OCEC held its annual membership meeting on Saturday, August 6, 2022, at the Cloudcroft High School Gymnasium. Attendance of members in the meeting was good, and quorum numbers were met with 313 members registering.
The 2022 Annual Meeting Report was passed out with registration gifts and contained written officer reports for the President and Treasurer of the Board, as well as a report from the General Manager. The Annual Report is also available online at www.ocec-inc.com or you can pick up a copy at your local OCEC office if you are interested in reading the updates about your cooperative.
Treasurer, Scott Shafer, did a brief financial update during the annual meeting and reported that the co-op is in good financial condition. The most significant information in Mr. Shafer’s report was about a special capital credit retirement this year that was possible after the Paycheck Protection Program Loan received during the pandemic was forgiven. The forgiveness gave the Board the rare opportunity to retire almost $1.3 million dollars using the LIFO (last in, first out) methodology. This allowed those who were members in 2021 to receive a check long before the typical 20+ years that it takes to receive a regular retirement check. This special retirement was in addition to the regular capital credit retirement for the years 1996-1998. Both retirements amounted to $2,079,000 paid out to cooperative members this year. Members who attended the meeting were able to pick up their checks; others were mailed after the meeting.
Mario Romero, General Manager, spoke about what great organizations co-ops are and how being member-owned means that our only interest is in serving our members. Any decision made is focused on safety, reliability, and affordability for you, our members. Rates have been stable for many years at OCEC, and electricity remains very affordable, with prices staying well below the rate of inflation. The last rate increase for OCEC members was in 2020, and another is not expected at least through 2023, if not longer.
OCEC Education Foundation scholarship recipients were recognized, and a brief overview of scholarship totals since the program inception was given. To date, there have been 341 students awarded $1,397,450 in funding for continuing education. That number will grow again this year as the Board authorized an increase in the scholarship amount from $8,000 to $11,000 for eight semesters.
In addition to the regular scholarship, there was a $4,000 scholarship made available to students enrolling in the Electric Lineworker Pre-Apprenticeship program at CNM in Rio Rancho. This program trains the next generation of lineman who will be tasked with keeping the lights on.
Elections were held with 4 uncontested races for positions of trustee. David Powers (NE District), Marty Mills (CN District), Tim Rabon (SW District), and Denny Burnett (SE District) all ran unopposed so will maintain their positions on the Board.
The meeting was also Livestreamed on our Facebook page. It is still available there for anyone who would like to watch.
After the meeting was adjourned, the drawing for over 100 door prizes was held and a tasty barbeque lunch was provided by the Cloudcroft Culinary Arts Program. Be sure to mark your calendars now for next year’s meeting to be held on Saturday, August 5, 2023.