Annual Co-Op meeting draws thousands for food, election

Annual Co-Op meeting draws thousands for food, election

The Cullman Electric Co-Op hosted its 81st annual business meeting on Saturday at Cullman's Northbrook Church, with more than 3,000 customers arriving to vote in the board of trustees election and hear about the state of the Co-Op.

Attendees were able to cast their votes for the board election inside the church, and then journey outside for free food, live music and activities for their families.

A total of 6,570 votes were cast in the election, with 362 people voting in person on Saturday and 6,208 mailing in their ballots.

In the three races, two board members, District 7's David Hembree and District 8's Chad Alexander, ran unopposed, and Lynda Carter won the race for the board's at-large position over Steve McSwain.

At the Co-Op's business meeting, CEO Grady Smith spoke about some of the work that the Co-Op has done over the past year, and outlined some of the changes that have helped improve service to customers.

"We have experienced a lot of changes in a relatively short time," he said. "But I think you will agree with me that these changes signal the start of a new, exciting chapter in the life of your cooperative."

In recent years, more industries have moved into the area, creating new jobs and bringing more growth into Cullman and surrounding areas, Smith said.

With the growth of the community, the Co-Op has grown as well, and now services more than 43,000 accounts across parts of Cullman, Winston, Lawrence and Marshall counties, Smith said.

"The Co-Op itself looks a lot different today than it did just a few years ago," he said.

Smith also presented a short VIDEO that showed attendees some of the new technological advances that the Co-Op has made that have improved service, including satellite mapping of electrical poles and a new text message system to report outages.

"The systems we use to deliver safe and reliable electric service to our customers, and to restore power after an outage is quicker, more accurate and more efficient than ever before," he said.

Smith also announced a small rate increase that will affect customers beginning next month.

The Co-Op's wholesale provider, the Tennessee Valley Authority, has approved a rate increase of around 1.5 percent that will go into effect on Oct. 1.

That increase from the TVA will increase the average Co-Op member's monthly bill by around $1.90, he said.

Written by Tyler Hanes for The Cullman Times on September 9, 2017.

Link: Video of Grady Smith's comments recorded live for Facebook

The meeting ending with a drawing for prizes. The winners are:

Truck:     James E. Chaney

Annual Meeting Truck Winner 2017

20 - $100.00 Power Credits:                   

        1.     Benjamin L. Stevens

        2.     William E. Cagle

        3.     Prentice Stephenson

        4.     Keith Patillo

        5.     Larry D. Hamilton

        6.     Ann D. Askea

        7.     James W. Meherg

        8.     Meagan D. Cagle

        9.     William R. Duke

        10.   Franklin Alexander

        11.   Brandi Bales

        12.   Billy R. Stewart

        13.   Reba P. Waid

        14.   Beverly A. Carden

        15.   Cecil M. Pigg

        16.   Wanda Sams

        17.   Billy O. Rucks

        18.   Randall Holloway

        19.   Alicia N. Robinson

        20.   George A. Berthon

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