2024 Annual Meeting Recap

As members gathered for the Annual Meeting of Members on Saturday, June 1, at Paris High School, the meeting displayed the cooperative difference and celebrated 85 years of committed service to the local communities.

Cooperative History
"Strong Foundation, Bright Future" was the theme of the meeting. The cooperative's first electrification project was initiated in July 1939 near Route 1 and High School Road on the north edge of Paris, marking the beginning of a long and fruitful journey.

Financial Update
Board Secretary-Treasurer Greg Robinson presented the Treasurer's report, revealing a significant $2 million debt reduction since 2019. This accomplishment demonstrates the co-op's dedication to maintaining the cooperative's and its members' rate stability.

"The co-op's biggest expense, and one that we have minimal control over, is the cost of wholesale power. For every dollar we collect…54 cents go towards the cost of power," stated Robinson. "What we can control is the actual cost to deliver power to your home. The co-op board and leadership staff closely monitor and control these expenses. Even with inflation, we have kept these costs relatively stable for the last few years."

CEO Update
EnerStar CEO Dave Clinton presented the CEO report, emphasizing the cooperative's resilience in the face of challenges such as rising materials and power costs. He underscored the cooperative's proactive measures, instilling a sense of reassurance in the members about our commitment to financial stability.

Clinton informed members that the co-op has experienced a 14% rise in wholesale power over the past two years. This increase was the primary factor leading to the cooperative's decision to raise their electric rates by 18% over the same two-year period. "We do not take any rate increase lightly. However, to remain financially stable, an increase was necessary. If there is any good news in this, it is that due to the co-op's focus on careful spending, EnerStar's rate increase is lower than increases across the Midwest and the national average."

At closing, Clinton discussed a recent NERC report raising concerns about electric availability during peak load periods. Clinton explained that the co-op could either take a "wait and see" approach, becoming victims of whatever the future brings or proactively take an active role in determining future power costs. Clinton says, "Our co-op is not sitting back to see what happens but taking an active role in determining future costs." The cooperative is designing a rate structure better suited for the changing industry, giving members more control and choice of how and when they use electricity and what those costs may be. The co-op is also working with its power supplier, Wabash Valley Power, to develop further incentives for members wanting to reduce their energy costs.

Incumbent Directors Reelected
Rob Anderson of Anderson Law Office, the cooperative corporate attorney, gave the director election results. All incumbent candidates ran unopposed and were elected to new 3-year terms: Kevin Julian (Voting District A, Representative District 2), Darin Griffin (Voting District B, Representative District 4), and Julie Higginbotham (Voting District C, Representative District 7).

Proposed Bylaw Changes Approved by Co-op Membership
The first change dealt with the election process when only one candidate ran for a director's position. Instead of mailing ballots to members within the voting district, unopposed candidates will be presented as a verbal vote during the annual meeting. The regular mail-in ballot process will be used if the election is contested. In the case of a tie between two candidates, language was added to draw lots to determine the winner.

The second bylaw proposal clarified language regarding the board of directors issuing a general retirement on capital credits from more recent years. Both proposals were approved.

Hope to see you next year!
As always, the meeting closed with the always popular door prize drawing. This year, the prizes were bill credits, which seemed highly appreciated by the membership. All members receive a $25 bill credit for attending the meeting. We appreciate all who came this year and the wonderful compliments. We hope to see you again! And if you didn't make it, we hope to see you next year!