September 21, 2022

Art & Lifestyle:

SMECO Holds 84th Annual Meeting

Members attend the SMECO Annual Members’ Meeting on Aug. 25, 2022 at the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall in Mechanicsville, MD.

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) held its 84th Annual Meeting on August 25, 2022, at the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall in Mechanicsville, MD. The Board of Directors election was conducted online and by mail prior to the meeting.

The following SMECO members were elected to serve on SMECO’s Board for three years: W. Michael Phipps of Calvert County; George Heinze and Richard A. Winkler of Charles County; James A. Richards of Prince George’s County; and Scott White of St. Mary’s County.

More than 8,600 members voted in the SMECO election and results were announced at the meeting. SMECO’s election was conducted by mail and members could also vote electronically by casting their ballots online. Ballots were mailed to members on July 18. The deadline for submitting ballots by mail or electronically was August 18. Seventy-six percent of the ballots were returned by mail and 24 percent were cast online. Members who returned their ballots or voted online were eligible to win one of 30 electric bill credits of $50 each.

Scott White, Chairman of the SMECO Board of Directors, welcomed SMECO’s members to the event and called the meeting to order. SMECO’s president and CEO, Sonja Cox, introduced the video version of the cooperative’s 2021 annual report. Personnel featured in the video explained how SMECO enhanced its infrastructure with transmission system upgrades and two new substations, as well as upgrading transformers at several other substations. The video also highlighted how SMECO and its employees navigated through challenges.

“We saw a lot of major changes in 2021—we had changes in our political climate, challenges with bringing people back into the workforce after the pandemic, and increasing energy prices,” Cox said. “Trying to deal with these changes has been a major challenge.”

Cox also answered questions from the audience and addressed topics such as clean energy and the impact of supply chain issues on the cooperative. In addition, the audience applauded when one member thanked SMECO’s linemen for doing a good job.

“I think the future looks bright for SMECO and the industry in general,” Cox said. “SMECO’s members—its owners—are the core of the cooperative. Their satisfaction drives the cooperative’s decision making and advancements. SMECO puts members first.”

SMECO – The Cooperative Difference –

SMECO was incorporated in 1937 and is one of the 15 largest electric cooperatives in the United States with more than 170,000 member accounts in Charles County, St. Mary’s County, southern Prince George’s County, and most of Calvert County.

Electric cooperatives are shaped by the communities they serve, because co-ops are owned by their customers.  Co-op members elect the men and women who serve on the Board of Directors. Members share the responsibility of ownership by financing the cooperative’s operations, but they also share its rewards.

At the end of each year, SMECO’s margins (profits) are allocated to members’ capital credit accounts. SMECO uses its profits to invest in new construction, system improvements, and facility upgrades. The Board of Directors regularly evaluates the financial condition of the co-op and determines when members will receive a refund. Since 1937, SMECO has refunded more than $116 million.

As a cooperative, SMECO will always put its members first and be responsive, reliable, and resourceful—the power you can count on.

Follow SMECO on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SMECO.coop and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/somdelectric.

The SMECO 24/7 mobile app is available at www.smeco.coop/247.

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