Palmetto Electric Cooperative registered 4,829 members at this year’s Annual Meeting held Saturday, May 6 at Palmetto’s Ridgeland office on Highway 278, three miles west of Ridgeland. “We would like to thank our members who attended and helped make our meeting such a great success,” said Berl Davis, president and CEO of the utility.
The business meeting focused on the accomplishments of Palmetto Electric in 2016 which included the following initiatives:
- The Power of Teamwork was the theme for the 2016 Annual Report. This was never more evident than during the devastation of Hurricane Matthew in October of last year. Co-op employees were complimented on their teamwork, dedication and commitment to serve during the recovery and restoration efforts after the storm.
- It was reported that Palmetto Electric is in very good financial condition, which resulted in record payback of capital credits in 2016, totaling more than $4.5 million. It was also reported that Palmetto Electric has given back more than $11.5 million in capital credits in the previous three years.
- On the American Customer Satisfaction Survey, Palmetto Electric scored a 90 out of a possible 100. This score puts Palmetto in the top 10 percent of all electric cooperatives in the nation in customer satisfaction and 15 points higher than the average investor owned utility.
- Construction was recently completed on the first community solar farm in the Lowcountry. A 120-kW solar farm was built at Palmetto Electric’s Ridgeland and New River offices. All 240 shares of community solar were sold within a few days.
- It was reported that Palmetto Electric will be returning $4.5 million in Capital Credits to members who received electric service in 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2016.
- Four Directors were elected to serve on Palmetto Electric’s Board. Incumbents C. Alex Ulmer (Beaufort County Position 3), Carolyn Grant (Beaufort County Position 6), Jimmie D. McMillan (Hampton County Position 3), and Dr. Earl Bostick, Sr. (Jasper County Position 3) were re-elected without opposition.
- In addition, the following Board officers were re-elected: Jeremiah E. Vaigneur, chairman; C. Alex Ulmer, vice chairman; and, Eunice T. Spilliards, secretary-treasurer.
- Two scholarships were presented from Palmetto Electric’s Women Involved in Rural Electrification (WIRE) organization. Kacie Godley from Wade Hampton High School and Tonathzi Noriega from Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School each received $1000 scholarships for their college education.
- Three students received scholarship awards from the Palmetto Electric Trust (PET): Davonty Dopson from Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School; Darien Mikell from Wade Hampton High School; and Winston Torin from Hilton Head Island High School. PET scholarships are based upon need, available funds, and whether certain criterion is met.
- Three high school juniors from the Lowcountry were recognized for being selected to represent Palmetto Electric in the Washington Youth Tour, a week-long, all-expense paid educational trip to Washington, D.C. The representatives chosen this year are Alexis Jarrell from Step of Faith Christian Academy and Alexis Smythe and Emily Todd from Hilton Head Island High School.
- Also, a new educational initiative was announced. Three rising seniors were chosen for the Cooperative Youth Summit, which is a three day, two night educational trip to Columbia, SC in July. Winners included Decker Paulmeier from Bluffton High School, Michaela Williams from Ridgeland Hardeeville High School and Sophia Topping from Hilton Head Island High School.
This year’s grand prize winner was Michelle Laurel of Pineland, SC. She won the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid.