Directors Play Key Role In Democratic Member Control
Over the years, you’ve heard me talk about why and how Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative is different––because we’re a cooperative. Our business model sets us apart from other utilities because we adhere to seven guiding cooperative principles that reflect core values of honesty, transparency, equity, inclusiveness and service to the greater good of the community.
One of these guiding principles is democratic member control. Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. This is accomplished through the PCEC Board of Directors. Directors are PCEC members who are your elected representatives accountable to you.
Each year, we have three director seats up for election. March 4 is this year’s deadline to submit interest in running for election. Rescheduled for March 21, our board nominating committee will meet to review submissions and ensure eligibility before candidates go on the official ballot. Election voting will take place beginning May 1 and culminate with the annual business meeting on May 30.
Platte-Clay’s Board of Directors are community-minded individuals with different skill sets. We rely on them to help us make more informed decisions on long-term goals and investments.
PCEC Directors play a crucial role in providing direction and governance to the co-op. My role, as the general manager/ CEO, is to manage the overall daily co-op operations. I get the opportunity to work in close collaboration with the directors at monthly board meetings to report on our progress toward our shared strategic goals.
Platte-Clay’s Board of Directors are community-minded individuals with different skill sets. We rely on them to help us make more informed decisions on long-term goals and investments. All the directors live in the co-op’s service area. We consider them the eyes and ears of the community because they provide their unique perspective on various local issues.
I think a lot of our success as a cooperative has been attributed to having great directors who care about the future of our co-op, our communities and our employees. I know our consumer-members will once again do a great job voting for quality co-op leaders.
Be on the lookout for our voting guide in the April edition of the Northland Connection.
NERC 10-Year Outlook Warns of Reliability Risks Amid Soaring Demand, Plant Retirements
By Derrill Holly, National Rural Electric Association (NRECA)
Unprecedented electricity demand and lagging infrastructure development could place many regions of the U.S. at risk of power supply shortages over the next decade, particularly during periods of extreme weather, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) says in a new report.
Over the next five years, NERC forecasts that all or parts of 19 states from Montana to Louisiana are at high risk of rolling blackouts during normal peak conditions. And most of the rest of the country is at similar risk when demand for electricity spikes during exceedingly hot or cold temperatures.
In its 2023 Long-Term Reliability Assessment, released Dec. 13, NERC warned that planned retirements of baseload power plants, transmission congestion, fuel supply issues and inadequate maintenance increase the risks of prolonged service disruptions during major winter cold snaps or summer heatwaves.
“NERC’s latest assessment paints another grim picture of our nation’s energy future as demand for electricity soars and the supply of always-available generation declines,” NRECA CEO Jim Matheson said.
Matheson is among the energy industry leaders urging government agencies and policymakers to reconsider regulations that threaten to exacerbate regional shortfalls and support initiatives that could help meet energy demand at costs consumers are able to bear.
“Nine states saw rolling blackouts last December as the demand for electricity exceeded available supply. And proposals like the Environmental Protection Agency’s power plant rule will greatly compound the problem,” said Matheson. “Absent a major shift in state and federal energy policy, this is the reality we will face for years to come.”
NERC’s report noted that some areas have improved generation and transmission, which could help ensure adequate reserves through 2028. But resource shortfalls could become more common, based upon demand growth, anticipated retirements of older power plants, and slow or stalled development of new generation.
“Demand is rising, and the resource generation mix is declining,” said Mark Olson, NERC’s manager of reliability assessments.
The report warns that the nation’s bulk power system must be maintained to respond to demand during extreme weather events. “Generator performance and fuel issues are more likely to occur when generators are called upon with short notice,” analysts said.
Amid potential plant failures and variable output from wind and solar facilities, NERC’s assessment places portions of New England, the upper Mid-Atlantic region, and much of the nation west of the Dakotas and Texas at elevated risk, particularly when natural gas supplies are stretched by high heating demand.
Portions of the Midwest from the western Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico are categorized as “high risk,” due in part to what analysts describe as “overly rigid” environmental regulations and energy policies threatening grid reliability.
These policies have the “potential to influence generators to seek deactivation despite a projected resource adequacy or operating reliability risk,” analysts wrote. “Regulators and policymakers need to consider effects on the electric grid in their rules and policies and design provisions that safeguard grid reliability.”
Q. What are some of the things you are most proud of accomplishing during your time serving the co-op?
A. We’ve developed a strong leadership team that serve locally, regionally and nationally. We have faced serious challenges and have worked together to solve them. Our co-op is an influencer in the industry. We also take care of our lines and infrastructure.
Hiring and transitioning to Dave as CEO brought a more collaborative effort within all the cooperatives and was one of our smartest decisions. I’m very proud of that, and he has done well bringing folks together—not only within this co-op but co-ops we collaborate with. Consequently, we hear all the time from other cooperatives asking us how we do things because others want to hear about it.
Q. How does your job at Central Bank of the Midwest help you in serving on PCEC’s Board?
A. I think it helps a lot. I do have a strong background in accounting, financial management, people management and even a marketing background. And because of that I understand financials and budgeting. I’m able to look at trends and one thing I look for is change and why we have that. Just asking the right questions if they need to be asked. And my marketing experience helps me all the time at meetings, and when I’m out in the community sharing what’s happening at the co-op.
Q. Maintaining financial stability is one of the six strategic goals the Board currently has in place. In your opinion, how is PCEC doing on this goal?
A. I believe we are smart about keeping the co-op in good financial condition. For example, we study our history and what worked and didn’t work and adjust accordingly. And then we keep our goals at the forefront to make sure what we are doing aligns with those so we can achieve them. We are also tracking closely what’s going on currently and looking at if we need to make adjustments like adding more staff or bring in new equipment, etc. What is it that we need for the future? So we are strong financially, and I’m very glad to see that. There are some co-ops that aren’t as strong and maybe struggling, but we’ve done very well.
Q. In 2018, you completed your Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate, and in 2023 you achieved your Board Leadership Certificate. What is involved in achieving these national accreditations, and what was your favorite part?
A. You have to attend director schools and attend conference classes, and they’ve been good. Especially the upper-level classes where you actually get to learn the inner workings of coop business, which we don’t normally get exposed to as a board member. So, you definitely learn from these, and there is a lot to learn about the electric industry.
To me, one of the most important things from these experiences is I get to meet someone from the east coast or west coast or somewhere else, and they have their own unique issues to that area and also some of the same things we do. But you get to see quickly that our co-op is doing well. I always walk away thinking ‘Wow, we’ve got it together.’ When we have an issue, we address it and put a plan in place. When you have good plans and goals in place and care about the members, you’re going to do well as a co-op.
Q. How do you feel about the current Board of Directors and your relationship to staff leadership at PCEC?
A. I believe we have a strong, diverse and knowledgeable board. We ask appropriate questions and hold each other and staff accountable. We have respectful and open dialogue. Our relationships are very good. One thing about Dave being at the helm is communication is key. And he is very open with the board members as well as the employees. So, we do have an excellent working relationship. There is always an open door, if you don’t like something you can speak up.
Q. What do you want to make sure members know about the Board or PCEC’s operations?
A. We follow member first protocol, if you will. Whatever decision we’re making, our goal is to keep members satisfied and proud of their co-op. And to make sure we are offering reliability, affordability and safety in all that we do.
I’m proud to serve our members and be a part of the leadership team that helps fulfill the co-op’s mission and goals. I look forward to working through the many challenges ahead of us to make sure we are providing our members with the best product possible.
Board of Director Candidate Interest Deadline Approaching
Each year, three PCEC Board of Directors positions are up for election at the cooperative’s annual business meeting. With board members serving three-year terms, one position from each of our three service area districts (north, south and west) is up for election.
Any consumer-member interested in running for the PCEC Board of Directors this year must submit their name to the co-op by Monday, March 4, 2024. To contact the co-op with your interest or if you have questions about the process, please email PCEC Human Resource Director Angie Kinard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If a member misses the initial interest deadline of March 4, they may submit their name via petition with 15 member signatures by March 21 in order to still make it on the ballot.
PCEC will begin annual election voting in May. Members will be able to vote online again this year, with a paper ballot option available. Members can also vote in person at the annual Business Meeting May 30, when results of the election will be announced.
Directors play an important role in the cooperative by giving consumer-members a seat at the decision-making table through local representation. Each director on the Platte-Clay Board of Directors receives $400 for each local meeting attended with no other benefits paid.
Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative’s annual list of unclaimed capital credits has been published on the co-op’s website at www.PCEC.coop/CC or by scanning the QR code.
If your name is on the list and you are a current or former Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative member, please call our office at (816) 628-3121 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You will be required to verify your membership to process your capital credit check.
PLEASE NOTE: PCEC cannot give out a capital credit check to anyone whose name is not on the account.