Cuivre River Electric celebrates 75 years
Cuivre River Electric Cooperative’s 75th Annual Meeting — also Doug Tracy’s first as General Manager/CEO — is now in the record books.
Next year’s date, August 10, 2018, is already on the calendar at Cuivre River and at the Family Arena.
In his first address to the membership, Tracy told of his experience with other cooperatives and his recent 14 years with Cuivre River.
“We have something very special here at Cuivre River, as the result of many years of dedicated board leadership, visionary management teams, exceptional employees, and the support of you all – the members,” he said. “I’m very honored and humbled to be your CEO, and guarantee you I will work tirelessly to uphold the standards of service that you expect and deserve.”
Rates: With only one rate increase in the last seven years, Cuivre River rates remain among the lowest in the state. According to a national benchmark study of electric cooperatives, Cuivre River ranks in the top 11 percent in U.S. for the way we manage our controllable expenses – all expenses but the cost of wholesale power. “Cuivre River is one of the most efficient co-ops in the nation, something to be very proud of,” said Tracy. A rate increase will be a last resort, after other avenues to control costs are exhausted.
Reliability: Maintaining consistently reliable power is no accident. Weather events, equipment failure, trees in the lines, underground faults, animals and vehicle accidents are all threats to more than 5,500 miles of line. “Last year, Cuivre River’s average service availability index — a measure of the time power was available versus the time it could have been available — was 99.97 percent, thanks to the hard work of Cuivre River linemen and the Operations Department,” he said.
The recent July 23 outage following a storm with 80 mph winds affected nearly 20,000 members, the most in the cooperative’s history. The event began at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, and nearly all power was restored by late Monday evening, thanks to a great team effort.
“I’m very proud of how all of our employees responded," Tracy said.
Service expectations: The annual member satisfaction survey allows Cuivre River to hear from members. Top priorities expressed in the recent survey were, “keep bills low, and the lights on!” Scores also placed Cuivre River among the top-performing utilities in the country for member satisfaction.
Capital Credits: Cuivre River remains financially sound, which made it possible to return $5.27 million to members this year, the largest capital credit refund in our history. Since 1976 more than $90 million has been refunded.
Commitment to Community: “We live where you live,” said Tracy. Employees are active in civic organizations and clubs, and donate resources to many worthy causes. Members are involved also, providing pennies through Operation Round Up. The program celebrated its 20th anniversary this year and achieved the $5 million milestone, including $1 million in scholarships. “You have made the program an outstanding success,” Tracy told members.
“Even going through transition and change, some things stay the same,” he added. “As a board, as a management team, as employees — we are committed to continuing to strive for excellence in everything we do for your cooperative."
Following the traditional meeting reports and the annual election (results published last month), State Senator Dr. Bob Onder and State Representative Phil Christofanelli each took the stage to honor recently-retired Cuivre River GM/CEO Dan L. Brown by presenting resolutions to Brown recounting his accomplishments and honoring his service to the cooperative, the region and his country. Cuivre River Board President Walter Gregory also presented a resolution on behalf of the Board of Directors.