Recap: Mid-Ohio Energy emphasizes reliability at Annual Meeting
KENTON — About 350 members and guests attended this year's Annual Membership Meeting of Mid-Ohio Energy Cooperative on April 11 at the co-op’s new Kenton facility warehouse on West Lima Street.
Four flavors of ice cream and cold refreshments awaited members at the door before Mid-Ohio Energy staff led guided tours of the new 30,600-square-foot Kenton facility and shared information about the co-op’s various programs and services. Reports on the state of the cooperative were announced, as well as the results of pre-meeting voting for trustees.
Members re-elected Gene McCluer of District 7 (Harrod), John Thiel of District 8 (Marion), and Robert Imbody of District 9 (Larue) to the board of trustees.
President & CEO John Metcalf opened his report by sharing the cooperative’s long and rich history — one meaningful enough to feature as an 18-foot-long wall graphic near the new facility’s lobby. He then delved into one of the cooperative’s strengths: commitment to its members, especially regarding reliable service.
“The commitment to reliability began in the late 1970s when the original lines built in the 1930s were being redesigned and replaced, even up to now, including the completion of this facility,” Metcalf said. “Thousands of projects over the recent decades, including distribution line replacements, substation additions and upgrades, technology improvements, and even the facilities we operate from all contribute to one of the highest reliability scores of any utility anywhere.”
Investments in technology and maintaining the co-op’s robust distribution systems are paying off in terms of reliability, Metcalf said, allowing for a 20 percent reduction of employees over the last 10 years while at the same time dramatically increasing member reliability, response time, efficiency of operations, and additional forms of communications for members. All of this keeps costs down for member-consumers.
“This translates into millions of dollars per year in savings,” Metcalf said. “I can promise you that our objective is to keep your rates as low as possible while delivering unmatched value.”
Metcalf noted the cooperative's recent construction projects, including a renovation of the Marion district office and completion of the new headquarters facility in Kenton last summer, were designed to accommodate the technology, inventory, and resources necessary to serve its membership well into the future. He also pointed out this was the first time since the 1940s that the co-op has been able to host its Annual Meeting within its own building.
Other achievements mentioned included Mid-Ohio Energy’s 2016 record-high American Customer Satisfaction Index survey score of 87 on a 100-point scale, well above the average investor-owned utility score of 72, and the cooperative’s recognition as the Business of the Year in Hardin County by the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance for its contributions in the community.
Mid-Ohio Energy’s upcoming launch of its community solar program, OurSolar, was announced over video, informing members they will soon be able to purchase the clean energy output from the cooperative’s newly installed solar panel arrays for just a few dollars per month.
Also at the meeting:
- Director of Communications and Member Services Tim Street recognized Mid-Ohio Energy’s 2017 scholarship recipients and spoke about this upcoming Youth Tour to Washington D.C..
- Robert Radway, chair of the Mid-Ohio Energy Community Fund, reported that since the cooperative’s Community Fund inception, 395 grants and more than $453,500 has been distributed in the local communities served by Mid-Ohio Energy. Nearly 94 percent of members participate in the program, opting to have their monthly electric bills rounded up the nearest dollar with the spare change going to help local community organizations and individuals in need.
- Mid-Ohio Energy Board Chairman Gene McCluer led door-prize drawings at the conclusion of the meeting, including handing out a KitchenAid Mixer, Amazon Echo, and energy credits.