September 22, 2023

SMECO Members Elected at Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative held its 81st annual meeting on Aug. 29, 2019, at Middleton Hall in Waldorf, and after counting close to 8,000 votes, members from all three Southern Maryland counties were elected to the board of directors. The board of directors election was conducted online and by mail before the meeting.

The following SMECO members were elected to serve on SMECO’s board for three-year terms: W. Michael Phipps in Calvert County; Gilbert O. Bowling and Richard A. Winkler in Charles County; James A. Richards in Prince George’s County; and P. Scott White in St. Mary’s County. One bylaw amendment providing that a member’s capital credits can be used to offset arrearages was also included on this year’s ballot, and the amendment passed.

This is the third year the cooperative’s election was conducted by mail, and, for the first time, members could also vote electronically by casting ballots online. Ballots were mailed to members July 22 with a deadline of Aug. 22 to submit them. Voting members were eligible to win one of 30 electric bill credits of $50 each. More than 7,800 members voted: 6,560 voted by mail and 1,278 voted online. Election results were announced during the meeting.

A SMECO member, left, discusses renewable energy with SMECO President and CEO Austin J. Slater Jr., center, and board Chairman Scott White following the cooperative’s annual meeting.

Scott White, chairman of the SMECO Board of Directors, welcomed SMECO’s members to the annual meeting and called the meeting to order. SMECO President and CEO Austin J. Slater Jr. introduced a video version of the cooperative’s 2018 annual report. The video highlighted the strides SMECO has made since installing smart meters in its service area. Energy use data, monthly billing information, and tips on how to save energy and money are available to co-op members online through SMECO’s Account Manager system.

Slater said that SMECO’s margins for 2018 totaled more than $27 million, and all of those funds were allocated to members’ capital credit accounts. He also said SMECO will be refunding more than $5 million of the cooperative’s margins to members this year.

“When SMECO issues capital credit refunds to members, we are making good on a basic co-op principle. We pass on savings to members because they share the financial responsibility and the financial rewards of the co-op,” Slater said.

During the annual meeting, some SMECO members expressed concerns about the health effects of using coal to generate electricity. Slater and board Chairman Scott White responded to their concerns and explained the current situation regarding SMECO’s adoption of renewable energy.

Slater said, “Ten years ago, 40 percent of SMECO’s power purchases relied on coal. Now, just 15 percent of our power portfolio comes from coal. We know our members are interested in electric vehicle charging, and we plan to install up to 60 charging stations at public sites throughout our service area. We are also working toward implementing time-of-use rates that will make it more affordable for members with electric vehicles to charge them at home.”

Results of the voting are listed here.

Bylaw Amendment

For 4,989 votes

Against 544 votes

Calvert County (one elected)

David E. Dickinson 2,153 votes

W. Michael Phipps 3,231 votes

Douglas J. Smith 1,258 votes

Charles County (two elected)

Gilbert O. Bowling 3,291 votes

Kevin F. Corcoran 1,981 votes

Kenneth W. Cross 1,426 votes

Jeannette Devine 2,249 votes

Nelson Torres 1,535 votes

Richard A. Winkler 3,067 votes

Prince George’s County (one elected)

James A. Richards 6,083 votes

St. Mary’s County (one elected)

James P. Dell 1,389 votes

Scott Randall 1,908 votes

P. Scott White 3,178 votes

To learn more about SMECO, visit its Leader member page.

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