McDonough Power Cooperative’s 80th Annual Meeting
Members of McDonough Power Cooperative gathered for the co-op’s 80th Annual Meeting of Members held Tuesday, August 22 at The Crossing in Macomb where they were provided updates on their cooperative and enjoyed a pork chop dinner.
During the meeting, President/CEO Mike Smith informed members about McDonough Power’s most recent news. This year, the board of McDonough Power authorized the retirement of capital credits to the membership in the amount of $397,861. McDonough Power has retired capital credits for 11 consecutive years, making a grand total of $3,613,570.85 returned to the member-owners.
Owners of the cooperative contribute to and democratically control the capital of the cooperative. Smith said, “The economic benefits of a cooperative, meaning the net margins the cooperative has after all the bills have been paid, are used to operate the cooperative for the life of those assets and then returned to you, the member.”
Smith then went on to discuss the trend on the wholesale power side of business. “Right now, we are seeing a steady but constant slide in the number of kWh’s that we sell to our members,” Smith said. Comparing sales now to that of 2014, there is a 15 percent decrease.
Smith suggests there could be many reasons for lower kWh sales. These include the increasing technology in energy efficiency, LED lighting, milder summers and winters, the increasing interest in renewable energy, and the shutting down of the Freeman coalmine that was on McDonough Power’s lines.
“Perhaps the best answer for that is no one really knows,” Smith said. “What we do know is who we are. We will have voluntary and open ownership and give those members a voice in the future of the cooperative. We will continue to have our owner’s economic participation in our cooperative and return those benefits back to you. We will remain independent and controlled by our owners. We will provide education to the public about cooperatives and the benefits of being a member owner.”
Commitment to community is one of the seven principles that are the foundation of cooperatives. Chairman Jeff Moore discussed some ways the co-op demonstrates this principle, starting with Operation Round-Up.
This program began in 2015, rounding up a participant’s monthly electric bill to the nearest dollar. The leftover change is put into a fund and is contributed to non-profit organizations in the community including food banks, fire departments and hospitals.
“I have participated in the program since it began in November 2015,” Moore said. “To date, I have contributed $10.01, but that contribution along with thousands of others has resulted in our total number of grants to date to equal $41,862.45.”
Additionally, Moore recognized Eric DeWitt for his work with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s international program. He and several other Illinois linemen traveled to rural Bolivia in South America to bring electric service to remote parts of the country. “This is a volunteer program filled with long days of work and short nights of rest,” Moore said. “His contribution helped to bring electric service to a remote school that never had service before.”
Other ways McDonough Power gave back to the community was through Coats for Kids, youth tours to Springfield and Washington D.C., and working with students and faculty at Western Illinois University.
This year’s LaVern and Nola McEntire Lineman Scholarship was awarded to Ethan Carlock of Chandlerville. The one-year $2,000 scholarship will help to contribute to the costs of attending the line worker’s school conducted by the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives in conjunction with Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield.
In the treasurer’s report, David Lueck reported that the co-op saw $294,055 in operating margins for the year.
An election of directors also occurred during the meeting. David Lueck of Macomb, Jeff Moore of Good Hope and Steve Youngquist of Cameron were re-elected to the co-op’s board of directors.