Trustees re-elected at Carroll Electric Cooperative meeting
CARROLLTON — Carroll Electric Cooperative Inc. celebrated a year of progress and service during its 2018 annual meeting Aug. 25 at the Carroll County Fairgrounds. A total of 472 members, community leaders and guests were in attendance.
Incumbents Gary Snode, Harold Sutton and Frank Chiurco were re-elected to three-year terms to the board of trustees, representing Districts 1, 4 and 8 of the cooperative’s territory.
Board President Harold Sutton thanked members for their participation in the cooperative.
“Listening to you, our member-consumers, sets Carroll Electric apart from other utilities,” Sutton said. “When you make a comment to an employee, send a note in with your bill or talk directly to a board member, we are listening. The value of your comments is immeasurable, and they help us set policy and provide better service to all members.”
In his annual address, Larry J. Fenbers, the co-op’s CEO and general manager, said considerable progress has been made in implementing the cooperative’s ongoing strategic plan. This includes upgrading computer systems to protect against cyber threats, enhancing credit card payment processing and improving outage communication to members.
Fenbers also discussed steps the cooperative has taken to improve system performance.
“We replaced the transformers in both our Ross substation and Petersburg substation,” Fenbers said. “During the next year, we will replace the transformer at our Sugar Grove substation as well.”
Fenbers detailed the cooperative’s tree-trimming efforts. This year, Carroll Electric will be trimming areas served by the Mohawk, Sugar Grove and Springfield substations, and portions of the Washington substation area. In 2019, trimming will be completed in the Washington substation area and in the entirety of the Summitville substation area. Carroll Electric will continue to address dead ash trees that pose potential problems to system reliability.
Fenbers commended employees for their service and for posting a safety record in the past year.
“I am happy to report that we completed the past year without any lost-time accidents,” said Fenbers. “To help continue this trend, we have joined with three other cooperatives and hired a shared safety consultant. This helps ensure that we stay in compliance with safety rules and continually look for ways to improve our performance.”
Fenbers announced that because of Carroll Electric’s financial position, the cooperative was able to return more than $545,000 in capital credits to members.
Capital credits are annual operating margins disbursed to co-op members based on the individual member’s share of electricity purchased from the cooperative over time.
Yvonne Ackerman, manager of marketing and member services, discussed recent scams targeting Carroll Electric members. Scammers will typically threaten to disconnect a member’s power because of a supposedly overdue bill, pressure members to switch power suppliers or attempt to enter a member’s home to perform a fraudulent energy audit.
“Scammers will go to great lengths for a payday,” said Ackerman. “We shouldn’t expect these criminals to give up any time soon, because they will inevitably find someone vulnerable enough to scam.”
Ackerman reminded members that Carroll Electric will never ask for immediate payment over the phone, and advised them to never give out personal information to anyone or allow entry to their home without an appointment.
Kurt Helfrich, general counsel for Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, discussed recent changes in the management of the power supply.
In March, Buckeye Power, the generation and transmission cooperative that provides Ohio co-ops with power, assumed management control of the Cardinal Power Plant in Brilliant from American Electric Power after a 50-year partnership.
“Under the management of Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, co-op members can expect a safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible supply of electricity from Cardinal well into the future,” Helfrich said.