Consumer-members of McDonough Power Cooperative enjoyed music by regional band Crossover and a pork chop sandwich dinner prior to the start of their 81st Annual Meeting of Members held at The Crossing on Tuesday, Aug. 21. The annual meeting helps members participate in the Cooperative Principle of Democratic Member Control by voting on a slate of candidates to serve on the McDonough Power board of directors.

During his address to the crowd, Board Chairman Jeff Moore reported that McDonough Power had a very good 2017 and ended the year with operating margins of over $272,000. He explained that any margin achieved by the cooperative is returned to the membership in the form of capital credits. Moore said, “The McDonough Power board of directors approved a capital credit refund to the membership in the amount of $396,226, which was allocated to those who were members in 1989 and 1990. It is representative of one of the seven cooperative principles which is Member Economic Participation.”

Concern for Community is another cooperative principle, he explained. “Since its approval by members in 2016, the Operation Round-Up program has provided $65,112 in donations to local groups and organizations. The monies are voluntary donations by members who choose to round up their bills to the next dollar,” he said. “In 2017, the Coats for Kids program provided about 250 coats in school districts across school districts located in and around the McDonough Power service territory.” In addition, McDonough Power’s primary lender exhibited the cooperative principle of Cooperative Among Cooperatives by providing a $5,000 matching grant to help with the Coats for Kids program and donations to the Warren County Agricultural Fair and McDonough County 4-H building and grounds.

Mike Smith, McDonough Power president/CEO, educated members on rates. “Rates themselves are not difficult to understand,” Smith said. “We need to return enough revenue from our membership to the cooperative to provide 24-hour service, seven days a week. We are a non-profit organization, which means we do not benefit from excess margins. The first rule of rates is to return enough money to keep the minimum service going without interruption. Not intermittent, not sometimes, all the time.”

He explained the facility charge on the monthly bill is for all facilities that make up each member’s electric service including poles, wires, trucks and more. However, that charge of $45 a month doesn’t cover all the costs to provide electricity. The kWh charge helps supplement the difference to help keep the lights on. As costs increase, rates change. Members that take service from McDonough Power must pay their share of the fixed cost as everyone else.

In closing, Smith said, “We rely heavily on increasing our fixed charges like our facility charge and lowering the variable rate charge like our kWh rate. We need to make rates fair to all. We are going to continue to be a provider of power for years to come and adapt to any changes that come our way. We run as lean and efficiently as possible and will do all we can to provide reliable power to you, our members, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”

Members re-elected three directors during the meeting to serve for three-year terms on the board of directors: Jerry Riggins, District 1, Macomb; Steve Lynn, District 5, Macomb; and Robert Dwyer, District 8, Roseville.

McDonough Power Cooperative is a member of Touchstone Energy — an alliance of 750 local, consumer-owned electric utilities around the country. McDonough Power is committed to providing superior service based on four core principles: integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community. The co-op serves more than 5,150 meters over 1,414 miles of line in parts of Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, McDonough, Schuyler and Warren counties. For more information visit www.mcdonoughpower.com. McDonough Power Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Photo: During the meeting, former McDonough Power lineman LaVern McEntire presented the 2018 LaVern and Nola McEntire Lineworker’s Scholarship to Briar Gorsuch. Gorsuch, of Astoria, is enrolled in the lineworker’s school conducted by the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives in conjunction with Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield.