In 2019, the South Carolina General Assembly passed governance reform legislation (Act 56) relating to the state’s electric cooperatives. The legislation focused on cooperative trustees, elections, meetings, transparency, self-dealing and oversight. It required the state’s cooperatives to implement several bylaw and policy changes, as well as new voting practices. As part of the legislation, cooperative members now have the right to contact the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff, directly, with any unresolved concerns at 803-737-5230. These changes encourage accountability and transparency, and allow cooperative members to have open access to cooperative information and voting. Included here are bylaw changes that are meant to comply with new state law.
Through the member portal, MyEnergy Online, members will have access to important member information and updates. MyEnergy Online will feature cooperative information that will include the disclosure of, but not limited to: Board of Directors meeting dates and times, Board of Directors meeting minutes and Board of Directors’ compensation.
While implementing the required bylaw changes, we found this to be an appropriate time to assess our bylaws as a whole. Your Board has made the mandated changes and recommends amendments to other existing articles in the bylaws. These latter amendments generally remove antiquated language and make the bylaws easier to read and understand.
The 2019 legislation also requires each cooperative to have its members consider single-member voting districts. Currently, each Palmetto Electric member can vote in every district election, regardless of where they live. Single-member voting districts would only allow members to vote for the board candidates who live in that member’s district. Your Cooperative’s Board recommends that you vote to keep the current district format because the cooperative is best served by full member participation in all board elections.
The proposed revisions to the bylaws and the voting district question will be presented for vote at the Annual Meeting and will be included in September’s edition of South Carolina Living magazine. Copies of the proposed bylaws, current bylaws and detailed explanations can be found online at palmetto.coop, at the bottom of this page, as well as our four district offices. I, and your Board of Directors, believe that the proposed changes to the existing bylaws not only recognize the mandatory legal revisions required by state law, but also show our continued commitment to honesty and accountability. As member-owners, you have a voice in the decisions that affect the way your cooperative is governed, and I hope you will join me in support of the proposed bylaw changes.
A. Berl Davis, Jr.
President & Chief Executive Officer