencies.

Capital credits may be paid to members as the board of directors deems appropriate and as the financial condition of the cooperative permits. RECC has returned over $3 million in capital credits to members, for all margins earned since our beginning in 1937 through 1981.


Three directors re-elected at Annual Meeting

Three directors were re-elected to the RECC Board at the co-op’s Annual Meeting on June 11, with one being a contested election between incumbent Cassie Eigenmann of Modesto and challenger John Earley of Girard in District 9. After a short speech from each candidate, ballots were cast and Cassie Eigenmann won re-election to the Board. In District 7, Andy Goleman of Divernon ran unopposed as did Lou Weitekamp of Raymond in District 8.

A great crowd of 276 members, plus families and guests, gathered at the co-op’s 78th Annual Meeting at Glenwood Elementary School in Chatham.

Secretary/Treasurer Mel Repscher reported that the co-op had a net margin of $528,235 for 2014, on revenues of $15,757,989. He pointed out that 65 percent of all revenue went to pay for wholesale power costs.

Those power costs have been stable for the past five years, and are expected to remain so in the foreseeable future, said President/CEO David Stuva. He said the co-op’s power contract with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency gives us a long-term approach to our power supply, which is a benefit to our members.

While coal still provides the majority of electrical power in downstate Illinois, Stuva pointed out that recent regulations announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seek to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by coal-burning power plants, which will effectively shut down many existing coal plants. He said that Illinois’ not-for-profit electric cooperatives support an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, one that incorporates natural gas, nuclear, renewable energy, and coal to generate power.

Stuva thanked the audience for supporting the action.coop campaign, with over one million comments registered online across the country to encourage the EPA to take a balanced approach to energy supplies. A “common sense” energy policy is needed to keep electricity reliable and affordable, he said.

Board Chairman Jimmy Ayers mentioned some of the new programs and billing options now offered to RECC members, including the SmartHub portal for viewing and paying bills online. The newest option is RECC’s Prepaid Electric Service, he pointed out, which allows members s to pay for electricity as they use it instead of in one large bill at the end of the month.

Click here to see the RECC 2015 Annual Report publication