Polk-Burnett celebrated 80th anniversary with annual meeting and member appreciation open house June 8
Polk-Burnett hosted its 80th annual meeting and member appreciation open house Friday, June 8; 525 members and guests attended at the co-op in Centuria.
Member appreciation open house
Open house activities for all ages included bucket trucks rides, face painting, bean bag toss and lineman selfie photos from 1 to 3 p.m. Guests met Polk-Burnett's Solar Sam mascot and learned about the co-op's new SunTuria Solar development; the 10-acre array is the first utility-scale solar in Polk and Burnett counties.
Co-op members and guests also met board directors, co-op linemen and employees, as well as representatives from other local cooperatives: Royal Credit Union and Wisconsin Farmers Union.
"We encouraged members to take control of the electricity they use, and the money they spend on their power bill with Polk-Burnett's SmartHub app, EnergySense rebates and our new Beat the Peak program," said Polk-Burnett General Manager Steve Stroshane.
Employees served root beer floats and 80th anniversary cake and ice cream, while vendors provided kettle corn, mini donuts and cheese curds. Interesting to note: all food vendors are co-op members!
All adults received 80th anniversary mason jar mugs and kids received $5 DQ gift cards. Co-op members who stayed after the open house to attend the annual meeting received an 80th anniversary cap from their co-op. All who registered were entered into a prize drawing for a 32" LED television, a 32GB Wi-Fi iPad and one of 10 $50 electric bill credits.
The annual meeting was held from 3 to 4 p.m. and included a Q & A member forum, results of the 2018 board election in districts 7, 8 and 9 and the 2018 state-of-the-cooperative report by Board President Ed Gullickson and General Manager Steve Stroshane. Highlights from the co-op report are below:
We're always looking for ways to work smarter and provide the best value for your dollar. Today, the co-op offers a SmartHub app where members can track their electricity use, pay their bill, and view and report power outages from their phone, tablet or computer. We also provide outage texting and Beat the Peak alerts to help members make informed decisions. Last November, we opened SunTuria Solar, the first utility-scale array in our territory. Technology also allows us to schedule line maintenance and construction more efficiently, and build redundancies into our system to restore power quickly if the lights go out in one area.
Smart money management
In 2017, we invested $3.5 million to upgrade and maintain a reliable electric system for our members. Beyond operating expenses, 58¢ of every dollar we collect goes to Dairyland Power Cooperative to purchase electricity our members. We're watching expenses closely and are happy to report that rates will not go up in 2018, even though electricity sales are down over the past 10 years. We have the capacity to pay our debt, expand technology and member services, invest in a reliable grid and return Capital Credits to members.
Giving money back
We returned $2+ million in Capital Credits to members last year. That's a direct benefit of co-op membership! In 2017, members received $151,348 in EnergySense rebates and saved 2.4 million kWh of electricity as a result of EnergySense. If members want to upgrade their homes for comfort and energy efficiency, we can help!
Do you know the co-op delivers more than reliable power? Community service is one of our core values and we're proud to demonstrate the cooperative difference with $56,250 in scholarships to the Class of 2018 and $61,150 in Operation Round Up grants to 87 local nonprofits. Beyond financial support, co-op employees performed more than 600 hours of community service last year.
2018 director election returns three incumbents to board
This year, members re-elected directors in co-op districts 7, 8 and 9: Maury Miller of Danbury in District 7; Chuck Brookshaw of Webster in District 8 and Tom Swenson of Webster in District 9. Voter participation was 15.8%, with 1,004 ballots received. Members voted by mail and online.
Photo: Leaders of Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative are local members like you!
L-R: General Manager Steve Stroshane, Osceola; re-elected Board Director Tom Swenson, Webster; Solar Sam Mascot; Board President Ed Gullickson, Amery; and re-elected Board Director Chuck Brookshaw, Webster. Not pictured: re-elected Board Director Maury Miller, Danbury.
Congratulations to the following members who won attendance prize drawings:
32" LED TV: Gary Karis, Amery
32GB IPad: Joshua Marincel, Osceola
$50 Electric Bill Credits:
- Ronald Thompson, New Richmond
- Lan Gubrud, Luck
- Gwen Johnson, Star Prairie
- Dennis Hall, Balsam Lake
- David Thompson, Andover, Minn.
- James Niemann, Cumberland
- Jay Becker, St. Croix Falls
- Joseph Denn, Frederic
- Laverne Larson, Milltown
- Paul Collins, Amery