Gibson EMC's 82nd Annual Members' Meeting
Gibson Electric Membership Corporation hosted a large crowd of members and friends at its 82nd Annual Members' Meeting on April 5 at Lara Kendall School in Ridgely, Tennessee.
The featured performer, J.D. Shelburne, entertained the crowd with a variety of acoustic country, gospel and rock tunes. Members were served free barbecue and hot dog dinners, toured exhibits and participated in the business meeting.
Gibson EMC Board Chairman Steve Sanders opened the business meeting by thanking members for their participation and support. He also talked about the benefits of cooperative membership including local ownership and control through the member elected board of trustees.
Gibson EMC and Gibson Connect President and CEO Dan Rodamaker began his report by talking about the co-op’s commitment to improving members’ quality of life and building up their communities. “In the 1930s the people of this area formed Gibson EMC because they needed electricity,” he said. “Today, it’s the same situation, but the need is access to high-speed broadband internet service,” he explained. “You have a need and through your co-op’s not-for-profit subsidiary, Gibson Connect, we will collectively meet that need. Ultimately, you, will provide access and be able to purchase high-speed internet service, telephone and TV from yourself, from your own not-for-profit business,” Rodamaker said. “As your local member-owned and member-controlled cooperative, Gibson EMC is motivated to meet its members’ needs, not to make a profit.
Rodamaker talked about Gibson EMC’s work to keep its electric grid equipped to meeting members’ changing needs. “Over the past 10 years we have constructed, maintained and operated a successful middle-mile transport fiber business,” he said. “Going forward, we also need a fiber connection to our members’ homes and businesses.”
Rodamaker explained that Gibson EMC will need fiber to communicate with its automated metering infrastructure, to communicate with its’ Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System, and to detect outages. He said fiber to the home is also needed to monitor transformers, power quality, high voltage and line temperatures, and to control smart capacitors. “Now and even more in the future, Gibson EMC will need fiber to the home to enable us to control system load and monitor equipment for growing distributed energy resources, like solar and wind power, and their energy storage systems,” Rodamaker said. “And, with the ever expanding use of sensors, we’ll need fiber to the home to communicate with the technical equipment in your home so your technology performs at the level you expect and deserve.”
Rodamaker updated members on the cost savings seen since the merger with the former Hickman-Fulton Counties Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation in 2016. “Our cooperative’s Kentucky members have saved a total of $2.19 million through lower distribution rates, and we’ve made substantial improvements to that part of our system by adding technology that enables us to more quickly identify outage locations, dispatch crews more efficiently, limit outages to fewer members and restore service faster,” he explained. “All of Gibson EMC’s members will benefit for years to come through the economies of scale created by the merger,” he said. Rodamaker also highlighted investments made to improve service reliability in the Tennessee service area. “In 2017 Gibson EMC completed upgrades in the Pierce and Martin substations to help us better share information between our substations and offices. We also began the process of completely renovating the Trenton substation,” he said. “This project has included the installation of two power transformers.”
Rodamaker thanked Gibson EMC members for the 93 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) rating they gave the cooperative when surveyed in 2017. ACSI is a system used to nationally rate performance and customer satisfaction. Rodamaker said that Gibson EMC’s score of 93 is 15 points higher than the average of 78 for other Touchstone Energy Cooperatives and 18 points higher than the national utility industry average of 75. “We hope we’ve earned your trust and confidence by providing reliable electricity and excellent customer service,” he said. “We sincerely appreciate both the affirmative and constructive feedback; and you can be sure that we will use it as a guide for serving you better in the future.”
In closing, Rodamaker thanked Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and legislators for all they have done to make it possible for Gibson EMC’s members and communities to gain access to high-speed fiber-based internet service. He also thanked Gibson EMC and Gibson Connect employees for their dedication to serve member-owners exceptionally well and applauded the Gibson EMC board of trustees for their commitment to meet members’ needs by building up Gibson EMC’s communities. Finally, he thanked the cooperative’s members saying, “We genuinely appreciate your trust and your continued support.”