Incumbents Retain East, West and South Seats, New Director Fills Mountain Seat
Brighton, Colo.—Growth in every industry sector is a challenge United Power is facing as they work on “Building Tomorrow’s Cooperative,” the theme of the 78th Annual Meeting held on Apr. 18th. Nearly 850 attendees represented over 420 registered cooperative memberships at the annual member event held at the Adams County Fairgrounds. The evening included dinner, exhibit booths, entertainment, cooperative reports, and the election of directors.
Races for a seat in all four director districts were decided by a vote of the members. Incumbent Directors James Vigesaa and Ginny Buczek retained their respective seats. Director David Rose won the race for his seat in the South District. Incoming director Tamra Waltemath won the seat in the Mountain district left vacant by the retirement of director Douglas Pryce.
Member registration opened at 4:30 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall and was followed by balloting in the annual director election and a full barbeque dinner. Members then visited informational exhibit booths and enjoyed live entertainment by solo guitarist Dave Connelly in the Waymire Dome. The business meeting began at 6:30 p.m. in the Waymire Dome, and was broadcast live in Exhibit Hall.
Board Vice President, Susan Petrocco from the south district opened the business meeting at 6:30 p.m. with the invocation, followed by of the presentation of the colors by Brighton Fire Department Honor Guard and the singing of the national anthem by local Brighton High School graduate Lauren Rocha.
Board President, Brian McCormick, introduced the cooperative Directors and Executive Leadership team, and then Vice President Petrocco made a special presentation in honor of retiring director Doug Pryce, who has served on the United Power Board of Directors for 27 years. Petrocco listed the various local and national positions Pryce has held during his tenure as a United Power director.
“While Doug served on various national and state positions, he still found the energy to serve the United Power board in various leadership capacities,” said Petrocco. “He has served this cooperative and its members well.”
McCormick then called the meeting to order, introduced the candidates running for board seats in 2017 and introduced the cooperative reports for the evening. First to report was Troy Whitmore, Director of External Affairs for United Power. Whitmore presented this year’s Youth Report which included a special check presentation to United Power’s 2017 scholarship recipients. Students receiving awards were recognized on stage by Asst. Secretary-Treasurer Ursula J. Morgan and President McCormick.
McCormick followed with the President’s report which included an overview of United Power’s vision, mission and guiding cooperative principles. McCormick then reviewed power mix of Tri-State Generation & Tranmission, United Power’s wholesale power provider and energy sales trends for United Power. McCormick wrapped up his report by introducing United Power’s Chief Executive Officer, Darryl Schriver and reporting that United Power remains in strong financial condition and committed to delivering excellent service and value to its members.
Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Ursula J. Morgan took the stage to review the cooperative’s financial report. Morgan gave a summary of the highlights and the full financial report was made available to all members at the meeting in United Power’s 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report is also available online at www.unitedpower.com.
Morgan reported operating revenues for the cooperative were up over $11 million—up more than 5 percent from 2015, which is mostly attributed to higher energy sales for the year. Energy sales, which grew more than 9 percent last year, are up mostly due to new large oil and gas related loads. The cooperative’s operating expenses totaled $212.3 million in 2016, an increase of $13 million from 2015, nearly all of which is due to higher purchased power costs. Morgan reported that the cost of purchased power represents over 76 percent of United Power’s operating costs.
After accounting for all revenues and expenses, United Power realized net margins of $13.7 million, and based on this sound financial position, the cooperative board authorized the retirement of $4.3 million in capital credits to the members in 2016. Morgan reminded the audience that the board evaluates the cooperative’s financial position each year to determine if a retirement is warranted and announcements about capital credit retirements are published on the cooperative’s website and newsletter, United Newsline.
United Power’s Chief Executive Officer Darryl Schriver took to the stage after a brief video highlighting the substantial growth in United Power’s service area. Schriver discussed some of the ways the cooperative is planning and preparing for an influx of members and new load on the distribution system. Schriver also discussed the operational changes that have been made since taking his position last April to make sure United Power’s crews are proactively addressing system maintenance issues. and new construction contract crews can be ramped up to better meet new construction schedules. He talked about how contract crews are being used to better meet new construction schedules.
Schriver went on to discuss the addition of 19.5 megawatts of renewable solar power that was energized on the United Power system in 2016. A solar farm in Fort Lupton is generating 13 megawatts of power and the Maverick solar farm in Mead is generating 6.5 megawatts. These new systems are powering more than 4,000 homes in the United Power service territory with local renewable energy.
“In the coming year I am challenging United Power employees in every operational area to look at the way they serve our members,” said Schriver. “I want them to explore ways to streamline, improve and leverage technology to provide a better experience for our members.”
Schriver then announced the purchase a new building located in the west district of the cooperative’s service area on I-25, just south of the Hwy 119 exit. Schriver explained that serving the entire membership from one location on the easternmost corridor of the territory is becoming problematic. The new facility will provide a second location for operations crews to respond more quickly to communities in the northwest corridor of the territory and to provide additional back up support to United Power’s mountain territory. The facility will also offer members a full-service walk-in member services department.
President McCormick then moved to the member forum portion of the meeting. Prior to the start of the meeting, board members collected comments of general interest from members in attendance. A selection of those questions were addressed by the Board President and Chief Executive Officer during this time.
Election results for the 2017 director election were announced following the member forum. United Power members cast 5,730 ballots, and the following results were certified by the Election and Credentials Committee at the 2017 Annual Meeting.
The South district was the only contested race on the ballot this year and David Rose won that seat with 3,393 votes, beating out Keith E. Alquist who received 2,209 votes.
In the Mountain district, the retirement of Douglas Pryce left the seat open for candidate Tamra Waltemath, who ran unopposed. Waltemath received 5,093 votes.
Incumbent directors James E. Vigesaa in the East, and Virginia “Ginny” Buczek in the West ran unopposed and retained their seats with 5,065 votes for Vigessa and 5,102 vote for Buczek.
RESULTS OF THE 2017 UNITED POWER DIRECTOR ELECTION
James E. Vigesaa 5,065
Keith Alquist 2,209
David Rose 3,393
Virginia (Ginny) Buczek 5,102
Tamra Waltemath 5,093