2009-04-23 / Local & State

Valley Rural Electric Coop Holds Annual Meeting

Draws nearly 900 consumers

Nearly 900 electric consumers attended the 2009 Valley Rural Electric Cooperative Annual Meeting, held at 7 p.m. April 17 at Mount Union Area High School.

The meeting focused on issues facing the electric industry today and included the election of three directors to the board.

"As we look to the future, there are many factors that will impact the price we pay for electricity," co-op President & CEO Wayne Miller said during the meeting. "President Obama and leaders in the House and Senate are pushing forward with ambitious legislation to revolutionize our approach to energy in the United States. Their goals include plans to combat global warming, reduce carbon emissions, create green jobs, promote renewable resources and work toward energy independence. All are very important and necessary objectives that, as a nation, we need to be focusing on. But all have the potential to dramatically raise the price of electricity."

Miller encouraged members in the audience to contact federal representatives and senators through www.ourenergy.coop to let them know they must take an affordable approach to climate change and energy legislation.

"If we get involved, if we make our voices heard, our legislators will pay attention," Miller said.

Board Chairman James Stauffer followed Miller's speech with words of encouragement about Valley Rural Electric's commitment to keeping electric rates affordable. He referenced the "70-year success story" of the co-op.

"Valley has succeeded in serving its members for seven decades by focusing on value - our co-op provides dependable service at the lowest possible cost; valor - our co-op employs local folks who are dedicated, competent and willing to do whatever it takes to keep the lights on and restore service quickly; and vision - our co-op understands that we want to preserve our rural way of life, but we don't want to sacrifice reliable, cost-effective service just because we live off the beaten path," Stauffer said.

Following Miller's and Stauffer's remarks, the 446 voting members in attendance at the meeting elected three incumbent directors to represent the utility's 21,000 consumers.

Chosen to serve on the coop's board of directors for a three-year term were:

District 2: James R. Stauffer of McVeytown, Mifflin County;

District 4: Clair E. McCall of Mapleton Depot, Huntingdon County; and

District 6: Leroy Barnes of Portage, Bedford County.

All three candidates ran unopposed on the ballot.

Other highlights of the meeting included a national anthem presentation dedicated to those deployed with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 56th Brigade and for all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines serving our country overseas. Entertainment was provided by musician and storyteller Steve Chapman. Pastor Dan Long of Calvary Independent Baptist Church of Saltillo offered the invocation.

Distinguished guests in attendance included state Sen. John Eichelberger and state Representatives Mike Fleck and Jerry Stern, Huntingdon County commissioners William Hoover and Dean Fluke, and Senior Editor of Penn Lines Magazine Peter Fitzgerald.

Children attending the event enjoyed movies, refreshments, balloons and a presentation by Huntingdon County Dairy Princess Heather Miller of McVeytown.

James and Mary Brubaker of Duncansville and the Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church in Shade Gap each won a $250 coop gift certificate. Members in attendance received a $15 electric bill credit and a bag of energy efficient products.

Valley Rural Electric is a member owned cooperative providing electric service to consumers in eight counties, including Bedford, Blair, Centre, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties.

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