Record Participation in Board Elections
August 20, 2020
REC member-owners selected three of their peers to serve on REC's Board of Directors. This year's election saw record-setting participation among member-owners, with more than 20,000 people returning their Proxy Designation Card or participating in the virtual Annual Meeting, which was held Aug. 19.
- In Region IV, Sanford Reaves Jr. was re-elected. This region covers the counties of Culpeper and Orange.
- In Region V, Randy Thomas was re-elected. This region covers Spotsylvania County
- In Region IX, Eugene Campbell Jr. was re-elected. This region covers the counties of Essex, King and Queen and King William.
Christopher Shipe, chairman of REC's board, emphasized how seriously all REC directors take their roles.
"We study the issues, listen to the feedback, learn about the latest developments in the industry, discuss issues and make important decisions that affect you," Shipe said. "We take that role and responsibility seriously and with the utmost professionalism."
Also at the Annual Meeting, President and CEO John D. Hewa provided updates on the Cooperative's accomplishments, challenges and future plans, sharing the following:
- With the pandemic, the health and safety of REC's employees and member-owners remains your Cooperative's top priority. However, important work such as clearing rights of way and system upgrades to improve reliability are continuing - with crews rotating shifts and practicing safe social distancing.
- REC recognizes the extreme hardships many families and businesses continue to face, and your cooperative is proud to follow state guidelines of not disconnecting for nonpayment or charging late fees at this time. REC will work with all member-owners on payment plans to suit their needs.
- REC returned a record amount of Capital Credits, $13 million, to member-owners in June. That money was reflected in a bill credit, with the amount varying depending on a member’s length of membership and the amount of electricity used.
- Even with an 80-year history of providing safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy solutions, electric work remains a dangerous field. Hewa acknowledged the courage of line workers, contractors and other field team members working to serve REC member-owners.
“The next time you see the REC team and our contractors rolling by, please take a moment to reflect on the challenges that our employees and contractors face as they go about the hazards of their daily jobs,” Hewa said.
Looking ahead, he said REC will focus on improving technology and finding new solutions to ensure your cooperative continues to meet increasing expectations.
Hewa also noted REC’s continuing commitment to smart energy solutions, including distributed energy and electric vehicles. He highlighted the Cooperative Sunshare program, which allows member-owners to purchase blocks of solar power without having to install equipment at their homes. He also previewed a planned special rate for charging electric vehicles at home that REC plans to roll out in 2021.
Finally, Hewa touched on "the digital divide" among RE'’s suburban and rural member-owners.
"Many of you have asked: 'What can REC do to further broadband?' " Hewa said. "While broadband brings about great opportunity, it's also a very expensive undertaking and REC must proceed very carefully."
He noted that last year REC began an 800-mile fiber project that ultimately will connect more than 100 sites across the cooperative. REC also continues to evaluate further opportunities in the fiber and broadband areas and is currently surveying many member-owners on the topic.
REC recently indicated its intent to participate in the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction this October, when the FCC awards funds to expand broadband service. Due to FCC regulations, REC is not permitted to further discuss its involvement in the federal auction, Hewa said.
Looking to the future, Hewa said, "Please know that you can always depend on REC."