2016 Annual Meeting - 80th Annual Meeting Highlights
Frontier Power held their 80th meeting of members on July 29th at River View High School with approximately 900 members and guests attending. Member attendance gifts were given upon their arrival, and all enjoyed a light supper of hot dogs, chips, cheese and Whit’s Frozen Custard.
Prior to the meeting, the election for two trustees’ positions was conducted by mail and tallied. Retaining their seats were Ann Gano McCleary representing District B-II, Tuscarawas County, and Larry Blair representing District D, Coshocton County.
In his report to members, board president Robert Wise said the cooperative strives to maintain quality service to keep competitive. Significant programs include: implementation of the SCADA system to remotely monitor and switch substations, an aggressive right-of-way clearing and spraying program, replacement of the Automated Meter Reading System with an ACLARA System, load control through water heaters and air conditioning units to help reduce the peak use of electricity to save all members on power cost, a comprehensive maintenance program to inspect Frontier’s 11 substations and nearly 1,500 miles of distribution lines, and a long-term plan to replace original line built in the 1940s at the rate of 20 miles per year. “The past 80 years have been filled with many challenges and changes for Frontier Power,” Wise said. “We have grown to provide power to nearly 9,200 meters in the rural parts of seven counties.”
Criag Grooms, vice president of market operations for Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, Frontier Power’s cooperative power supplier and statewide services organization was the guest speaker. He indicated that there is a single focus from Frontier and its power supplier to provide safe and affordable power. Grooms stated that he has seen companies go in and out of bankruptcy, some more than once, because they were hoping to take advantage of a change in government policy, like deregulation, or willing to place a big bet with borrowed money. Grooms said “For each of these companies, the provision of electricity at a fair price and with reliable service became an afterthought, rather than their primary focus. That’s where electric cooperatives are different. The advantage is our member- and community-focused, nonprofit business model.” He also emphasized changes in the electric industry such as massive discoveries of natural gas and shale formations, driving a drop in prices. He also reported that natural gas plants replacing coal and nuclear plants have created concerns, including loss of fuel diversity, especially in extreme weather conditions that influence the natural gas market. “We are living through a major change to our electric system right now, and it needs to be managed in a thoughtful and strategic way to ensure that the grid remains secure and reliable,” Grooms said.
In General Manager Steve Nelson’s report, he introduced employees with a slide show and highlighted statistics of Frontier Power, which included: founded in 1936, 37 employees, 10 miles of transmission line, 1,550 miles of distribution lines, rebuild 25 miles of distribution lines, had 111 pole changes, installed 21 new security lights, had approximately $199,700 in general retirement capital credits returned to members and former members and $177,370 was paid to estates. Nelson stated that no contractors are used at Frontier Power and showed photos of equipment used for clearing rights-of-way and digging holes. Members were encouraged to visit the cooperative website at www.frontier-power.com during outages for the most up-to-date information and to pay their electric bill. He also informed members of the progress that the Frontier Power Community Connection Fund has made, awarding $28,287 in grants to 15 different organizations in 2015.
A video about “Project Ohio,” showing how 17 linemen from Ohio’s 24 Electric Cooperatives brought power to La Soledad, Guatemala, was presented. Afterwards, Frontier Power’s operations manager Phil Crowdy presented a slide show of his time in Guatemala last year, which was part of the planning and engineering crew for “Project Ohio”.
At the conclusion of the meeting, all kids were treated to pick a prize and names were drawn for Frontier Power and Frontier Propane member door prizes.