The 80th Annual Meeting of the members of Ozark Electric Cooperative (OEC) was held on Friday, July 29. With 706 members registering and bringing family and friends, there were an estimated 1,500 in attendance. The meeting was held once again at the Mt. Vernon High School. While the crowd enjoyed the ever-popular grilled steak sandwiches prepared and served by Ozark Electric employees and the Southwest Cattlemen’s Association, they were entertained by “High Strung” Bluegrass Band before the business meeting started.
Also there for members to talk to were Mercy Corporate Health; Missouri Veterans Home; the Lawrence County Health Department; the Association of Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) from Springfield; Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC) from Jefferson City; OEC’s Right-of-Way Department, and Wilson’s Creek Battlefield Park employees. Back for the second year was the cooperative trivia spinner wheel game where every person who played won a prize! There was also table of information for the youth where they could speak to the Youth Tour and CYCLE high school delegates.Business Meeting
Promptly at 1:00 pm, Board President Steve Stone called the business meeting to order. The invocation was given by Board Director David Trogdon. The crowd was then led in the “Pledge of Allegiance” by Ozark Electric’s 2016 Washington D.C. Youth Tour delegates, Jacob Furry, Monett HS; & Chad Laxton, Miller HS; and the 2016 CYCLE delegate, William Nokes, Everton HS.
Attorney Rod Widger then reported that the required quorum of 275 registered members for the meeting was reached at 11:00 am. The previous annual meeting minutes and financial reports were presented by Secretary-Treasurer Ron Crighton and approved by the membership.President’s Report
President Steve Stone presented his annual report by stating that the cooperative was in good condition with approximately 34,000 meters served. He assured members that the priority of the Board and cooperative is to keep electricity affordable and reliable. He stated that while some things are predictable and make it easy to keep rates affordable and electricity reliable, others are out of the co-op’s control, such as storms and legislative issues. He assured members that the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC), under the leadership of Barry Hart, works hard to help with the proposed changes that take place in Jefferson City. One type of legislation that is being proposed pertains to solar power costs which could result in an increase in all members’ rates. Mr. Stone assured members that OEC works to help members understand solar and how to make sure their electricity is available through other resources after dark and when the sun doesn’t shine. Currently, 60 OEC members have residential solar units metered through the co-op. He explained that OEC is not against solar, but we need other sources of producing power including hydro, wind, natural gas, and coal.General Manager’s Report
General Manager Patrick Oehlschlager started his annual report by welcoming and thanking everyone for attending. He said that we have the freedom to hold an annual meeting due to the sacrifices made by our veterans and current military and recognized and thanked all of those in attendance for their service. He also thanked the Mt. Vernon school administration, Superintendent Scott Cook, High School Principal Josh Ladd, and Assistant Principal Chris Johnston, and their janitorial staff for all their help and for allowing the co-op to hold the annual meeting in their air-conditioned facilities, Also recognized and thanked was the Mt. Vernon Police Department for the security they provided, the “High Strung” bluegrass band who gave a great performance; the Southwest Cattlemen’s Association for a great lunch; the exhibitors who were there; and the students who led the pledge.
Manager Oehlschlager then gave some important statistics to the members including recognizing and thanking the nine board directors for their 152 collective years of service and their knowledge. He complimented the 83 current employees for their hard work and their 1,445 collective years of service to the co-op. He emphasized the employees were very dedicated to serving the membership. He reminded the members that the job is a dangerous one even on days the weather cooperates. He was proud that co-op employees had zero lost time accidents in 2015. Other statistics mentioned were the 4,800 miles of energized line maintained by the co-op, and the 1,345 work orders generated by the Engineering Department last year.
Manager Oehlschlager wrapped up his report with an explanation of the power grid and how affordable electricity is at risk if coal is removed from the resource mix. He said solar and wind are great but neither are reliable 24/7, and the cost associated with both is more expensive than coal. He said to stay informed and before installing a solar or wind system, to contact the co-op and let us help when making an educated decision as to how to meet your power needs.Board Elections - Bylaw Approved
Three Board Directors were re-elected by voice acclamation: District 2, Gary Duvall, Lockwood; District 3, David Trogdon, Ash Grove; and District 9, Steve Stone, Cape Fair. Also, voted in by voice acclamation was an amendment to Article 1, Section 3, of the Cooperative Bylaws to change the definition of joint membership to “two persons who are joined in a lawful marriage relationship recognized by the State of Missouri”.Conclusion of Meeting
President Stone asked if there was any unfinished or new business. There was none. The business meeting was then adjourned, and the Marketing & Public Relations Department conducted the drawing of many nice attendance prizes.Officers Re-elected
Following the business meeting, your Board of Directors met and re-elected Board officers for next year as follows: Steve Stone, President; James Stine, Vice President; and Ron Crighton, Secretary-Treasurer.
Did you know that as a cooperative member, you can easily connect to your Ozark Electric account anytime and anywhere via a variety of internet devices through our SmartHub mobile and Web app? With the SmartHub app, you can:
• Check your electricity usage.
• Pay your bill.
• Contact our office.
• Report a service interruption.
• Check Ozark Electric’s news feed.
With SmartHub, the power of data is in your hands through convenient account management and detailed usage information. SmartHub delivers accurate, timely account information and allows you to make payments in a secure environment with the touch of a button, right from your mobile device or on your PC. The two-way communication available with SmartHub allows you to notify us of account and service issues while providing us a way to let you know about special offers, programs, events, and more.
To scan and download the SmartHub mobile app, just click on the menu item above labeled “My Account” then click on “Mobile Apps”. Or you can access SmartHub through our Web page; just click on the icon link at the top right of this page.
Why not check out Ozark Electric’s SmartHub mobile and Web app today? We think you’ll be happy with this more convenient and timely way to manage your electricity account.