BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (April 26, 2019) -- The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC held its 83rd annual meeting Thursday at the cooperative’s headquarters and voted in new Directors, Edward Cullison and Shawn Dugan.
For the second year, members had the opportunity to cast their votes online or by mail before the annual meeting, which again produced strong voter participation with more than 1,800 votes cast, accounting for over 11 percent of UDWI members.
“UDWI has taken a good path over the past couple of years and made some very positive changes," said Cullison. "Cooperatives play an important role in communities and working with this group to strengthen UDWI, and our area, is an important issue to me personally-- I am excited to jump in and learn."
The new board members will join six current members who will continue to serve as Directors for 2019-20: David Burger, Todd Carpenter (Vice President), John Royal, Michael Williams (President), Dax Collins (Treasurer) and Sophie Haywood (Secretary.)
“We have a very strong, engaged group of Directors who bring a lot to the table," said CEO Doug Childs. “I trust our new members will add to the productivity and strides forward this Board has made over the last year. We welcome new ideas and discussion; we know that is something that helps UDWI keep improving each year.”
In 2018, UDWI lowered rates by an average of 4 percent and decreased the facility charge by $2, as a result of dramatic budget cuts totaling more than $1.5 million across all areas of the organization and Board. UDWI’s workforce completed a record high number of hours in safety and job skill training. UDWI’s system reliability measures improved largely due to an enhanced tree trimming and spraying program. Capital expenditures for the replacement of aging poles and conductor were also critical to our increased reliability.
Members in attendance also saw a new video showing demonstrations from the new on-site safety training yard. Pole rescues, underground lines and three phase transformers among other training scenarios are now available to the linemen at the UDWI headquarters.
Childs reported that UDWI is on pace to replace 25 miles of line in 2019, the most in recent history and a significant increase from the four miles that were replaced in 2018. In addition, UDWI plans to reduce its vegetation trimming cycle from 13 years to seven years. With this goal, problem areas in UDWI service territory addressed more quickly,
reducing the number and duration of outages.
“We’ve been listening to our members to make UDWI the best it can be, looking for the absolute best practices to implement,” said Childs. “Members want reliability, safety and value from us, and that is what we are going to give them.”
UDWI employees and Board acknowledged retiring Director Ron Thompson, who served UDWI for 20 years. UDWI wishes Ron the best and appreciates his years of service to the cooperative.
Childs’ presentation, along with the safety video, are available on the UDWI website. The new Board of Directors will hold its first meeting on Monday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC (UDWI REMC), located in Bloomfield, Ind., is an electric utility cooperative that serves nearly 16,000 members in Clay, Dubois, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Sullivan and Vigo Counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.