Submitted by OPALCO
On Saturday, April 29, Ray Glaze of the OPALCO Election and Governance Committee announced the results of the 2023 Board Election. In District 1 (San Juan et al), Vince Dauciunas ran unopposed and was elected with 1,692 votes. In District 2 (Orcas et al), Chuks Onwuneme was voted in with 1,137 votes. A total of 2048 ballots were cast, which equates to ~18% of the membership.
Glaze encouraged OPALCO members to step up and serve on the volunteer Elections and Governance Committee (EGC). The EGC is responsible for cultivating qualified candidates for each board election. There are currently open positions on the EGC in every district. The time commitment is reasonable: committee members work year-round on a casual basis to identify potential candidates; meetings are concentrated November through January during the election season.
About 57 people logged in to participate in the annual membership meeting on Zoom. In the state of the co-op address, Board President Vince Dauciunas started off the meeting thanking all the gold star co-op members who joined the meeting and participated in their local co-op governance by voting. He then talked about the big task to get our power purchase contract with Bonneville Power Administration set. He urged co-op members to make the switch to electricity and begin the important work of getting carbon out of our energy load.
General Manager Foster Hildreth remarked on the incredible team at OPALCO – from the new line crew apprentices who are starting their long careers at OPALCO to the Member Service Representatives who answer the phones day in and day out, the whole team works tirelessly to keep the power reliable. Hildreth outlined OPALCO’s core values safety, reliability, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. These values will drive the future of OPALCO’s power supply and our carbon-free energy future.
Attendees participated in a Q and A session and asked thoughtful questions about electric vehicles, the future of our power supply, broadband access and the Switch It Up on-bill financing program for energy efficiency.
Members also expressed gratitude for the cooperative, the dedicated line crew and the various programs that OPALCO offers. OPALCO will be posting the recording of the Annual Meeting on their website.
Thanks to donations from OPALCO’s generous vendors and partners all attendees were offered a bucket filled with prizes including battery lightbulbs, battery phone chargers, nightlights and a handful of “golden ticket” gift cards. Prizes were provided by: All Phase Electric, CoBank, Cooperative Response Center, MS Data Services, NWPPA, Orcas Construction Co., PNGC, Schrock, Pacific Steel, Olympic Electric, Orcas Window and door, Rainshadow Solar, and Streamside Renewables.
OPALCO is required by the Rural Utilities Services (RUS) to hold an annual meeting each year. Members who missed the meeting can read the 2022 Annual Report online (https://www.opalco.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/2022-Annual-Report.pdf).
Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO) is our member-owned cooperative electric utility, serving more than 11,400 members on 20 islands in San Juan County. OPALCO provides electricity that is 97% greenhouse-gas free and is generated predominantly by hydroelectric plants. OPALCO was founded in 1937. Follow OPALCO @OrcasPower