THANK YOU to the 3,989 members who braved the weather and attended our Annual Meeting, Saturday, May 4 at our Ridgeland office. It is always my pleasure to visit with you and discuss the current condition of your cooperative. Accountability and the cooperative difference was the resounding theme of this year’s meeting. If you weren’t able to attend, allow me to provide a brief recap of some of the meeting’s highlights.
- We continued to provide safe and reliable electricity by energizing our 24th substation in December of 2018. This substation, located in Tillman, will reduce the size and length of outages, should they occur. Average outage time per member for 2018 was the lowest it has ever been, at an average of 34 minutes.
- We have worked closely with the Department of Energy and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to protect the safety of our electric grid, as well as our members’ personal information, against cybersecurity threats.
- On a survey conducted in 2018, Palmetto Electric received an American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score of 89 out of a possible score of 100. That makes three years in a row that Palmetto Electric has scored 89 or higher.
- It was reported that Palmetto Electric experienced a 2 percent growth rate in the connection of new meters and had a fiscally strong year in 2018. Due to the improved economy and the continued good financial condition of the cooperative, $3.5 million was returned in capital credits, which totals a notable $20 million over the past five years.
- Thanks to all our members that participate in Operation Round Up, we were able to award $513,318 in grants that funded community service projects, including Bright Idea scholarships for local teachers. Funding was also given to several social service organizations and non-profits.
Four directors were elected to serve on the co-op board: Incumbents Henry Driessen, Jr.(Beaufort County, Position 2), James L. Rowe (Beaufort County, Position 5), D. Terrell Smith (Hampton County, Position 2) and Jeremiah E. Vaigneur (Jasper County, Position 2) all ran unopposed. Board officers re-elected included Jeremiah E. Vaigneur, Chairman; C. Alex Ulmer, Vice Chairman; and Eunice F. Spilliards, Secretary-Treasurer. Congratulations to each of them.
I am most proud that Palmetto Electric has continued to operate on the highest of principles, always keeping accountability first and foremost among our core operating values. We know that it is a key part of the cooperative difference. Thank you to all our members for making our success possible. It is our honor to serve you!