A citizens group is calling for transparency at their electric cooperative, and helped to generate the second-largest voter turnout in recent history at the co-op’s annual meeting
Kevin Ridder | December 19, 2018 | Comments Off on Advocates Increase Powell Valley Electric Co-op Member Participation
“There were no failures, because the number-one thing that happened was that awareness was raised,” says Strickland.
Strickland notes that even before the annual meeting, the co-op — which serves part of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia — had started developing a more informative website in response to member-owner requests. At the meeting in September, more than 1,200 Powell Valley member-owners voted, the second-largest voter turnout in recent history.
At the meeting, Strickland brought forth a motion that the co-op “make a concerted effort to educate their member-owners.” The board passed the motion, and has worked with PVEC Member Voices to add a district map, board meeting information and notifications regarding right-of-way herbicide spraying to their website.
The co-op also adopted an open board meeting policy. Strickland acknowledges that there is still a lot of work to do toward increased transparency. Member-owners have to submit a written notice 20 days prior to a monthly meeting if they plan to speak, and the policy for open meetings could be revoked at any time since it is not in the co-op bylaws.
Additionally, Powell Valley Electric intervened in a Virginia State Corporation Commission case against three member-owners of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative who are challenging their coop’s policies . Strickland stated that PVEC Member Voices will decide what path to pursue toward co-op reform in the new year.
“There should be an equal partnership between the members and the board and management,” says Strickland. “We are, after all, a community; we’re all going to rise or fall together.” — By Kevin Ridder