4-County members convene for annual meeting

From Press Reports

Members of 4-County Electric Power Association elected three directors, learned about the value of electricity and had the opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon at the association’s annual membership meeting June 14 at East Mississippi Community College’s Mayhew campus.

“You and everyone else who receives electric service from us are members, not just customers,” 4-County CEO/General Manager Joe Cade told the estimated 600 people at the event.

And because 4-County operates under the governance of its members, the cooperative’s top priorities will always be safe, reliable and affordable electricity.

“Local control means we’re also in the business of improving the quality of life in the communities we serve, from offering college scholarships to advice on how you can make your home or business more energy efficient. And we’re also active in assisting with the recruitment of new industry to our service area,” Cade added.

In his comments, Board President Jay Gilliland lauded the clear value of electricity. Electricity, he stressed, has held its value while the cost of most every other consumer product has risen.

“Over the last 10 years, across the country, the price of power has barely budged, especially when compared to many of the other staples we buy and use every day,” Gilliland said.

That story of value is even better in the Southern states.

“In 1939 when this cooperative started providing power to about 700 original members, the cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity was 2.4 cents. Today, that same kWh costs our members an average of about 10 cents. That’s an increase of less than 1 cent a decade for the power you use,” he explained.

Gilliland provided an everyday usage example for 4-County members.

“As a 4-County member, you spend an average of $5 a day to heat and cool your home, to watch television, and to run your washer, dryer, dishwasher, cable boxes, video games, ceiling fans, power saws, computers, cell phone charges and everything else that needs electricity,” he added.

Board Secretary-Treasurer Mike Banks reviewed the co-op’s finances. Banks said that 4-County’s total assets were valued at $184.3 million in 2011. Members’ equity, or ownership, in the system was valued at $90.8 million.

In other business, incumbents Kenneth M. Seitz of Starkville (District 2, Oktibbeha County), E.H. “Bud” Tumlinson of West Point (District 3, Clay and Monroe counties), and John E. “Jay” Gilliland of Mathiston (District 6, Webster and Chickasaw counties), were re- elected to three-year terms on the board of directors.

A big addition to this year’s meeting was the large, multicolored Touchstone Energy hot air balloon. Members took advantage of free, tethered hot air balloon rides.

Before the meeting, a health fair was held for consumers. About 300 people participated in the health care screenings.

Four-County serves about 46,000 members in eight counties: Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Monroe, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Webster. The cooperative’s mission is to provide quality, cost-effective electricity and related service to all its members.