SMECO is a cooperative that is owned and governed by its customer-members. Each year the Co-op holds an Annual Members’ Meeting to elect members of the Board of Directors and to discuss issues of importance to customers. Each SMECO customer-member gets one vote regardless of the number of accounts in the customer’s name.
2016 Annual Meeting:
Read the results of the meeting held on August 23.
2015 Annual Meeting Minutes:
Below are the minutes from the 2015 Annual Meeting, approved at the 2016 meeting held on August 23.
SOUTHERN MARYLAND ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.
MINUTES OF 2015 ANNUAL MEMBERS’ MEETING
HELD WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2015
The 77th Annual Members’ Meeting of Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SMECO) was held on Wednesday, September 2, 2015, at the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs Regency Furniture Stadium, 11765 St. Linus Drive, Waldorf, Maryland 20602.
Welcome: Richard A. Winkler, Chairman of the Board of Directors, welcomed attendees to the SMECO 2015 Annual Members’ Meeting at 7:00 p.m. and thanked members for attending. Chairman Winkler recognized the Sara Gray Band, who provided the entertainment; emcee Joe Lehan, the Blue Crabs organization, and the Charles County Rescue Squad and all of the co-op employees who worked so hard to make this event run smoothly.
Special Guests and Exhibitors: Elected officials attending SMECO’s 2015 Annual Members’ Meeting were recognized, as well as industry-related guests. On behalf of SMECO, Chairman Winkler thanked the organizations that displayed exhibits at the meeting (the Action Committee for Rural Electrification and SMECO 24/7 – iFactor). Chairman Winkler also thanked the Charles County Volunteer Rescue Squad for their services.
Attendees were asked to stand for the invocation, which was provided by Pastor John Briscoe, pastor of Restoration Free Gospel Church in Lexington Park, Maryland, followed by the presentation of colors by the La Plata High School Navy Junior ROTC, and singing of the national anthem by the Southern Mix Chorus.
Call to Order: Chairman Winkler called the Annual Meeting to order at 7:04 p.m.
Introduction of Meeting Chairman: Chairman Winkler introduced the Annual Meeting Chairman, J. Ernest (Ernie) Bell, II, of Leonardtown, Maryland. It was noted Mr. Bell has chaired SMECO’s Annual Members’ Meetings for the past 17 years, and Chairman Winkler recognized Mr. Bell for his continued support of the Cooperative. Mr. Bell, a lifelong resident of St. Mary’s County, practices law and has been active in politics (former member of the Maryland House of Delegates) and civic organizations throughout his life.
Credentials and Election Committee: Mr. Bell reported that in accordance with Article III, Section 3.05 of the SMECO Bylaws, the Board of Directors appointed a Credentials and Election Committee. Mr. Bell reported the Credentials and Election Committee has the responsibility to pass on all questions that may arise with respect to the registration of members, to monitor the tallying of all ballots cast in any election, and to rule on any ballots irregularly marked. The Credentials and Election Committee’s decision on all such matters shall be final. The following 2015 Credentials and Election Committee members were in attendance at SMECO’s 2015 Annual Members’ Meeting:
- Guy H. Hall
- George Heinze
- Dorothea H. Smith
- James A. Wheeler
Prince George’s County
- Viola G. Lee
St. Mary’s County
- W. Edelen Gough, Jr.
- Theresa S. Nowlin
Notice of Annual Members’ Meeting: Kenneth L. Dyson, Secretary-Treasurer, was called upon to read the Notice of the 2015 Annual Members’ Meeting. Secretary-Treasurer Dyson reported that he duly certifies that the notice of the 2015 Annual Meeting of Members, along with member identification postcards, were printed and mailed to all members of record. Notification was received from the United States Postal Service in Waldorf, Maryland, that 131,562 notices were mailed on July 30, 2015.
Introduction of Board Candidates: In accordance with Article IV, Section 4.03, Mr. Bell advised the 2015 SMECO Nominating Committee met on Saturday, May 16, 2015, at SMECO’s Executive Building, Hughesville, Maryland, and nominated candidates for Board of Directors. Mr. Bell introduced the following Board candidates:
- Calvert County –Bill Brier and Samuel “Jack” Hammett;
- Charles County – Fern G. Brown and Kenneth L. Dyson;
- St. Mary’s County – W. Rayner Blair III, William R. Cullins, III, and
William “Randy” Morris
Mr. Bell thanked all nominees for their interest and participation in the SMECO Board election process.
Proposed Bylaw Changes: Mr. Bell advised that in addition to the election of Directors, SMECO members voted for or against changes to the following Cooperative’s Bylaws:
- Article IV, Section 4.06 Compensation
- Article VII, Section 7.02 Patronage Capital in Connection with Furnishing Electric Distribution Service
- Article XIII, Section 13.01 Notice
Reading of Minutes: Kenneth L. Dyson, Secretary-Treasurer, was called upon to read the minutes of the September 10, 2014, Annual Members’ Meeting. There was a motion made, seconded, and carried to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the 2014 Annual Members’ Meeting and the minutes were approved as written.
Introduction of President & CEO: Mr. Bell introduced Austin J. Slater, Jr., SMECO President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
President’s Remarks: President & CEO Slater welcomed members attending the 77th Annual Members’ Meeting.
Remarks by President & CEO Austin J. Slater, Jr. – President & CEO Slater addressed the members and provided updates on the following areas:
- Reliable and dependable electric service
- Completion of our Southern Reliability Project in November 2014
- SMECO’s new double-circuit 69 kV line project
- Rate increase – delivery portion
- Rate decrease – commodity costs (Standard Offer Service rates)
- Customer service and 8th consecutive JD Power Award
- SMECO Solar and Community Solar
On behalf of the Board of Directors and employees, President & CEO Slater thanked the 15 directors, the 500 SMECO employees, and the customer-members for attending SMECO’s 77th Annual Members’ Meeting.
Old Business: Mr. Bell called for any old or unfinished business. There being none, he called for any new business.
New Business: Mr. Bell called for any new business. There was none.
2014 Annual Report: Mr. Bell stated the official reports of the Chairman, President & CEO, and Secretary-Treasurer for 2014 were included in the May 2015 Annual Report issue of the Co-op Review.
Questions: Mr. Bell called for any questions from the membership.
Electric Vehicle – An inquiry was received (no name given) as to whether or not SMECO offers discounts for customers who charge electric vehicles overnight as is offered by other energy providers and if electric vehicle owners can charge their vehicles using Time of Use rates. President & CEO Slater responded that SMECO has filed the Time of Use rate with the Maryland Public Service Commission, which would favor those charging electric vehicles at night. Smart metering is a requirement for this and SMECO is planning for a full scale deployment of smart meters in 2016. President & CEO Slater also reported that the Hughesville Customer Service Center has two electric car chargers for customers’ use while they are conducting business at SMECO.
SMECO Solar Farm – Cheryl Hannon, Prince Frederick, Maryland, inquired if Calvert County and Charles County will be part of a project for a solar farm and if so, when would that project occur. President & CEO Slater advised that SMECO is actively looking for land now but we are not concerned so much with what county the next solar farm will be constructed but that certain criteria must be met:
- No more than 5 degree grade
- Close to power lines
- Larger scale close to 69 kV line
- Rule of thumb is 7 acres per MW
- SMECO is looking for a 100-200 acre parcel
Ms. Hannon thanked CEO Slater for the information and complimented the Credentials and Elections Committee members for their hard work.
Scam Alert: President & CEO Slater alerted the customer-members to a fraud scam in which customers are asked to provide payment information in order to avoid having their electric service disconnected. SMECO warns customer-members not to provide personal financial or electric account information to unauthorized callers. If customers receive a phone call from someone threatening to disconnect their power, they may hang up and call SMECO directly to check their account balance. Our contact center is open 24 hours a day, every day. SMECO’s phone number is 1-888-440-3311. The phone number is printed at the top of the bill and that’s the number customers should use to reach our contact center. Customers should not provide Green Dot, Western Union, or Moneygram payments to callers claiming to be from SMECO.
Customer-members should know how much they owe and when payments are due. Electric utilities follow state regulations and have set schedules for billing and payment. SMECO bills are issued monthly. Overdue amounts are identified on a customer’s bill. If payments are late, SMECO sends a pink termination notice.
Prize Drawing: The prize drawing for 50 registration prizes (fifty $50 electric bill credits) was held. Mr. Bell advised registered members did not have to be present to claim the registration prizes. The names of the winners of 50 registration prizes were announced.
Quorum: Mr. Bell called attention to Article III, Section 3.04, of the SMECO Bylaws stating that 500 members must be registered to constitute a quorum, and announced there was a quorum present of more than 500 members registered.
Election of Directors: Mr. Bell announced that 1,213 members registered, noting 394 mail-in ballots. The results of the election for the Board of Directors were as follows:
- Calvert County – Bill Brier = 440, Samuel “Jack” Hammett = 674
- Charles County – Fern Brown = 904, Kenneth L. Dyson = 936
- St. Mary’s County – W. Rayner Blair III = 746, William R. Cullins III=733, William “Randy” Morris=536
Directors Hammett, Brown, Dyson, Blair, and Cullins were re-elected to serve three-year terms on the SMECO Board of Directors.
Results of Proposed Bylaw Amendments – Mr. Bell announced that all the proposed bylaw changes passed. The change to SMECO’s Bylaws Article IV, Compensation, Section 4.06 was accepted by a vote of 870 in favor and 141 opposed. The change to SMECO’s Bylaws Article VII, Patronage Capital in Connection with Furnishing Electric Distribution Service, Section 7.02 was accepted by a vote of 837 in favor and 168 opposed. The change to SMECO’s Bylaws Article XIII, Notice, Section 13.01 was accepted by a vote of 828 in favor and 185 opposed.
Grand Prizes: Mr. Bell advised all members who registered are eligible to win one of the grand prizes. Members must be present to win a grand prize; therefore, names of registered members will continue to be drawn until all grand prizes are claimed. The grand prize drawings were held and the following fifteen (15) winners were announced:
- Winners of $100 cash attendance prizes from Charles County: Rhosheeda Proctor, Joseph Sobnosky of the Pinefield Civic Association, Wayne Bennett, Marty Rollins, Deven Soni, Howard Nolan, Annette Stonework, Robert Orndorff, Ulysses Bowman, William Strutt, and Sharon Martin.
- Winner of $100 cash attendance prize from Calvert County: Michael Latham.
- Winner of $100 cash attendance prize from Prince George’s County: Sherene Bosley.
- Winners of $100 cash attendance prizes from St. Mary’s County: David Farrell and Stanley Pilkerton.
- SMECO Used Vehicle (2004 Chevy Malibu) – Elaine Morgan (Hollywood, Maryland)
Adjournment: There being no further business, the 2015 Annual Members’ Meeting was adjourned at 8:04 p.m.
Kenneth L. Dyson