691 members registered for the Little River Electric Cooperative’s August 10, 2019, annual membership meeting held in Erskine College’s Galloway Center in Due West. The meeting is held each August for members to elect trustees and hear reports on the activities and status of the cooperative.
Michael A. Johnson (District 3), William M. “Mike” Shirley (District 6) and Charlene M. Haynes (District 8) were elected to serve a three-year term on the board of trustees.
Members also heard a report from the board chairman on the condition of the cooperative.
“The cooperative is in good financial condition,” said Mike Shirley, “though membership growth is limited due to the the economic condition of the service territory.”
Mr. Shirley confirmed that ACS Manufacturing had begun operations in its new facility on Cambridge Street Extension in Abbeville, as he had reported was planned at the 2018 annual meeting. He welcomed the jobs the company was bringing to the area.
Noting that employee salaries, office expenses, bucket trucks and other equipment—while expensive—are not the largest cost for the cooperative, Mr. Shirley explained that the wholesale electricity delivered to members makes up most of every dollar member paid for electric service.
Fortunately, Little River Electric Cooperative is “part of a bigger network of independent, member-owned cooperatives,” he said. “There are 20 electric cooperatives across South Carolina. Working together, we have more purchasing power, and that helps us hold down the price of the wholesale electricity we supply to you.”
The report included news of a right-of-way maintenance plan implemented to help the co-op reach a five-year cycle. The plan will ensure that all right-of-ways are maintained on a schedule that will keep the system operating with fewer outages. Such outages are often caused by limbs touching power lines or trees falling on lines when high winds or icy conditions exist.
Maintenance of all pad mounted equipment for the co-op’s underground service is also underway.
Cooperative General Manager Mike Ellis recognized several employees who were making work anniversaries this year. They included Drayton Freeman for 30 years of service, Eric Gray for 10 years, and Drayton Wilson and Dustin Laughlin for 5 years.
The members heard from three students who participated in youth events. Laura Martin, who attends McCormick High School, and Brooke Powell, Abbeville High School, represented Little River on the Washington Youth Tour in June. Luke Bowman, a Crescent High School student, was sponsored by the co-op to attend the Cooperative Youth Summit in Columbia in July.