2010-04-22 / Local & State

Valley Rural Electric Co-op Holds Annual Meeting

Valley Rural Electric Cooperative President and CEO Wayne R. Miller (left) and board Chairman James R. Stauffer (right) offer congratulations to re-elected directors (left to right), David Wright, Earl E. Parsons and Cindy D. Bigelow at the co-op's annual meeting Friday at Mount Union Area High School. Valley Rural Electric Cooperative President and CEO Wayne R. Miller (left) and board Chairman James R. Stauffer (right) offer congratulations to re-elected directors (left to right), David Wright, Earl E. Parsons and Cindy D. Bigelow at the co-op's annual meeting Friday at Mount Union Area High School. Nearly 900 electric consumers attended the 2010 Valley Rural Electric Cooperative Annual Meeting, held 7 p.m. Friday, April 16, at Mount Union Area High School.

The meeting focused on current energy industry issues and included the election of three directors to the board.

“ … It is irrelevant whether you or I believe that CO2 released into the atmosphere from burning coal, oil or natural gas is responsible for climate change,” co-op President & CEO Wayne Miller said during the meeting. “ ... The release of greenhouse gasses will be regulated in the United States. The most important question right now is, ‘By whom?’ There is widespread bipartisan sentiment that the regulation of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses by the EPA under the Clean Air Act will be nothing less than ‘a glorious mess.’ That’s the comment from Democratic Representative John Dingell of Michigan, who was one of the main authors of the most recent revisions of the Clean Air Act. He has said repeatedly that the Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate CO2 or any other greenhouse gas. Since the December 2009 EPA announcement, at least seven bills or resolutions have been introduced in Congress to prevent, or at least delay, the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gasses.”

“The members of Congress, who ultimately answer to the people, need to be the ones to openly debate a far-reaching public policy issue like climate change, not some government agency working in the background that answers to no one,” he added.

Miller also asked the audience to contact their elected representatives to let them know they must take a balanced approach to energy legislation.

Board Chairman James Stauffer followed Miller’s speech with comments about Valley Rural Electric’s commitment to service and to cooperative principles.

“ … Electric cooperatives have a long history of energy efficiency efforts and programs that do not burden fellow members with added costs and, in fact, bring down costs for all members – the coordinated load management program in particular. Through that system, the co-op has been curbing energy demand by reducing the amount of power we need to purchase during expensive peak periods,” Stauffer said.

“Valley must take a lead role in adopting smart grid technologies, promoting energy efficiency and formulating energy policies so that we can stay on top of the game and avoid unnecessary or inappropriate government control,” he added.

Following Miller’s and Stauffer's remarks, the 445 voting members in attendance at the meeting elected three incumbent directors to represent the utility’’s nearly 22,000 consumers.

Chosen to serve on the co-op’s board of directors for a three-year term were:

District 7 – David Wright of Needmore, Fulton County;

District 8 – Earl E. Parsons of Blairs Mills, Huntingdon County; and

District 9 – Cindy D. Bigelow of Williamsburg, Blair County.

Alton Hill of Warfordsburg, Fulton County, ran against Wright. The other two candidates ran unopposed on the ballot.

Other highlights of the meeting included recognition of all military veterans for their service to the country. Entertainment was provided by barbershop quartet New Found Sound. David Wright offered the invocation.

Distinguished guests in attendance included state representatives Mike Fleck, Dick Hess and Jerry Stern; Huntingdon County commissioners Dean Fluke and William Hoover; Associate Editor of Penn Lines Magazine Kathy Hackleman and Regional Vice President of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation Craig Colantoni.

The 40 children attending the event enjoyed a big-screen viewing of Disney/ Pixar’s “Up,” refreshments, balloons and a presentation by Huntingdon County Dairy Princess Kitty Myers of Shirleysburg, Huntingdon County.

Blair and Diane Heffner of Huntingdon and Duane and June Hertzler of Loysville each won a $250 co-op gift certificate. Members in attendance received a $15 credit on their electric bills, an energy efficient showerhead and an eco-friendly reusable shopping bag.

In addition, meeting attendees who brought with them spent compact fluorescent light bulbs had cooperative staff properly dispose of them. Plus, each family that brought a bulb received a free replacement.

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