"Same mission, new perspective" was the theme of Orange County REMC’s 86th Annual Meeting. It implies that while the overall goal remains constant, there is a fresh approach or outlook being taken. Recently, this new perspective includes adding fiber services to help improve the lives of our members and meeting challenges in the energy industry. Orange County REMC’s co-op principles remain the same as we strive to balance affordability and reliability regardless of new technologies and energy trends.
The Annual Meeting was held on Friday, June 2. The meeting was located at the co-op’s location north of Orleans on Highway 37. A new attendance record was set with 425 registered members and 813 total in attendance. Members were treated to a Schnitzelbank catering and received a cast iron skillet as their gift. Attendees listened to live music by Kirby Stailey and watched a hotline demo provided by REMC’s linemen Mike Duke and Travis Thorlton. Several activities such as a bounce house, obstacle course, airbrush face painting, and crafts were available to the children during the meeting.
Matt Deaton, CEO/General Manager, introduced the board of directors which included Daniel Houchin (district 1), Randy Roberts (district 2), Danny Easterday (district 3), Rodney Hager (district 4), Ben Lindsey (district 5), Brain Hawkins (district 6), and George Key (district 7).
Daniel Houchin gave the secretary/treasurer report. Attorney John Paul Isom gave an explanation of the voting procedures and announced there were no other nominations for district 1 and 5; therefore, Houchin and Lindsey were elected to another 3 year term as Directors for Orange County REMC.
President, Randy Roberts, spoke about the retirement of capital credits. Roberts announced the board has approved to retire capital credits from 1972 through 1974. With this decision, nearly $1.7 million of capital credits have been sent back to its members since 2017.
Roberts acknowledged the wholesale power cost tracker increased in 2022. He said natural gas costs rose over 80%, coal prices were up 200%, and forward power on the market rose 126%. These costs have been passed along to Orange County REMC and continue to keep our overall prices higher than they would like. Roberts mentioned although the wholesale power cost tracker has increased, Orange County REMC has not had to raise the base rate since 2011. With the help of Orange County Fiber, base rates have been able to remain unchanged. Roberts then shared a video that speaks of how our industry is changing and how it can better serve you in the future.
Matt Deaton provided the members with an update on the fiber project. Deaton reported in the past 12 months 1,972 fiber services have been added to the network. The fiber network now serves nearly 10,000 customers and members. A couple of services Orange County Fiber is proud to serve internet and IT services to Orleans School Cooperation and the Orleans Library. Deaton then recognized the hard work of the employees and the youth program recipients for camp kilowatt, youth tour, and senior scholarships.
Matt Deaton recognized the employees and directors who have hit milestones in their careers. Ben Lindsey (25 years), Brian Hawkins (20 years), Misty Tincher (20 years), Brandon Bambusch (10 years), Scott Strange (10 years), Stacie Busick (5 years), Josh Frank (5 years), Ryan Flynn (5 years), Charlie Rollins (5 years), Matt Figg (5 years), Irish Mayrina (5 years), Hannah Carter (5 years), Chrystal Silverthorn (5 years).
Orange County REMC thanks its members who attended the record-breaking meeting. By keeping the same mission in mind, but looking at it through a different lens, Orange County REMC can achieve greater success in its endeavors.
The meeting concluded with 47 prize drawings donated by local businesses and vendors and 2 grand prizes donated by Orange County REMC. Thank you to those who donated: P&C contracting, Indiana Electric Cooperative, Ace Hardware/Ben Franklin, FiberSmith, Lineal Contracting, Pro Tree Care, Galloway Group, Mid-Southern Savings Bank, ElectriCom LLC, Kirby Hardware, Hoosier Hardware, Power & Tel, Brownstown Electric & Supply, Gray Company, Midwest Utility Sales, Altec, Rainbow Printing, Monroe Shine, Babcock Motors, Kinetik, United Utility Supply, Lucas Realty, Progress Examiner, Parr Richey, American Energy Services, Stanisfer Radio Company, John Jones Auto, Millenium, and 95.3 WUME