2011-04-21 / Local & State

Valley Rural Electric Holds Annual Meeting

Draws nearly 1,000 consumers

Nearly 1,000 consumers attended the 2011 Valley Rural Electric Cooperative Annual Meeting, held at 7 p.m. Friday, April 15, at Huntingdon Area High School.

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

“Regardless of our minimal sales growth in recent years, our rates have remained extremely competitive,” co-op President and CEO Wayne Miller said during the meeting. “As you may or may not be aware, rate caps expired for all of Pennsylvania’s private power companies as of December 31, 2010. This resulted in hefty increases for their customers.”

“You might also be interested to know that the average residential Penelec customer is now paying 23 percent more on his monthly electric bill than a Valley Rural Electric member,” he added.

Miller also updated co-op members about what is happening in regard to national energy policy.

Board Chairman James Stauffer followed Miller’s speech with comments about the directors’ duty to make certain that the cooperative operates in a way that is responsible, transparent and fully accountable to the membership.

“One of the biggest obligations we have as directors is to help ensure that our cooperative is run in a cost-effective manner – without sacrificing service quality,” Stauffer said.

Stauffer added that the co-op’s mission and values statement stress an obligation not only to provide power at the lowest possible cost but also to help improve the quality of life for the people it serves.

Following Miller’s and Stauffer’s remarks, the 517 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 1 – Mervin Brumbaugh of Williamsburg, Blair County;

District 3 – Kevin States of Hesston, Huntingdon County; and

District 5 – Robert Holmes of Huntingdon.

Timothy Knepp of Martinsburg, Blair County, ran against Brumbaugh. The other two candidates ran unopposed on the ballot.

Other highlights of the meeting included entertainment provided by singer/songwriter Chris Collins, who performed a tribute to John Denver. Pastor Alan Atchison of the Ennisville, Faith and Wesley Chapel United Methodist churches offered the invocation.

Distinguished guests in attendance included state Sen. John Eichelberger; state Reps. Mike Fleck, Dick Hess and Jerry Stern; Huntingdon County Commissioner R. Dean Fluke; Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association (PREA) Chairman of the Board and Adams Electric Cooperative Secretary of the Board S. Eugene Herritt; PREA Vice Chairman of the Board and Claverack Rural Electric Cooperative Chairman of the Board Kevin Barrett; PREA Director of Communications and Member Services Peter Fitzgerald; and PREA Member Services Assistant Stephanie Okuniewski.

Nearly 50 children attended the event. They enjoyed a big-screen viewing of “Yogi Bear,” refreshments, balloons and a presentation by Huntingdon County Dairy Princess Krista Hawn of Petersburg.

Blain and Evelyn Beatty of Petersburg and Stanley Ehrisman of Mifflintown each won a $250 co-op gift certificate. Members in attendance received a $15 credit on their electric bills and a stainless steel travel mug.

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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