Palmetto Electric Cooperative registered 4037 members at this year’s Annual Meeting held Saturday, May 5 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 2017 which included the following initiatives:
• The Cooperative completed a 6.5 million upgrade to the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system which was deployed originally in 2001 to remotely read meters. This technology has done more to improve system operations and offer new products and services to our members than any other technology in almost 40 years.
• It was reported that Palmetto Electric had its highest new member growth rate since the 2007 recession. Due to the improved economy and the continued good financial condition of the cooperative, 4.3 million was returned in capital credits. It was also stated that Palmetto Electric has given back more than $16 million in capital credits in the previous four years.
• On a survey conducted in June 2017, Palmetto received an American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) score of 91 out of a possible score of 100 – the highest score the Co-op has ever received. This score ranks Palmetto Electric in the top one percent of all Touchstone member co-ops in the nation that participate in the ACSI program.
• Construction was 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.
Four Directors were elected to serve on Palmetto Electric’s Board. Incumbents William J. Nimmer (Beaufort County Position 1), David A. Solaro (Beaufort County Position 4), Eunice F. Spilliards (Jasper County Position 1) and James O. Freeman (Hampton County Position 1) all ran unopposed.
In addition, the following Board officers were re-elected: Jeremiah E. Vaigneur, chairman; C. Alex Ulmer, vice chairman; and, Eunice T. Spilliards, secretary-treasurer.
Three scholarships were presented from Palmetto Electric’s Women Involved in Rural Electrification (WIRE) organization. Alexa Jobst from May River High School, Isabel Noriega from Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School and Kelsey Wallace for Hilton Head Island High School each received $1000 scholarships for their college education.
Three students received scholarship awards from the Palmetto Electric Trust (PET). Kassandra Anguiano from Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School, Quinn O’Leary from John Paul II Catholic School and Hunter Spielman from Patrick Henry Academy received awards. These scholarships are funded through Operation Round Up and are based upon need, available funds and whether certain criterion is met.
Five 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 Kelsey Darien from Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School, Victoria Etheridge from John Paul II Catholic School and Isabel Muehleman from Hilton Head Island High School. From the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina competition, Bethany Neville from Hilton Head Island High School and Bryon Dubose from Legacy Christian Academy were selected.
Also, five area rising seniors were chosen for the Cooperative Youth Summit, which is a four day, three night educational trip to Columbia, SC in July. Winners included Isabel Muehleman from Hilton Head Island High School, Abby Smith from Wade Hampton High School and Keandra Warren from Ridgeland Hardeeville High School. Again, from the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina competition, Bethany Neville from Hilton Head Island High School and Bryon Dubose from Legacy Christian Academy were selected.
This year’s grand prize winner was Walter Toomer of Tarboro, SC. He won the 2011 Ford Ranger.