Annual co-op meeting draws crowd in Quitman

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Nearly 400 members braved the rain and cooler temperatures to attend the 81st annual meeting of Wood County Electric Cooperative Friday afternoon, Oct. 11 at Governor Jim Hogg City Park in Quitman. Prior to the meeting a free concert featuring singer/songwriters and sibling group, The Swoapes, was a crowd pleaser. 

Debbie Robinson, CEO/general manager of WCEC, introduced the keynote speaker, State Rep. Cole Hefner (House District 5), who gave a legislative update. She then spoke to the crowd about the cooperative’s changing fuel mix. The cooperative’s mix traditionally has been natural gas, coal and hydro power.

“The cost of using renewable sources is coming down as technology improves,” she said. “Because of that, wind generation is now part of our mix. We are also currently studying how we can bring solar power into our generation mix to add to the already low cost of natural gas generation that we have. Being good stewards of our environment and good stewards of our pocketbooks are always at the forefront of our decisions.”

WCEC Board President and District One Director Pat Lindley also welcomed the crowd and announced the results of the board of director’s election, which was conducted by mail and tabulated by Survey and Ballots Systems. He reported the reelection of Cathy Roberts for District 5 and Jane Roberson for District 6, both for three-year terms.  

Lindley also announced that the board of directors contemplates retiring capital credits, saying, “We will retire $1.5 million in capital credits which is an increase of $500K over last year. As is our tradition, checks will be mailed in December. In total, over the last 30 years over $26 million dollars has been returned to our members. We appreciate you supporting our electric co-op and in turn our ability to return capital credits to you.”

Once the business meeting closed, the prize drawing was conducted by Director of Operations, Rusty Mask. Prizes included a wooden rocker, tools and household items, and many gift certificates. These prizes were made possible through the generous donations of WCEC’s vendors. 

Prior to the annual meeting, ten lucky members were awarded $100 in credit to their electric bills. These names were drawn from returned election ballots. Those winners were John Redmon, Red Springs; Catherine Maddox, East Point; Darrell Galyean, Alba; Gary Krell, Quitman; Willie Cicero, Red Land; Janet Johnson, South Franklin; Gary Gibson, Winnsboro; Larry Lewis, Yantis; Carolynn Null, Hoard; and Heather French, Winona. And an early bird prize of an iPad Air 64 GB was drawn from ballots received before Sept 27. The winner was Living Water Fellowship of Quitman. The grand prize, drawn from members at the meeting, was a $500 VISA gift card and the winner was Earl Cash of Winnsboro.

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