BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (April 21, 2021) -- The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC held its 85th annual meeting Tuesday at the cooperative’s headquarters and voted in a new slate of officers for its Board of Directors.
Re-elected this year are the three incumbent directors from Districts 5, 7 and 8. The current eight-member board will continue to serve as Directors for 2021-22, which includes David Burger (President), Edward Cullison (Vice President), Michael Williams (Treasurer), Sophie Haywood (Secretary), Todd Carpenter, John Royal, Dax Collins and Shawn Dugan.
David Burger, who has served on the Board of Directors since 2017, said, “I am proud to serve as the president for the board this year. We have a board of dedicated people and I look forward to continuing on the good work being done in infrastructure and new technology that will benefit our members.”
Although this year’s seats were uncontested, the cooperative bylaws require candidates to receive a mandated number of votes from the membership in order to validate the election. UDWI members had the opportunity to cast their votes online or by mail before the annual meeting or in person at the annual meeting, which again produced strong voter participation with more than 1,500 votes cast, accounting for over 10 percent of UDWI members.
"Even in an uncontested election year, our members have shown that they really care about the leadership of the co-op, which speaks volumes to the cooperative principle that calls for democratic member control,” said UDWI CEO Doug Childs. “While we hope that we can convene in larger numbers in the future, we will continue to provide the online and mail-in options to give the most voting access to our members.”
Child’s annual meeting presentation focused on the 7 Cooperative Principles, which aim to serve the electric energy needs of cooperative members. He also highlighted achievements accomplished throughout 2020 by the co-op that adhere to the principles, which include:
Open and Voluntary Membership
Democratic Member Control
Members’ Economic Participation
Autonomy and Independence
Education, Training and Information
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Concern for Community
A top priority in 2020 was the investment in renewing UDWI’s infrastructure and improving system reliability. UDWI invested over $4 million and replaced 34 miles of line last year – an all-time record for the co-op. UDWI has also contributed $800,000 to smart-grid technology over the last three years and has retired nearly $2 million in capital credits back to its members over the last eight years as part of this initiative.
In regard to membership, Childs reported that UDWI has seen its membership grow from 18,900 meters in 2017 to 19,200 meters in 2021. And because of the hundreds of members who participate in the roundup program, the UDWI Community Fund donated over $40,000 to local community organizations in 2020.
Childs also shared UDWI’s commitment to its community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the co-op paused its moratorium on disconnects longer than the state-mandated time period and worked closely with members to offer more member-friendly payment terms to assist during the worst phase of the pandemic.
"We are proud of what we were able to accomplish during the past year despite some of the most challenging conditions that no one could have prepared for,” said Childs. “Big thank you to the entire UDWI team; everyone from the customer service representatives in the front office to our linemen in the field had to make adjustments and found a way to get their jobs done and showed amazing dedication to our members.”
Childs’ presentation is available on the UDWI website. The Board of Directors will hold its first meeting of the new term virtually on Monday, April 26 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, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Putnam, Sullivan and Vigo Counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of line.