Message for You...

At the time of the rescheduled annual meeting, many were still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Michael.  Unfortunately, the reality was that even if we personally did not sustain damage, a family member or friend probably did.  For those that were unable to attend the business meeting portion of our 78th Annual Meeting of the Members on November 3rd, I want to share the information with you from my comments during that meeting.

As I mentioned, continued recovery from Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Michael were still on the minds of most.  There were some similarities between Matthew and Florence, but Florence created additional challenges.  Outages started on Thursday, September 13th.  It was noon 2 days later before weather conditions permitted us to safely begin our system damage assessment and begin restoration efforts.  The safety of our employees and membership is always a priority.  When we began, nearly 46,000 or 75% of our members were without power.  Crews from North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio joined our employees to restore electric service to all members that could take service by the end of the day Friday, September 21st.

I also shared that our cooperative is in good financial shape.  Over the last 4 years, your management team and board of directors have taken advantage of market conditions to address the needs of the cooperative while minimizing the impacts to members.  By refinancing long term debt with more favorable interest rates, adjusting allocation of Sandhills Utilities Services capital credits, and deferring wholesale power cost credits to pay for future coal ash cleanup costs, LREMC has not increased electric rates since 2014 and has been able to construct a much needed new headquarters (HQ) building.  Many may not realize that our current HQ building dates to the 1940s and has maintenance needs that made more sense to build a new building instead of patching the old one.

Speaking about the new headquarters building, construction efforts continue, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Weather and material delays shifted our substantial completion date several times, but progress continues.  There has been much discussion about the cost of this building.  As a reminder, the project began and I am confident will end meeting our not-to-exceed budget of $23,248,975.14.  The building will be completed without having an impact on your electric rates.  As a LREMC member, I never forget that decisions made by LREMC, especially if they are mine, impact us all.  Since becoming your CEO, I have taken an active role in ensuring the best interest of our membership is always met and that LREMC continues to enhance the quality of life for our members and the communities we serve.

Message from Your CEO - December 2018 SHunt_sign.png Carmen E. Dietrich, President & CEO