No changes on United Power board of directors

By Steve Smith
Posted 4/18/12

BRIGHTON -- All four incumbent directors retained their seats on the United Power board of directors during the power coops 73rd annual meeting April 18 at the Armory.

One seat in each of …

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No changes on United Power board of directors


BRIGHTON -- All four incumbent directors retained their seats on the United Power board of directors during the power coops 73rd annual meeting April 18 at the Armory.

One seat in each of the cooperative’s four director districts was up for election this year. Election results were announced before the meeting was adjourned.

Tim Erickson was declared the winner of the seat in the East district and received 2,780 votes while opponent Cheryl Ferne garnered 2,138 votes.

Bill Berens won the seat in the South District with 2,368 votes, while Larry Ford received 797 votes and David (Dave) Jacovetta received 1,801 votes.

Unopposed director Brian McCormick from the West District received 4,482 votes. Rick Newman from the Mountain District, also ran unopposed and received 4,465 votes.

Members cast more than 5,000 votes in this year's election. But the meeting wasn't just about the board elections. It also included updates from CEO Ron Asche, board president Susan Petrocco and secretary-treasurer Ginny Buczek.

Petrocco discussed the unique challenges facing the electric industry at a national level. While not much has happened recently in the legislative arena, United Power continues to work closely with the National Rural Electric Association to monitor government regulations that would have an adverse affect on the cooperative.

Renewable resources and transmission continue to be a topic in the legislative spotlight as well as demand response load reduction programs. Petrocco also mentioned the use and implementation of smart grid technologies by cooperatives across the country. She indicated that United Power continues to monitor best practices and move forward in the smart grid realm in a reasonable manner—recognizing that the technology must provide value to the membership.

Buczek talked about the positive financial condition of the cooperative. Operating revenues increased more than 4 percent last year (up to $140.4 million), due to increased kilowatt-hour sales as a result of an additional 1,200 members. Operating expenses are up, too ($137.4 million in 2011). The 3.9 percent increase was the result of higher purchased power costs. Buczek told the audience the cost of purchase power continues to account for more than 70 percent of United Power expenses. Buczek also recognized that the capital credit reimbursement of $3 million dollars that was returned to the members last year is another indication of the strong financial position of the cooperative.

Asche, who is United Power’s new CEO, discussed accomplishments of the cooperative for the last year and the strategic goals the board and staff have set for the upcoming year. Safety continues to be his first priority at the cooperative. A new focus on a safe culture at the cooperative resulted in just one lost-time accident in 2011, versus six accidents in 2010.

He also talked about the cooperative's service, including a special look at reliability and technology to improve restoration times and service reliability. Members received hundreds of home-visits by energy auditors, thousands of phone calls to the customer call center and hundreds of thousands of rebate dollars in the last year.

Asche then presented the key focus areas for the cooperative in the coming year. Those include economic development, competitive position, legislative and regulatory issues, member expectations, renewable and distributive energy generation, workforce, finances, operations, technology and security.


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