Electric Industry Changes on the Horizon

A Review of REC's 2015 Annual Meeting

The second year of REC's streamlined Annual Meeting took place on Aug. 13 at the Fredericksburg Conference Center. Over 100 members joined the Cooperative’s leadership for an electric industry outlook, to vote for the Cooperative’s Board of Directors and to review REC’s financial strength.

At the meeting, members learned that the future of the electric industry is changing. President and CEO Kent D. Farmer explained, “The electric utility industry is in the midst of some of the most significant changes we have seen in our history. The primary drivers of these changes are advancements in technology and environmental regulations.”

Today REC members hear about the smart grid, smart homes, distributed generation, electric vehicles, cyber security, renewable energy, energy efficiency mandates and more. According to Farmer, all of the industry changes are important to REC’s members because they will affect how the Cooperative achieves its mission of delivering reliable and affordable service, and how these changes will influence consumer expectations. He said, “All of these changes come with a cost and balancing those costs with operational efficiencies, enhanced reliability and improved member service will create both challenges and opportunities in the future.”

At the meeting, 7,000 members voted either in-person or by proxy to re-elect four directors to REC’s board for three-year terms: Darlene H. Carpenter, Region III; William C. Frazier, Region VI; William E. Lane, Region IX; and Christopher G. Shipe, Region X. Following the Annual Meeting the board met to elect directors to leadership positions. Carpenter was elected to serve another term as chairman of the board. Shipe was elected to serve as vice chair. Linda R. Gray was elected secretary, and Thomas T. Grady was re-elected treasurer.

Members also received an update on how the Annual Meeting has changed. Farmer said, “We want to reach more of our members closer to their homes. We have hosted Get Connected events in all of our districts, which are allowing us to be more involved with you in your communities. These member-focused events demonstrate the value of being a member-owner of REC.”

The two most recent Get Connected events were held in Bowling Green, Va., and Culpeper, Va. Thousands of the Cooperative’s members have gathered with REC’s employees for electric safety demonstrations, displays of products and services, and to receive information to help with energy efficiency, safety and more.

“Because of our Get Connected events we have been able to successfully scale back our Annual Meeting to focus solely on the business session, which is the most important part of this annual event,” explained Farmer. “When you combine our efforts with the new initiatives we have launched over the past year, we can look back and confidently say we have successfully maintained a solid focus on our members’ best interests. The Annual Meeting will continue to focus on the business session and will be supplemented with community-based events.”

The meeting adjourned after members had the opportunity to ask questions directly to Farmer. He concluded the meeting with these remarks: “The changes taking place in the electric utility business may change both how you use and what you pay for electric service in the future. However, what will not change is our commitment to you, our members. REC's employees are dedicated to staying educated and informed, and as always they are prepared to provide you with the most reliable and affordable electric service. And that's the value of your Cooperative membership.”

REC provides electric service to over 160,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, the Cooperative operates and maintains more than 16,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Follow REC on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Kent FarmerREC President and CEO Kent D. Farmer gives REC members an electric industry outlook during the 2015 Annual Meeting on Aug. 13 at the Fredericksburg Conference Center.

VIDEO: View highlights from REC's Annual Business Meeting.