Upshur Rural still strong, growing
by MAC OVERTON
Apr 07, 2013 | 620 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative remains strong, and continues to provide reliable electric service at some of the lowest rates in the nation, co-op members were told at their annual meeting Thursday.

Before an audience that filled the auditorium here for the 76th annual membership meeting, General Manager Rob Walker and President Frankie King reported Thursday about the member-owned utility’s continuing strength. (King’s address will be covered in an upcoming issue.)

More than 300 registered to attend the meeting, nearly twice the 150 required for a quorum.

Members also reelected by acclamation three incumbent directors who were unchallenged.

They included:

• District 7, Rex Youngblood.

• District 8, R. Alan Bran-ham.

• District 9, Sherry Morgan.

Walker’s report covered operations in 2012.

He said that the co-op constructed 35 miles of new line in the 10 counties in which Upshur-Rural operates. This was to connect 876 new customers (or members).

“At the end of 2012, there were 44,764 accounts billed on 54,781 services for an annual billing of $80,984,853,” Walker added.

“There were 290 miles of transmission line and 5,904miles of overhead distribution line and 268 miles of underground distribution line.”

Walker said that the combined total of line equals 6,462 miles.

He said that the total plant investment is $166,543,326.

There were 853,143,652 kilowatt hours sold in 2012, compared to 932,876,679 the year before, a decrease of 8.5 percent.

Capital credits were allocated from 2012 margins to each member’s account using a factor of 8.02 percent on residential accounts.

“The cooperative’s equity position was 67.94 percent at the end of 2012,” Walker said. “This is a strong position to be in and allows your board of directors to analyze the financial position regarding the retirement of capital credits.”

He said that after bankers’ permissions were received, the board directed a retirement of capital credits of about 3.1 percent, or about $3,180,406.

“Retiring capital credits is a juggling act where you balance the cost of borrowing money, paying for increased costs of operations such gasoline and diesel and materials and payroll and maintaining reasonable rates,” Walker said. “Your electric system belongs to you, the member, and one way your ownership is reflected is through capital credits—which is the amount of what’s left over after the cooperative pays all its expenses.

“This is different from the other stock-driven utilities that return the excess only to stockholders invested in the company instead of the users.

“This retirement, as the ones in the past 26 years, has been no easy task, after the cooperative pays all its expenses,” he said, “but due to the action of your board of directors and the employees of the cooperative operating an efficient organization, it was done.”

The 2012 annual report handed to attendees showed where each “electricity service dolla” goes, as well as the resource diversity for generating that power.

The “service dollar” breaks down this way: Electricity purchased, $.74; interest expense, $.02; depreciation, $.07; operating margins, $.04; and operations and maintenance, $.13.

The resource diversity for generation includes: coal/lignite, 64 percent; gas, 28 percent; and hydro, 8 percent.
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