Due to the COVOD-19 pandemic the Annual Meeting for 2020 and 2021 has been cancelled. We are looking forward to 2022!
NCEC 2019 Annual Member Meeting
Safety, Community Celebrated at NCEC Annual Meeting
SARA NEVILL WAS ALL SMILES AS SHE STOOD AT THE BACK OF THE Cook Education Center at Navarro College, watching as fellow Navarro County Electric Cooperative members found shelter from the rain outside and filled the meeting hall in Corsicana the morning of May 11. Her three daughters, ages 4, 7 and 10, sat near her feet along the wall, nibbling on breakfast and playing on tablets as they waited for the co-op’s 81st annual meeting to begin.
“This is our first annual meeting,” said Nevill, who runs a commercial lawn care company with her husband. “In fact, this is the first year that we’ve been part of the co-op.” Less than two years ago, the family was living on municipal lines in Teague, but, tragically, they lost their home to a fire September 8, 2017. They have since bought about 10 acres outside of town, in Navarro County EC’s service territory, and are enjoying the country life. As a new member, Nevill thought it would be
valuable to attend the annual meeting, namely to offer a learning experi- ence to her daughters. “We just thought it’d be a good opportunity for the children to experience what a nonprofit professional business meeting is run like,” she said.
And the co-op’s employees gave them exactly that—a succinct display of the cooperative business model in action. That model espouses democratic control, which is why a core purpose of the annual meeting is to elect members to the board of directors. This year, three directors—Kent Sheffield, District 1; Leonard Mixon, District 3; and Van Fowler, District 7—were up for reelection.
All three ran unopposed and were reelected to additional three-year terms on the board by a voice vote of the 166 members present. The board of directors is composed entirely of co-op members responsible for making major decisions and setting policy for the cooperative. That includes the retirement of capital credits, which represent each member’s ownership of the cooperative. Capital credits are margins allocated to members based on how much electricity they purchase in a given year.
“One of the benefits of being a co-op member is that when the co-op’s financially able, it pays back capital credits to all of the members and past members,” said Billy Jones, Navarro County EC general manager and CEO. In 2018, the co-op returned more than $1.2 million in capital credits. “This makes 14 consecutive years that we’ve been able to make those payments,” Jones told meeting attendees. “So again, in 2018, most of you all saw a credit on your November electric bill.”
George Smith, board secretary-treasurer, ran through some other highlights of the cooperative’s financials for the previous year. Total revenue topped $46.6 million while expenses amounted to just over $43.6 million, most of which went to the cost of purchasing power from Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, the generation and transmission cooperative that produces the power that Navarro County EC distributes. That left NCEC with nearly $3 million in operating margins.
“The co-op was actually operated on a little over 21 cents out of every dollar collected from the members,” Smith said, also noting that the co-op’s net utility plant increased by $800,000 from 2017 to 2018 while long-term debt decreased. Jones reported that NCEC grew by 365 meters in 2018, “the biggest year we’ve had in a good while,” he said. That growth brought the co-op to 16,608 meters and 3,006 miles of line, making for a total of $97.2 million in assets. To maintain all of that equipment requires a team of knowledgeable and dedicated employees—one of Navarro County EC’s greatest assets, particularly when it comes to safety. In 2018, Jones said, the cooperative’s employees reached 10 years without a lost-time accident. The co-op also obtained another three-year safety accreditation and received the prestigious GE Safety Achievement Award at the Texas Electric Cooperatives Loss Control Conference in March.
“The employees continue to demonstrate a real commitment to safety,” Jones said. “This is an amazing accomplishment for these guys.” Jones also announced that as of the morning of the annual meeting, the co-op was on the verge of reaching 1 million man hours without a lost-time accident. “We’re at 996,000 right now,” he said. “So, by next Wednesday, if nothing rips, we’ll be at a million man-hours.”
Providing safe and reliable electricity isn’t the only way that Navarro County EC serves its members. The co-op is also committed to the communities where its members live. In adherence to Cooperative Principle No. 7, Concern for Community, This year, NCEC awarded $6,000 scholarships to support the higher education of six area students: Taylor Williams, Alexis Harrell, Kasey Fisher, Alex Arnett, Thomas Saunders and Corbin Donoho. 2019 also marks the first year that NCEC has participated in the Government-in-Action Youth Tour. In mid-June, the co-op sent high school students Kylee Ivey and Jonathan Cobb on the trip to Washington, D.C. “This is a trip of a lifetime for a high school student,” Jones said. “They’ll go to Washington, D.C., visit with our representatives, and tour the Capitol as well as many other attractions.”
Jones also highlighted Navarro County EC’s Operation Round-Up program, which gathers voluntary donations from participating co-op members by rounding up their electric bills to the nearest dollar and distributes those funds to worthy charitable causes in the co-op’s service area. Since its inception in 2009, the program has awarded more than $729,000 in grants. The co-op gave just a little bit more to its members at the annual meeting, as it does every year, in the form of door prizes. About 79 lucky members—as well as several employees and one director—went home with prizes ranging from kitchen appliances and electric tools to outdoor bug zappers and bill credits. It’s just one way NCEC says “Thanks” to those who make the cooperative possible. As Smith put it to the members, “Without you all, we wouldn’t be here.”