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WJBD - Local News - Tri County Electric Co-Op Members Receive Good News At Annual Meeting

Tri County Cooperative Manager Marsha Scott gives an update to members at Saturday's annual meeting.

Tri County Electric Co-Op Members Receive Good News At Annual Meeting

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Tri-County Electric Cooperative members received good news at their annual meeting Saturday.  There are no plans for rate adjustments in the coming year and the coop's financial condition became stronger during the past year.  

Chairman of the Board Tom Beyers reported the annual audit had no findings and confirmed the cooperative was growing financially.

" The required fund balances such as the retirement fund are all in good standing. Our plant for the distribution system is not aging," said Beyers.  "In other words, we are replacing poles and wire faster than it is depreciating. At times in the past we have elected to defer this upkeep."  Beyers noted the cooperative added 125 customers and saw it's margins improve by nearly $4.4-million.  

Cooperative Manager Marsha Scott further expounded on the improvement plan.

"We continue our four year tree trimming program. We perform pole inspection every 8 years and we change out about 600 poles a year" said Scott. " We have a strong work plan that includes the replacement of old underground wire in our subdivisions. We're building main feeders with heavier wire and changing out aged conductors on our system."

Scott says they are doing some unique things to try and prevent outages. "We're installing lightening arresters on the system to help prevent lightening caused damage."  She then asked the crowd,  "Have you noticed a black band around our poles? It's called a pole band.  It is a black band of plastic and we're installing it to reduce outages caused by squirrels." Scott reports they are also doing more testing of substations to find and repair problems before they cause problems.  

Scott notes their two biggest outages of the year were the November tornado that hit Washington County that left some without electricity for 30 hours.  Some in the Kinmundy area where left without power for more than 13 hours after a snow and ice storm hit particularly hard in northeastern Marion County.  She thanked the customers for their patience and the farmers in the Kinmundy area that pulled out their stuck trucks over and over again.  

Scott also promoted customers signing up for the Smart Hub app for their smart phones or home computers that can show daily use of power and allow you pay your bills or report an outage on line.    

Donnie Laird won a contested race to represent Jefferson County on the Tri-County Cooperative Board.  Sam Phillips of Marion County and Rick Russell of Washington County were re-elected without opposition.  

A total of 903 registered members and 1,437 people attended the 76th annual meeting held at the cooperative's headquarters in Mt. Vernon.  Attendees were treated to both breakfast and lunch as well as demonstrations and activities for the kids.  Tri-County has nearly 18,000 services along more than 3,000 miles of transmission lines.  

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