The 80th Annual Membership Meeting of the Whetstone Valley electric Cooperative, Inc. was held on Thursday, March 31, 2022 at the Wilmot High School gymnasium in Wilmot, SD. Registration opened at 6:00 pm.
At 7:00 pm, the meeting was called to order by President Bill Tostenson.
President Tostenson stated that more than 168 voting members had registered and were present, creating a quorum.
Tostenson invited everyone to stand for the singing of the National Anthem. The anthem was led by Lauren Harstad.
Tostenson invited Pastor K.C. Smith from the Zion Community Church in Wilmot to give the invocation.
Tostenson introduced the Board of Directors, former directors, former employees, and special guests.
Tostenson called on Secretary Strasser to give notice of the meeting and present the minutes of 2021.
Secretary Darren Strasser affirmed that the Notice of Annual Meeting had been mailed to the membership and the unapproved minutes of the 2021 Annual Meeting had been delivered to those attending.
Tostenson called for a motion to waive the reading of the Notice of Annual Membership Meeting and to approve the minutes of the 79th Annual Meeting as presented. A motion from the floor was seconded and carried.
Tostenson pointed out that the Financial Statement and Treasurer’s report was included in the material delivered to those attending. A motion from the floor to approve the Treasurer’s Report was seconded and carried.
Tostenson noted that capital credits in the amount of $7,291,286 have been returned to members and that $446,701 has been approved for the 2022 general retirement to be credited to members in May.
Tostenson called on the Cooperative’s General Council, Harvey Oliver, to announce the election results.
Districts with open seats were districts 7, 8 and 9. Only one candidate for each of the districts was submitted; Joel Adler, Krista Atyeo-Gortmaker and Paul Nelson respectively. With no other members nominated for these districts, the candidates were duly elected.
Tostenson called on Whetstone Valley General Manager, Dave Page for his report and to introduce the employees.
General Manager, Page welcomed the members to the Annual Meeting of the Cooperative. Page reported on improvements being made to Whetstone’s infrastructure to increase the resilience and reliability of the electric system.
He also discussed the pace of change within the electric industry, highlighting a shift in electric generation and the types of electric loads that will be served in the future.
Page also reported that material lead times and costs of equipment are increasing.
Page reported that electric rates at Whetstone Valley have remained the same for more than five years.
He stated that wholesale power costs from East River Electric and Basin Electric Cooperatives have not increased for several years. He also reported that local costs have been controlled, in part by leveraging exceptionally low interest rates for capital infrastructure investments. Page discussed how revenue, deferred from 2019 has also helped to delay the need for a rate adjustment.
Page concluded his report, stating that Whetstone Valley Electric rates are expected to remain steady throughout 2022. He also indicated that rising cost of equipment and increasing demand for energy may impact rates in the future.
Page thanked the Board of Directors for their commitment to the cooperative and their communities. He thanked them for the time they invest to keep abreast of changes within the electric industry and regulatory matters.
Page introduced the employees. Those attending showed their appreciation to the team of employees with applause.
Page announced that this year’s Whetstone Valley / Basin Electric $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Savanna Osowski.
President Tostenson presented the 25-year service award to General Manager, Dave Page.
Tostenson called for any unfinished or new business from the floor. With no further business, and a motion and second from the floor, President Tostenson adjourned the meeting.
There was a drawing for $50 for children 13 years of age or younger in attendance.
Another drawing for $100 was held for those 14 to 18 years of age in attendance. The winner was Korbin Leddy.
The winner of the $500 cash drawing was Harry Ziemer of Browns Valley.