Cooperative members were recognized and honored by the Illinois House of Representatives of the Ninety-Eight General Assembly by presentation of House Resolution HR0430. This resolution congratulated the members of SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative for its 75th Anniversary.
Members were informed about your Cooperative’s tremendous history beginning with the organization that occurred on September 13, 1938 and how the first 155 miles of distribution line was energized on January 24, 1940 bringing electricity to 300 farms and homes in Saline County for the first time. Reports included the significant progress of your Cooperative throughout the years, the tremendous changes in technology and equipment implemented to improve the level of service, increase reliability and keep rural electricity affordable. Cooperative leaders explained how three electric cooperatives located across southern Illinois joined together in 1959 to develop their very own generation facility which led to the development of Southern Illinois Power Cooperative located at the Lake of Egypt near Marion. This means that not only is the delivery of energy provided by your local Cooperative, but the generation and transmission of your energy is also provided by your local Cooperative.
Today, your electric Cooperative provides electrical service to a broad range of members including the more typical rural services such as barns, cabins, homes and farms to commercial facilities and very large industrial coal mines. Your Cooperative has grown tremendously since 1938 and currently delivers energy to over 23,700 accounts located in ten counties in Southeastern Illinois. In fact, your Cooperative delivers more energy on an annual basis than any other electric cooperative in Illinois.
Members were informed that the Cooperative ended the year 2012 in sound financial condition. In 2012, your Cooperative's Board of Trustees approved the retirement and return of $1.4 million in Capital Credits to you as Cooperative members-owners. The capital credit checks were mailed to members in December of 2012. This means that over the past three years, your Cooperative has retired and returned over $4.8 million to Cooperative members.
As we look ahead to the coming year, your Cooperative’s wholesale power supplier has not made an official decision regarding their rates but may need to implement a minor increase in the wholesale rate that if implemented, would flow thru the wholesale power cost adjustment charge on your bill. In the absence of this change, the Cooperative is not expecting to raise the residential rates in the coming year. The Cooperative will be implementing some minor retail rate increases to the larger commercial and industrial rate classes beginning in October of this year.
Given your Cooperative’s tremendous history, strong heritage and numerous achievements, we are positioned to embrace the future, face the challenges ahead and thrive for the benefit of the members. Your Cooperative was formed 75 years ago to bring electricity to the rural areas of southeastern Illinois. The founders of the electric cooperative program developed a unique business structure that by its very nature, makes electric cooperatives very accountable to the members it serves. This unique structure has contributed to the success of your cooperative over the years and remains unchanged even today. Your cooperative is governed by local people that live and work in your very own communities. Your cooperative is operated by a group of local employees that also live and work in your very own communities. Your cooperative's sole purpose is to provide you, as cooperative member-owners, with reliable and quality service while continuing to keep rates as affordable as possible. Your Cooperative is owned by the people it serves and will continue to be an electric cooperative that is truly operated "for the people and by the people."
See you next month and as always, "We'll keep the lights on for you."